Hey everyone! Today I am going to share some more resources to help you with your map making skills. I have been especially interested in this of late for a couple reasons. First of all, I love drawing maps for my worlds and I really want to get better at it. I haven’t drawn one in a while and my style hasn’t changed much in even longer. Besides having a number of worlds that don’t have maps, I need some for games we are playing or will be. The following resources are what I have been looking to for help and options in creating more maps for me and my players.
This website is devoted to fantasy maps and making them. Jonathan Roberts provides a great number of tutorials and examples of the ways you can draw maps. Not just in methodology but in style as well. Different angles to look at mountains and different ways to present them. How does elevation factor in? What is easier, what looks good, and what is practical? The tutorials here have a great number of things to consider and try when designing and making your own map. Of course, the site doesn’t just have world map suggestions. It also includes small area styles like towns and the areas around them. Some of the tutorials also go into specific subjects like drawing a woods-covered hill and making both of those aspects noticeable. Needless to say, this site will help up your map-making game.
This is not a map drawing resource alone, but that is the way I found the account. WASD20 has a series of videos that show the process of drawing maps for your fantasy world. In fact, this series led me to the site above, because he uses those tutorials as a basis for the drawing of the map. While you may think that this just gives you the same information over again, it doesn’t. Not really anyway. The difference comes in perspective. One is a tutorial, laid out as instructions to be read and emulated. The video series, however, is a tour in the actual use of those ideas. With commentary and the site of drawing things like mountains you gain insight on how to go about things. Additionally, you get an idea for how time consuming it could get and how touchy you might get with your own maps. Things are erased, edited, drawn over, and changed as the map progresses and the feeling of the artist is revealed. All this is as important as the tutorials the videos are derived from.
This is not so much help in drawing your own maps, but an alternative. Hexographer is a popular map creation tool that is usable for those who are not quite as good at drawing, or perhaps for those who don’t have the time to draw so much. Alternatively, this can be used to create very specifically detailed maps with terrain details on a hex-by-hex basis. The program is not free, and there are even more purchases to get different styles or types of hexes to use. For many this is well worth the price. If you are focused on an exploration heavy game, or need the details such a hex grid can provide this program will definitely help. Personally there is a lot to gain from using this program: speed, accuracy, digital images to share, and more. There are a number of digital mapping tools, but this makes my list first for one major reason. There isn’t much skill involved in making a map grid by grid. I like easy learning curves that still provide quality results.