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CastleDrafts
03-28-2011, 04:26 AM
I've been posting artwork that was done back in the mid to late nineties for Iron Crown Enterprises for their MERP product line over at my blog Tales from the Tower:
http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/

My game art background can be found here:
http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/2011/02/game-art-and-ice-merp-layouts_5213.html

My main Game Art page is here:
http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/p/game-art.html

and a couple of recent additional posts for specific module layouts can be found here:
http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/2011/03/ice-merp-towers-from-dol-guldur-module.html
http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/2011/03/ice-merp-illustrations-from-kin-strife.html

Dol Guldur Front Gate:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AixaG8dtFOE/TYQMil-MzlI/AAAAAAAAANQ/Ls7UKow7KTI/s1600/Dol+Guldur+Front+Gate.jpg

Kin Strife City of Osgiliath near Minas Tirith:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-j3xT4pQv8ss/TY7xSp-RKSI/AAAAAAAAAN0/xMZWJWHGyHc/s640/Kin+Strife+City+of+Osgiliath.jpg

tilt
03-28-2011, 05:18 AM
very nice, have some rep for those, with my +10 longsword of repping :) ... which.. really isn't that much in MERP or Rolemaster *lol*

ravells
03-28-2011, 06:02 AM
That Osgiliath city map is a stunner! Welcome to the Guild, it's great to have you here. If you're a professional artist (sounds like you are) you can apply to have your status amended accordingly, it allows access to an industry pro subforum which isn't much used and I think also allows you to make posts to the news section. You need to go into your control panel / settings / permission groups and check the radio button.

Steel General
03-28-2011, 07:51 AM
These are quite nice!

Katto
03-28-2011, 04:54 PM
That's the kind of maps I grew up with. I love the old MERP maps.

jtougas
03-28-2011, 06:29 PM
Awesome. As an avid (if not particularly good) city mapper I am always impressed by great looking cities like yours :)

CastleDrafts
03-29-2011, 07:29 PM
Thanks for the compliments. Yeah, I really like the crisp high contrast look of black and white illos over color - they really jump out at you on the page. Plus, that's my preferred style being an architect and all. I have dabbled with Photoshop and other paint programs and even done some watercolor painting but its hard to beat plain old black and white for that old school or wood cut print look.

@Ravells - thanks for the tip, I just applied for membership to the professional artists group.

Ryan K
03-29-2011, 09:52 PM
Osgiliath has always been my favourite fantasy city, and this is probably the best realisation of it I have seen (outside of actually seeing it in the LOTR films). Nice work :) You do it brilliant justice.

Tigon
03-30-2011, 05:21 AM
Makes me want to go dig out the box full of all my old RM/MERP stuff. McBride covers and fantastic maps and floorplans... My hat is doffed in your direction for any part you played in that.

CastleDrafts
04-05-2011, 02:57 AM
Moria maps posted at Tales from the Tower:

http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-D999LCp9HQk/TZgUNdIJAnI/AAAAAAAAAPU/KcPnl-k-WnE/s640/Mines+of+Moria+1st+Level-Deep+Right+Side.jpg

CastleDrafts
04-11-2011, 02:48 AM
I just posted a series of ICE MERP Layouts from the Mirkwood Module here:

http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/2011/04/ice-merp-layouts-from-mirkwood-module.html

The map of southern Mirkwood and first level of Erebor the Lonely Moutain are posted below:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-GK0c8idADu8/TaFpfl3AklI/AAAAAAAAAPw/FrxTOD8YF4Y/s640/Southern+Mirkwood+Map.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-i7Lh_9OFepY/TaFrO-kEpBI/AAAAAAAAAP4/o9fDGZ7Mcpg/s640/Mirkwood+Erebor+First+Delving+-+First+Level.jpg

More images from the module can be found at the blog.

Port Paladine
04-11-2011, 07:40 AM
Nice maps. I like it when people put a frontal view with the map or include a separate one. Good, clean, printable maps... very easy to use.

CastleDrafts
04-19-2011, 01:04 AM
I just posted a series of ICE MERP layouts from the Lake Town Module here:

http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/2011/04/ice-merp-layouts-from-lake-town-module.html

The Map of Lake Town and First Floor Plan for the Citadel of the Maestas are shown below.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9ToGcwcG_UU/Ta0B-KKfJwI/AAAAAAAAARc/WWrpq0jweIs/s640/Lake+Town+Map.jpg



http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uo4qSGtVHjE/TaTbxdTkelI/AAAAAAAAAQs/8xyEeT_vhbg/s640/Lake+Town+Citadel+of+the+Maestas+1st+Floor+Plan.jp g

rdanhenry
04-19-2011, 03:44 AM
Precioussssssssssss!

