This is a quick one. After the Napa map (see below) I had some questions on how to draw mountains. This style is a little different to my previous maps, closer in style to a skiing map. I thought the easiest way to show the process was to create a short video walkthrough. Enjoy!
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.
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.
Today a quick mini-tutorial. This isn’t a photoshop tutorial, nor is it a tutorial for a polished finished map. This is a step by step in my own town creation method when I’m creating the first sketch layout. The key here is to have the town layout make sense.
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:
Three steps in the illustration of hills
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!