One thing often leads to another. As I wrote in my last post I’ve started to make hand drawn old school maps. Mostly because I think it is great fun, but also because I spend a lot of time away from my computer and Cintiq tablet, so I sometimes have to use other means while mapping.
After having done a couple of maps in my moleskin notebook I decided that it would be fun to try and colour them. So I scanned them and cleaned them up in Photoshop, before adding colour. I tried to keep the colour as natural as possible, I want it to look like this was done on paper and not in the computer. After doing some tests I think I found a style that works very well.
But what to do with those coloured maps? Just letting them lie around on the computer wasn’t really a good idea, so I decided to set up an account at RPGnow so I can sell them for a small price.
So if you feel like you are in a great need for some old school maps for your adventure, or just want something to put on your wall you can head over to RPGnow and check them out.
If you have any suggestions on old school maps you would like me to do, or if you think something is missing in the ones I’ve made. Please comment in this post or send me a mail on par[dot]lindstrom[at]imaginarymaps[dot]se with your opinion.
Lately I’ve started to make old school maps while not being around a computer. Most of the commissions I make I draw in Photoshop or CC3 from Profantasy, you can actually say that my computer is my main tool while making maps.
But before computers you had to do all your maps on paper, that’s how I started out. On Google+ I follow a lot of mappers like Matt Jackson, Simon Forest or Monkeyblood design that makes those lovely handmade old school maps. Inspired by those maps I decided that I had to give it a try myself.
So I acquired a good moleskin notebook, some pens in different sizes and started out. In the beginning it felt quite awkward not being able to hit ctrl+Z as soon as something went wrong, which I did in my mind all the time, but after a while I got used to cover up mistakes so that they looked intentional.
And I must say that I really enjoy making those maps. Nowadays I bring my notebook wherever I go, because you never know when you will have some spare time when you can draw some maps instead of constantly checking Facebook on your mobile.
So has another year passed, and what is a better way to end it then playing an adventure with family and friends.
The rumors in the village is that someone has stolen the New Year, and time is short, this year will soon end and if no one can retrieve the New Year the world will freeze in a constant state where nothing new can happen. The villagers suspect that it is the trolls in the neighborhood that has stolen it, but where can the players find them? And is the truth really so simple…..
And of course does the story need some maps. The map at the top of this post is of the village where the adventure will start out. The map is done in City Designer 3 (CD3) from Profantasy but edited in Photoshop to change colours and adding some effects. I usually do that with all my city maps I make in CD3, the original colours are a bit too bright for my taste.
The map below is made in Dungeon Designer 3 (DD3) and depicts the cave where the two trolls in the adventure are hiding. Of course they are not the culprits they are completely innocent, the real culprit is the evil priest, and he is the one responsible for stealing the New Year.
Everytime I use DD3 I feel like I have to do it more often. It is a very powerful tool and working with it is a lot of fun.
But now it is time to try to save the New Year, so happy New Year to everyone reading this blog and see you next year, if my children and their friends succeed in their quest.
We all have our comfort zones in everything we do, and so do I when it comes to mapping. Most of the maps I do are either overland or city maps and while doing them I’m feeling very safe. I know what’s looking good and how to accomplish the things I have in mind for the map. But staying inside your comfort zone wont make you better in what you do. You have to force yourself to step outside, to do the things you feel insecure about. That is the best way to improve whatever you do to the next step.
Earlier this year, before the summer, I was asked by a Swedish RPG company to do some old school dungeon maps. I hadn’t done many before and felt a bit insecure about it but I thought I could give it a try. The maps turned out pretty well (you can see them in the book “Monster” for the Swedish RPG Fantasy!) and doing them kind of gave me the urge to do more.
I started to play around with different ideas and made a couple of test maps to see where I could get with this. Around this time I also talked to Ralf at Profantasy to see if they would be interested in me making a Black and White dungeon style for their annuals. I sent him some of the test maps and he thought it’d be a great idea, so we agreed on me making the style, to be released now in October.
When you make a style for Profantasy you get a list of things that usually are included, so I started at the top and ticked them off when I had them done. All symbols are made in a program called Artrage that has been a great help while doing the symbols, especially the “Paint symmetry” tool. The tool lets you divide the painting in between 2 and 12 parts. Everything you do in one part will be repeated in the others. So if you for example draw a coffin you divide the painting in two pieces, everything you draw on the left side will be repeated on the right side, and this will make the coffin have the correct proportions.
Making the style has been great fun and I already want to make more symbols to flesh it out. The style includes around 75 unique symbols but as always you cannot get it all in there. You will always miss something. But I think the selection of symbols is more than enough to make it possible to do the map you want. I actually even included a couple of monsters that you can populate your dungeon with.
I feel that I really had to step outside my comfort zone to make this style, and that I have learned a lot from it. Hopefully those experiences will improve my future maps.
I hope you will enjoy the style now in October.
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.
Quite recently I made two maps for a Swedish RPG called Fantasy! It is an old school game that goes back to the roots of the RPG hobby. This means maps in black and white. I found it very enjoyable to make those maps. It is something special to just use black and white while making maps. You just have those two colours nothing else. No grey areas just those two opposite colours, it is a bit like working with negative and positive spaces and try to make it look as good as possible.
After finishing the maps, which I had to do in a very short space of time due to a deadline coming up, and I came in rather late in the project, I felt that I wanted to push this style a bit further. I felt that I could make much more of it, that there were a lot more boundaries to explore here.
The map in this post is a very early version of the more developed style I’m now working on. It is of a dragon that has moved in to the entrance of a Dwarven underground kingdom. A perfect place for a short evening scenario where the players have to rid the entrance of the dragon, so that the Dwarves can start using it again.
For the style I’ve also decided that I will make some more monsters, not just having a dragon. This is a way for me to try to develop my drawing skills as I’m not very used of doing monsters or creatures. I used to do a lot of drawing while in school so many years ago. But since then I’ve nearly only done map art, like mountains and trees. So you can say I’m a bit rusty.
I thought it was time to try to push my skills a bit forward and challenge myself with something else then mountains. So at the moment I’m trying to make a list of creatures that might come in handy, except dragons, while making old school maps. I’m trying to focus on larger monsters here not the ordinary orc soldier. The picture below is of a great spider, spiders are always fun to throw at your players. Any suggestions of other large monsters or creatures that like to reside in dark dungeons or catacombs?
There is something special with simple maps. Making a simple map can be much harder than making a complicated one. I love making maps that show a lot of details, where you can see the furniture in the rooms, what’s on the tables, blood on the floor etc. But sometimes you just want to do something old school, something simple and elegant.
Making it simple means that you have to leave a lot of the details out, you can’t hide behind a lot of good looking graphics. At the same time a simple map can be just as good looking as a complicated one. You let the user populate the map in his mind instead of feeding him all the details.
This particular old school map is from an old adventure I once started on but that I never finished. The adventurers had to find the lost grave of a necromancer and retrieve an artifact for their employer. Everything else in the grave they could keep to themselves. To find the location of the grave they had to travel to different islands for clues.
A quite standard old school scenario that needed some old school maps.