Port Paladine
04-19-2011, 11:10 AM
I have just looked at your site and... wow Lots of really great work. I was wondering if you use a tablet for some of your stuff. I was thinking about pricing one out. You seem to have the effect of hand drawn maps that is hard to get with a mouse. Really Great work.

torstan
04-20-2011, 02:08 PM
There's nowhere to hide when you're doing straight black and white maps - and these are brilliant examples of how to do them well. That's a real display of skill - congratulations, and welcome to the guild!

ravells
04-20-2011, 02:38 PM
There's nowhere to hide when you're doing straight black and white maps

Never a truer word said.

CastleDrafts
04-20-2011, 04:33 PM
I have just looked at your site and... wow Lots of really great work. I was wondering if you use a tablet for some of your stuff. I was thinking about pricing one out. You seem to have the effect of hand drawn maps that is hard to get with a mouse. Really Great work.

I actually bought and still have a Wacom Art Z tablet but haven't used it in a while. I'm pretty sure I used that for some of the AutoCAD drawings but I also used raster to vector conversion programs and converted hand drawn sketches done by the authors to trace my AutoCAD lines over. Sometimes, especially for rough cavern edges or contours, I would use the original conversion polylines in the new AutoCAD drawings since they had a nice natural hand drawn look within the CAD program but usually I would re-draw them over the old lines. I sometimes drew contours and stuff in AutoCAD with a mouse but that's slow going tedious work and doesn't always look that great (not as good as hand drawn lines). These days for house plans and stuff AutoCAD lets you pull in JPG and bitmap files that you can directly trace over. I'm trying to get back into game art and if I can land any gigs I'll probably use some combination of the above techniques for the AtuoCAD drawings but there is always a place for hand drawn maps.

I tried drawing a few site maps with AutoCAD (mostly towns) but was never as satisfied with the result as I was by drawing them with ink. The other maps and plans shown on the site were drawn by hand using technical pens with black ink on vellum. The vellum allows you to trace over your originals (usually the author's sketches) since that's how they taught us to draw in architecture school - I've never really worked with non-translucent paper . I would usually pre-draw areas that needed to be re-worked lightly in pencil first and then go back and lightly erase any pencil lines showing through afterward so as to not erase the ink (or just design them on separate sketch paper and trace them through the vellum). Once any design work is done, the inking goes pretty quickly depending on the complexity.

Dan

CastleDrafts
08-02-2011, 05:30 AM
Its been a while since I posted any artwork over at Tales from the Tower but I just added a few new illustrations that I did for ICE's MERP modules for the Palantir Quest and Minas Tirith back in the spring of 1994. These were some of the first illustrations I did for them and you can see the beginnings of my signature style emerging in these drawings. I also did some CAD drawings for both modules and a bunch of other residence plans for Minas Tirith but they aren't as nice as these so I didn't post them. I may post more in the future though. Link here:

http://iguanaslair.blogspot.com/2011/08/ice-merp-layouts-from-palantir-quest.html

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-iSmP2F_lKRk/TaTf-7ds5OI/AAAAAAAAAQ0/siN-JJBuZCI/s640/Palantir+Quest+Town+of.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-INcXH4t-jsY/TaTgPTPaf0I/AAAAAAAAAQ4/n2hJvxBSC2w/s640/Palantir+Quest+Ruin.JPG

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Eydpx2umJYc/TjeuhvaVStI/AAAAAAAAAX4/7EJ3SE-r8Gc/s640/Minas+Tirith+Manor+House.jpg

Redrobes
08-02-2011, 06:00 AM
I must have missed these first time around. Crikey these are good !!! It shows that you have an architectural background. I have often found that the people who are architects seems to have a knack of getting such clean lines and nice style. I suspect its due to ACAD software. I don't think inkscape / illustrator is the same. I had to use ACAD for engineering designs many many years ago and I didn't get on well with it tho. I think it needs a lot of practice.

If your a Middle Earth nut then you can have a look at the maps were doing as part of the me-dem group here (http://me-dem.me.uk/galleries/gallery_index.htm).

ravells
08-02-2011, 06:01 AM
Absolutely stunning! Thanks for posting!! This is some of the best black and white line work I've ever seen.

jfrazierjr
08-02-2011, 08:58 AM
Agreed...I especially like the first image linked in the latest post of the town... that's really nice... would love to see some color and shading to see it punched up....

