Not all my maps are of fantasy lands – every now and again, one comes along from the real world. Before Christmas I was asked to map the Mayacamas mountain range for Tricycle Wine Partners, a vineyard in California.
It’s good to hand over final pieces. This one went out the door today – a city map for a client. The combination of detailed line art featured locations and more anonymous shadowed buildings seems to work well.
The featured locations were all drawn at many times their final size. You lose the precise detail when the locations are shrunk down, but the combination of the details provide a sense of the structure.
It’s always a little daunting to take on a brand new style of map. When Steve Russell asked for an map inspired by the Orient for Heroes of the Jade Oath I took it on with some trepidation. After a ton of experimenting with textures, brushes and line-styles I came up with a version I was happy with, and this is the result!
Really quick one today – this is an illustration of how to draw old fashioned coastal waters. Lots of historic maps use rippled lines to indicate the sea. Here’s a couple of quick pointers on reproducing the effect.
1. Add your first ripple
First, draw the coastline in a nice dark brush – or press relatively heavily with your pen (this was a ballpoint on sketchbook paper). Then, pressing more lightly to get a fainter line, draw a parallel line to the coast. Where your coastline is ragged and fractal, this line should be smooth and flowing. Follow the edge, but smooth off the sharper edges. Try to keep the same distance from the coast as you draw.
2. Add in the rest
Now repeat this with successive lines. Each time you add another line, increase the spacing slightly. Also, smooth off the sharper corners of the line inside. If you have an inlet (like I’ve got here), don’t cram the lines in to get through – smooth over the inlet, and draw another set of disconnected ripples within.
This looks good with a light blue wash around the coastal edge, so this doesn’t have to be just a black and white map technique.
Following the previous tutorial about town design here’s a tutorial on filling in the buildings in the town.
I’m jumping in at the stage where we’ve already got the terrain, major locations and roads mapped out. The next step is filling all the remaining space with buildings to turn a skeleton of a town into a town. The key here is to give the impression of a large number of buildings, without having to agonise over every single chimney pot and awning. Continue reading
Today we travel to Central Essos – in the heart of the known world.
A Song of Ice and Fire feels evenly split to me between the the action in Westeros and the ongoing adventures of Daenarys Targaryen in central Essos.
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.
This tip is a quick one. Isometric maps are fun, and can have a large impact. The side on view gives the option for more detail and a more illustrative style.
Rivers can break or make an isometric map. On a top down map, a rivers travel in all directions. On an isometric map they should travel further left to right, than up and down. If a river travels straight up and down on an isometric map it’ll look out of place. In the map above I’ve pulled the curves of the rivers further out when they travel left and right. This helps sell the idea that you’re looking down on the map from an angle. This, combined with the same trick on the coasts, can sell the perspective and foreshortening that the isometric map requires.