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!
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.
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 Dynamic Brushes”
This isn’t quite as formal as previous tutorials. After I created the tutorial for drawing water, I carried on and quickly coloured and shaded the flagstones. Here’s the video of that process, which fills in a lot of my standard working method – base colour and then a collection of overlay layers to add detailed light and shade.
It can be tricky to draw water on a map. You don’t want to fill areas with a flat blue, but you also don’t want to draw every wave and ripple. The trick is to strike a balance, and provide a visual shorthand that quickly sells the presence of water. When putting this together I was thinking about Mike Schley‘s water style (shown in this map).
A while ago I ran a gallery show of fantasy maps, and through that I met Christopher Merwin – a great guy and a local New York game designer. He was working on a fantasy world for the Pathfinder RPG called Sæmyyr, and asked me to work on up a fantasy world map. See below for the unlabeled map, and some details on how it was made.
It’s often the case that you find that you have a map from an adventure that has labels on it. You need to remove the labels before you show it to your players or they’ll know where the bad guys are. On many maps this is actually pretty easy. Continue reading “How to remove labels from maps”