Village training

village test

Last week I was asked to do a commission of a small village for a RPG adventure. The deadline was rather short and this was just before midsummer, so I didn’t have much time available. As you might not know, if you’re not a Swede, midsummer is a very big holiday here in Sweden. Everyone has a day off from work on the Friday that week and dances around the midsummer pole, especially if you have kids. And with three kids in the house that means a lot of dancing for me.

Anyway I decided to take the commission regardless of my lack of time, because I saw this as an opportunity to try to make a village map by hand on my Cintiq. Usually when I draw villages or cities I use City Designer 3 (CD3) from Profantasy. That is an absolutely brilliant program, especially if you make medium sized cities. But I really wanted to try to do this one by hand. Also the map had to be in an old school style, and I don’t think CD3 has any style that fits for that.

After finishing the map, that I managed to do before deadline, I felt that there where areas in the map that could be improved. So I decided to make another one, just for practice. Also this time I made it completely by hand, no premade symbols or brushes. Everything is done as if you were using pen and paper (you can see the map at the top of this post).

There are still things in the map that I want to develop further, for example the hills and farmland. But overall I’m pleased with the result and most of all I feel like I have something good in the works here. So I will definitely continue working on this style in the future.

First time in print

As you might have read in an earlier post here on my blog I made a colour map for a Swedish RPG called Fantasy!. After finishing the colour map I was asked if I could do two black and white maps for an upcoming Monster book for the game. The maps should be old school, which means no grey scale. Of course I accepted the offer, making old school maps is kind of fun I think. It is a bit challenging but if you succeed the result is very rewarding.

The maps I was supposed to do was one of a cave system behind a waterfall and lake and one of a cellar in a castle where the players had to break out from the cells where they were imprisoned. The map at the top of this post is of the cave system, but without any numbers.

So this is actually my first maps I’ve done that have made it all the way to a printed publication. I still haven’t seen the book but I’m eagerly waiting for it to arrive in my mail.

The map itself is made in Artrage which I prefer when I do maps “by hand” on the computer. It is a bit more forgiving then Photoshop when it comes to drawing straight lines.

The June Annual

June annual test map

This month’s annual from Profantasy for Campaign Cartographer 3 (CC3) included a very nice looking overland style that has a comic book look and feel. I must admit that I really like it and it will definitely work perfect for maps I use when I play with my kids. So I decided to try it out.

The style itself is as I said very charming and the symbol are well done. You have a good selection of things to put in your map, even though you always want more than what is delivered. But I know how hard it is to get everything in when you make a map style, I’ve actually added a symbol or two for the styles I’ve made for Profantasy when I started making maps with them. Doing that for this style could actually be a good challenge for my drawing skills.

One thing I thought of after finishing my map in the style is that I made it a bit too wide, I thinks this style should be more dense looking to get it to look at its best. I’m still pleased with the result but my next map in it will probably be better, learning from the experience of the first one.

The style is really fast and rewarding to work in and the time it takes to make a map in it compared to the time invested in the process of making it is very good. You can say you get a lot of good looks for very little time spent.

Those with a sharp eye will also spot that I actually used another font than the included one for the map. There is actually no certain reason for it, I just wanted to test what the map would look like with another font.

I will definitely come back to this style making a map or two and the only thing I miss now is a dungeon style with the same comic book feeling as this one.