Tag Archives: how to

How to draw featured buiildings

Highlighting Featured Buildings – Shape, Detail and Contrast

Cities and buildings come up a lot in questions. I’ll put together a software specific tutorial on buildings, but today I’m just going to go through my philosophy when illustrating a featured building like a castle or a temple. The process is the same, regardless of software. In this case – ballpoint pen on sketchbook paper.

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Using Mountains to Define the Scale

Defining Scale using Mountains

I’ve been asked a lot about how to depict different scales recently. The question is – how do you tell the viewer of one map that they’re looking at a zoomed in region of a small area, and on another map convince the viewer that they’re looking at a large area, zoomed out. The easiest cue for the viewer is mountain ranges. These are the feature that’s different enough at different scales that they can act as a defacto scale-bar.

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Mini-tutes: Hills

I’ve been doing some lunchtime mapping tips over on my G+ page and facebook page. Circle/friend those pages if you’d like to see these tips through your social media of choice, but I’ll also be posting them directly to here.

Today – my workflow on hills:

Mapping tips on how to draw hills on a map

Three steps in the illustration of hills

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!