CastleDrafts
08-02-2011, 06:00 PM
I must have missed these first time around. Crikey these are good !!! It shows that you have an architectural background. I have often found that the people who are architects seems to have a knack of getting such clean lines and nice style. I suspect its due to ACAD software. I don't think inkscape / illustrator is the same. I had to use ACAD for engineering designs many many years ago and I didn't get on well with it tho. I think it needs a lot of practice.

If your a Middle Earth nut then you can have a look at the maps were doing as part of the me-dem group here (http://me-dem.me.uk/galleries/gallery_index.htm).

Cool, thanks. I'll have a look at your link. Some of these were drawn with CAD (mostly the buildings and stuff) but some of the nicest ones were done by hand, particularly the outdoor maps. I tried doing some of those maps with CAD and they didn't turn out so great because they were too uniform and lacked the organic feel you get with ink. I'm working on a way to combine the best of both worlds for some stuff I'm doing now - it involves doing the buildings with CAD (anything with hard edges and stuff) and either scanning in the hand drawn stuff for the map part of the layout and converting it to CAD format to print out (using a raster to vector conversion program), or scanning in the CAD printouts and superimposing them on the hand drawn maps in Photoshop. I haven't quite worked out all of the bugs yet but it should be do-able. Either that or maybe use a tablet to draw stuff by hand in CAD but even that doesn't have quite the same feel as ink on vellum for those (maybe the tablet would work better in a paint program for that).

A lot of the hand drawing techniques that I used for these I learned in the architecture school at UVA or figured out afterwards as I drew them. A big part of it involves using multiple pen widths so that you get a lot of contrast and depth including drawing heavier shadow lines where necessary and using lighter angled or earth crosshatching for the greys. That way you have a field of white, heavier lines for the contrast and greys and lighter lines for the in between tones. It also helps to draw it in pencil first on tracing sketch paper and then trace over your design sketches with ink onto the vellum for the final version. I'll never understand how artists draw on non translucent paper - I would be lost without it. Tracing over designs to refine them into a new design and then inking the final drawing is a big part of the architectural design training that I learned in architecture school. Even today when I design houses, I still start with pencil sketches during the preliminary design phase before drawing them in CAD.

monks
08-02-2011, 09:32 PM
Oooh, great to meet you CastleDrafts. I grew up with your maps :) And Pete Fenlon's too of course.I've got a complete hard copy collection of all the ICE MERP publications- after 10 years away from role playing with ICE's MERP and then Rolemaster, I decided to hunt them down on EBay; took me a while. I was always an admirer of your black and white layouts. My favourites are the Court of Ardor (since I used that in my campaign) and also Moria. Dol Guldur and Lorien and many others spring to mind as well...
I'm involved with the project in the link above called the ME-DEM Project (Middle-Earth dem project). The goal is to model digitally Middle-Earth based on the ICE publications. I modelled the terrain, the digital elevation model (dem) from the Pete Fenlon maps. A work still in progress. I would love to see the ICE floor plans modelled, something I always wanted to do too, but for the foreseeable future I'm still working on the terrain. We've pretty much got a working terrain ready though. We're currently beta testing OuTerra (http://outerra.com/) and we have our terrain in there. It's crossed my mind, when we have some better shots, and more work done on the enviroment, to send Pete Fenlon some piccys, so he can see his maps come to 3D life! :-D

monks

arsheesh
08-02-2011, 09:45 PM
Well I'm a bit late to this party so I'll just add my voice to the din of congratulations. Great job CastleDrafts!

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

monks
08-02-2011, 10:11 PM
ps...on your blog CastleDrafts, you were wondering about Barad Morkai. Was Barad Morkai from the Angmar module? I remember there was a fortress called Morkai in there. Just checked, yes it's called Barad Morkai in ICE #2018.

monks

CastleDrafts
08-08-2011, 07:59 PM
Thanks for the compliments. Actually, you guys can just refer to me as Dan. My other online handle is iguana (from iguana's lair and other BBSs) but I just used Castle Drafts here since it was my free lance game company name back then (drafting a drafty castle...).

Thanks for the info. I asked Coleman Charleton on Thursday or Friday at Gen Con if he remembered which module Barad Morkai was from and he couldn't remember off the top of his head. I have a mostly complete CAD file for it but still unfinished (probably saved a work in progress but lost the original CAD file). Also, I never ended up with the final printed copy in my storage files (it got lost in the shuffle when ICE shut down) and for whatever reason never ended up with a printed copy of the Angmar module either. I just looked and it doesn't appear that they gave me an artist credit for that book either (at least I couldn't find it on the web). Angmar 2nd Ed was mostly a re-hash of the older 1st Edition version with some added content.

