View Full Version : Hand Drawn Dungeons

09-01-2012, 05:18 AM
So, I have been trying to find a way to make dungeons look hand drawn... inorite? Turns out it's just way easier to draw them by hand. Don't get me wrong, you can get some good results with the right software but nothing compares to that little callous you can give yourself on the index side of your middle finger. At any rate, here are the results of my search for a good, solid, easy technique.


Ignore the ciphers, I don't even know what they mean anymore... I was probably trying to give them some kind of authenticity.


The compass needs work...

These results were obtained in late spring by using some German designed manga Pitt pens in a Blueline graph paper notebook whilst I waited for my son to get out of preschool. They are some exceptional little things. I got mine at Michael's.

When they were completed I scanned them, and dropped them onto my watercolor textures (see my signature) I created last year. The hue has been altered to that nice sepia tone (I hate the blue lines[1]) to give it that lovely faded look.

IDK, I like it. What say you?

[1] holy crap! I get the name "Blueline" now! I must be fracking dense.

09-01-2012, 05:46 AM
Haha, hand drawing a map is deffinitely the best way to make maps look hand drawn :P There are plenty of tricks to make it easier, like drawing a few trees by hand, then using them as stamps, or working out things precisely in vectors and then drawing over it to give it a hand drawn fidelity.

Anyway, your maps are very pleasing to look at. The blocky outlining looks really cool and the water colour texture brings it all together real well. The structure of the buildings look like they could have been designed by a mad man or just grown over time. It gives it a weird organic feel even though it's blocky. Did you have plans for the function of the building?

09-01-2012, 05:56 AM
No...haha...I was trying new things and was generally not concerned with it's function. The first 14 pages were utter failures but these two turned out quite nicely, to my thinking. I'm looking forward to applying the style to an actual map with an actual purpose but I'm so utterly focused on taking care of my kids right now. One has autism, requiring a great deal of time and focus and the other is turning two soon and... well, the terrible twos have begun early.


Did you draw your avatar? It's fantastic! If so, how are you at rendering fantasy races based on preliminary sketches and a general description?

Cunning Cartographer
09-01-2012, 06:03 AM
Love them.

As someone who has always used Photoshop and throwing together textures and images from Dunjinni and RPG MapShare to make my maps I've only recently decided to go pure illustration on my future maps because they just look so pretty :D Takes me about 10x as long to make them for my campaigns, but I just find them so much more fulfilling when you know you've handmade every element on the map. Rep'd.

09-01-2012, 06:34 AM
Fantastic work! I really like your simple and lovely hand-drawn style. Repped.


09-01-2012, 06:50 AM
They did turn out well :) The drawing is a self portrait from a photo. I do character art, but find motivation hard lately because I work a 40 hour week as a 3D artist and freelance a bit sometime. It's kind of creatively draining. I have no idea what I'll do when I have kids! I'll have to cut my hours down if I ever want to do my own projects :P Autism runs in my family too. My little brother is autistic spectrum, and he was a lot of work growing up too :)

09-01-2012, 12:37 PM
Oh well. I had to try. Your art style just really jumped out at me. Everything I draw looks like comic book stuff... my fault for learning to draw from comics, i suppose. Been trying to break out of it for years.

I assembled map 16:


09-03-2012, 09:19 PM
The walls are really cool. Repped.

And the Cipher actually isn't too hard to decode, if you start with the obvious ones and extrapolate.

09-04-2012, 09:37 PM
And 15:


09-04-2012, 10:16 PM
I'll say it again, these are really lovely. I could definitely seem them being published as part of a line of indie adventures.


Blaidd Drwg
09-05-2012, 05:55 AM
Hand-drawn maps are the best. Great work! :D

09-07-2012, 02:56 PM
Tossed some spiral staircases in this one.



I really like drawing the dungeons in the breakdown view and then assembling them later. Firstly because I can use smaller sheets of paper and secondly because I only have a rough Idea of what the finished product is going to look like when it's done.

10-17-2012, 09:29 PM
I concur with the others. your maps are awesome. I've just been getting back into D&D and I've been searching around for ideas on hand drawn maps. You outer walls are phenomenal. Really great idea. Much more authentic than the hash marks of old. I may borrow that concept if you don't mind???

The sepia idea is awesome too. I really love earthy colors like that. It actually hadn't occurred to me to do that. I'm not a big fan of blueline either. I've also been searching the web for pen ideas, so I may give your "German designed manga Pitt pens" a try. Thanks for mentioning that.

How do you use your maps btw. I've been toying with different ideas for in game map use. Do you use these in game or do you have the payers draw their own maps? If you do use them do you print them out to 1" squares and do you lay out only sections the characters enter one room or hallway at a time. I'm searching for new ideas for gameplay. I want to keep the game focused on roleplaying and less on mechanics. So having ready made maps or map sections allows the players to focus more on playing than mapping. What do you think?


10-19-2012, 10:39 AM
This stuff is absolutely fantastic! I absolutely admire your style. I just wonder - the pens you use, are they coloured pens, or do you just colorize after scanning? As for making this into an adventure ... that is something I would totally go for! Consider this mightily prepped!

A thought - perhaps a fine idea would be to have a grid underliner (a paper beneath your drawing paper, like the one used for writing in straight lines on blank pages), that way you could avoid the "trouble" of removing grid lines afterwards?