Vast canyons are awe inspiring. They thwart quests, halt armies, and tell the tale of vast cataclysms from times past. In this quick tutorial I’ll outline how to draw a canyon on your fantasy map. In this case I’ve drawn it in pencil on paper (I was feeling like going old school and tactile for this one) but the same tips apply if you’re using digital techniques. Continue reading “How To Map A Large Canyon”
There are lots of ways to indicate water on a map with lines – and many more with tone or colour. Here are four I regularly use. Continue reading “4 Coast Styles for Mapmaking”
Parallel lines are a good way to indicate a road on a map. But drawing parallel lines is next to impossible. Photoshop to the rescue – there’s a simple trick to get this effect quickly and easily. Continue reading “How to Draw Roads on a Map (with the Stroke Tool)”
In a plan view map, elevation is hard. This is especially true for line art maps, where you don’t have the advantage of shading to indicate height and depth using the cast shadows. Here’s three different styles for drawing chasms on a line art map. Continue reading “How to Draw a Chasm on a Map”
None of my dungeons are flat. I always have things for people to jump off or fall into. But if you’re laying out a top down view it can be tricky to show elevation on a map.
I’ve been asked a few times recently about how I draw isometric buildings. Here’s the run down. Continue reading “How to draw an isometric house”
This tutorial covers my entire process for how to draw a map – from start to finish. In this case I’m illustrating a simple town map, but the steps apply to any map. Continue reading “How to draw a map”
It’s always fun to try something new, but in this case the something new was a sci fi galaxy map, and the client was Overbrook Entertainment, and Will Smith. The brief was to create 4 maps for the expanded universe around the movie After Earth. There are a bunch of books and graphic novels associated with the film. Those stories had been written in parallel with the movie development and each had added something to the geography of the universe.
One of the writers on the expanded universe material was an old RPG hand, and noticed that what the worldbuilding needed was reference maps – of the universe, solar system, world, and key city. And so I got a call.
This is definitely the week of mountain ranges. I had a question on reddit on how to draw mountain ranges that go east-to-west rather than north to south. Here’s a very quick tutorial on the difference. If you want to go deeper into the north-south version, check out this earlier tutorial on mountain ranges.
The hotizontal version is very similar – with a few tweaks. Continue reading “How to draw a horizontal mountain range”
I’ve written up a couple of tutorials before on drawing isometric mountain ranges for fantasy maps – but never more than the pen and ink stage. I’ve had a few requests for how to take this to the next step and colour the mountain ranges.
Note that I use a graphics tablet. You can do this with a mouse and low opacity brushes, but tablets are getting good and relatively cheap. I’d recommend picking up something like the Bamboo Splash if you’re going to be playing around with illustrating maps.
Here’s a quick walkthrough of the four steps I take in my mountain ranges. Continue reading “How to draw, shade, and colour a mountain range”