Tag Archives: Map

Snapshot of a city map

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.

Heroes of the Jade Oath

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!

Lands of the Jade Oath map

Continue reading

How to draw coastlines

Drawing Old-fashioned Coastal Waters

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.

How to use brush dynamics to draw buildings

Drawing Buildings with Dynamic Brushes

Earlier in the week I posted a tutorial on how to draw buildings with the pen tool. But sometimes drawing each building just takes too long. For whole cities, you probably want a quick way to lay in whole blocks of buildings. Photoshop can help – using dynamic brushes. Continue reading

Drawing Buildings With The Pen Tool

How to use the pen tool to draw houses

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

The West

Map of the West for George RR Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire, detailing Westeros, the Summer Isles, the free cities and the Narrow Sea

The West, © George RR Martin 2012, used with permission

The map folio contains 3 vertical maps that together cover the whole world. We’ve already seen the map of Central Essos. This map picks up the west of the Rhoyne. and details Westeros, The Summer Isles and the Free Cities. Continue reading

Central Essos

Today we travel to Central Essos – in the heart of the known world.

Central Essos map for Game of Thrones

Central Essos, © George RR Martin, 2012, used with permission

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.

Continue reading

Quick Tip – Isometric Rivers

Isometric River Tutorial for maps

How to draw isometric rivers

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.