I found this listing a month or so ago at Board Game/RPG Geek and claimed it. It lists most of the stuff I worked on with a few exceptions (like Angmar and a few other things). At some point I'll post more artwork from back then on the blog including Silent Death spaceship layouts, the weapons I drew for Weapon Law: Firearms, the spell runes I did for Rolemaster, the Castle layouts (2D and 3D) from Rolemaster Castles and Ruins and even some computer game work I did for Kesmai/EA. Here's the link:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/rpgartist/13381/daniel-cruger

CastleDrafts
08-08-2011, 08:07 PM
Oooh, great to meet you CastleDrafts. I grew up with your maps :) And Pete Fenlon's too of course.I've got a complete hard copy collection of all the ICE MERP publications- after 10 years away from role playing with ICE's MERP and then Rolemaster, I decided to hunt them down on EBay; took me a while. I was always an admirer of your black and white layouts. My favourites are the Court of Ardor (since I used that in my campaign) and also Moria. Dol Guldur and Lorien and many others spring to mind as well...
I'm involved with the project in the link above called the ME-DEM Project (Middle-Earth dem project). The goal is to model digitally Middle-Earth based on the ICE publications. I modelled the terrain, the digital elevation model (dem) from the Pete Fenlon maps. A work still in progress. I would love to see the ICE floor plans modelled, something I always wanted to do too, but for the foreseeable future I'm still working on the terrain. We've pretty much got a working terrain ready though. We're currently beta testing OuTerra (http://outerra.com/) and we have our terrain in there. It's crossed my mind, when we have some better shots, and more work done on the enviroment, to send Pete Fenlon some piccys, so he can see his maps come to 3D life! :-D



monks

I still have most of the CAD files but I'm a bit leery about publishing them as middle earth even if its just a fan based effort out of litigation concerns from the IP property owners (the Tolkien estate). If you are making money off of it and calling it Middle Earth without their permission it could get you into legal trouble. If it is a fan based effort not for profit, there may not be any legal issues but then you are working for free (it still might be worth checking with an IP lawyer though).

monks
08-08-2011, 09:37 PM
Hey Dan, cool stuff! Yes, the original Angmar scenario was the first ICE module I ever bought- my oiriginal copy was lost in a fire, but I later replaced it. My first ICE campaign was set in Angmar so I remember it pretty well. When you mentioned it on your blog I didn't recall the Barad prefix, and looking at my copy it was referred to as Castle Morkai, or Morkai in the earlier edition (ME2300). In the later edition Barad was added.

They didn't credit you it seems,which seems like an oversight, especially considering that your bw layouts is what made (in my mind) the most lasting impression, aside from Pete Fenlon's maps that is.
The same isometric view of Morkai is printed in both Angmar editions, but in the original, that got a full page spread, but was reduced to half a page in the later edition. The later edition does have an additional full page elevation plan view though with contour lines.
In the earlier edition the underground fortress layouts of Carn Dum itself look very much like your bw style, with pen and ink hand drawn cross hatching to produce the stone effect and it's got the old spikey font styling that was used in the early (1st & 2nd edition) Rolemaster Arms Law, Claw Law, Spell Law, etc books.


Yes, we're a not-for-profit project.
I remember all of the fallout from the ICE losing the Tolkien license. They were forced to destroy a lot of stock in the warehouse I read. Stuff that could have helped with their financial position. Well I came to it late but read about it I think a year after ICE folded- they still had the "no longer trading" sign up on the website- the filing for chapter 11 or whatever it is on there.

monks

CastleDrafts
08-09-2011, 06:43 PM
I finally looked at a PDF of the MERP Second ED version of Angmar and I didn't do either of the drawings there for Morkai or anything else for that module. It was mostly a re-hash of the first version with added content. I did redo the plans though (including a revised first floor plan with the topo and an upper level floor plan that wasn't in the old Angmar books) and I remember something about a product (or maybe a tournament module or something) called the Siege of Barad Morkai. It was definitely the same castle but I still haven't figured out what module it was from or if it was ever printed at all. The scans are dated 4/96 and the CAD plans I drew are dated 8/96 so that's when I drew them anyway. I'm going to have to ask some of the ICE art crew about this and see if they remember what the deal was. I have copies of all of the books I did for them but don't have any info about my Morkai CAD drawings so its a mystery at the moment. This also explains the lack of an artist credit in Angmar - I didn't draw anything for either of those books. When I can sort this out and create a printable version of the plans I'll post them to the blog.