Often hills are indicated on a map by drawing an outline, but when you have forest on top, that outline gets obscured. So how do you draw forested hills? The trick is to use the detail of the forest to indicate the hills, rather than obscure them.
Today – how to draw simple hills with photoshop or Gimp. This works best for large scale maps, like world maps or regional maps, where you have a lot of terrain to cover.
- Lay in the shadows with a large fuzzy brush. In photoshop or the Gimp I’d suggest doing this on a layer with the blend mode set to overlay.
- Lay in the highlights with a slightly smaller fuzzy brush. Avoid sharp edges. You want hills to be rolling, and in contrast to the sharp peaks of a mountain range. Again, here I’ve done this on an overlay layer.
- Add colour (here I’m a layer with the blend mode set to colour) and leave the hills slightly browner than the flat plains. That helps to differentiate them – and means that even with subtle light and shade they’ll be easy to read at a glance.
A couple of other things to keep in mind:
- Lay in the rivers first. As rivers drain the water out of hills, they will determine where the hills should go.
- Less is more when it comes to shadows and highlights here. Your mountains should have the darkest shadows. Make sure that your hill shadows are quite a bit more subtle.
I hope that’s useful, chip in if there’s a particular topic you’d like to see covered!