I Love Drawing Maps

I’ve presented a number of maps on this website over the years. Here’s another. This map is hand-drawn on the back of four cue cards. I sat down in my home office on a rare, rain soaked afternoon in August and grabbed a cue card, flipped it over and drew the north-east corner of the map. I started with a soft pencil and drew a light outline of the basic landmass. I sat and looked at that line and wondered which side of the line is the land and which was the water. I selected the side that covered almost two-thirds of the cue card. With the land side selected, I darkened the coastline giving it more detail. I sketched in the mountains, hills and forests. I hand wrote the labels and then when I was happy with the sketch I then moved forwarded and inked the map.


The second cue card was the north-west corner and I repeated the same steps. I envisioned that hills wrap around the north side of the Bay of Asnodah. After adding the south-west corner and the south-east I decided to scan the map and pull it into Photoshop to apply a little colour. First the water was added as blue cloud layer and then masked out the bay so it showed through. I then used a colour fill-layer to apply the land colour.

I then replaced all of the writing on the map with text giving it a cleaner, easier-to-read look. With the text cleaned up the town icons looked sloppy, so they were quickly replaced using circles and dots. Now the landforms were hard to see because they were all the same colour as the background. First I coloured the mountains, giving each of them a snow-cap. You know what is not fun, hand paint all of those trees. Wow. There are so many trees. The hills were quicker to colour than expected. I then added the three kingdom shields and replaced the stars I had originally used as capital markers with the small yellow crowns. I drew one and copied it and pasted it two times. The last step was to airbrush the borders.

So what’s beyond the map’s edges? I have no idea. I envision the hills and then mountains hemming these three nations again the coast. What’s beyond the mountains, the unknown. The fun will be exploring the land right along side any characters I create to populate the kingdoms. When I printed this map (and I did in full colour) I printed it on a hex page. That will help me decide the scale of the map.


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