View Full Version : WIP - Hand Drawn Style Dalradan Valley Map

09-08-2012, 03:05 PM

I am running another 4th edition D&D game in my homebrew setting of Demetia. I decided to redo my area map in a pseudo-hand-drawn style, using Gidde's "Hand-Drawn Map Tutorial (for the Artistically Challenged)".

I didn't want a purely black-and-white map, so I tried to do a watercolor effect on top by using a soft brush and lowering the opacity a lot. I'm not sure I am happy with the overall look right now, but will probably be experimenting more with it.

It still needs roads and settlements, along with finishing work. But this is not a fancy map for display, it's mostly a working map I can use for the game, so I probably won't do too much fancy finishing.

Anyway, here is what I have so far:


09-08-2012, 03:56 PM
I think it looks pretty good. The only thing I'd do is get rid of the (I think?) plains/grass icons. If you've got green landscape with nothing on it, I think most people will know that it's plains and/or grassland without cluttering it up unnecessarily. That way when you add your settlements and all the text, it won't overload the map. The only time I'd go against my own advice is if it's a very large area and there won't be hardly any text and/or special icons on it - in that case you might need to fill up some empty space to balance things out.

09-08-2012, 09:01 PM
Yeah, I agree with Diamond on the grasslands, and otherwise it looks okay. One suggestion, or two, for creating the watercolor effect: A background with a bit of texture/graininess (and a brush with same), along with setting the paint layer style to either multiply or color burn (with the opacity turned down) goes quite a distance to improving the look and feel of digital watercolor washes. Your lake isn't too shabby, actually. Depending on your software, I think if you could capture some of that round bit at the top of the lake and turn it into a greyscale brush... that'd be useful for this application.

09-09-2012, 01:45 PM
Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. I did take out the grassland icons, added a parchment-type background, and lowered the opacity on the rivers because they just looked a bit too harsh.


09-09-2012, 01:48 PM
I've been working on this all day but I wanted to show progress so I am posting what I did in stages. In this next stage, I add the settlements and roads, and emphasized the color in the lake. Adding the parchment background had caused the color in the lake to look a bit washed out.


09-09-2012, 01:50 PM
In this stage, I added the labels for the settlements, roads, and geographical features. I'm not totally satisfied with the mountain labels, they aren't very readable. But I will go back in and fix that later.


09-09-2012, 01:53 PM
And here is what I ended up with. Originally I hadn't planned to give this a fancy finish, but it just didn't look quite right without something. So I gave it an inner border, a compass rose, a title, and an outer border.


Thanks for the feedback, and any other comments are still welcome as I will probably fiddle with this more over time. I just wanted to get something finished, as this was primarily something I needed for an RPG game, and not just for the joy of mapping.

09-09-2012, 03:04 PM
I really don't like the labels at all. Colour, position, size... nothing.

But the rest is gorgeous! :)

09-09-2012, 04:20 PM

I hear you on the labels, they probably don't match the overall style of the map. I was using a method I learned from a tutorial by RobA, but it was for a totally different style. I just wanted to finish this, so I didn't think through some of the elements. Never fear, I will be going back later and re-evaluating some things. I just don't have time to do it this weekend. :) Thanks for the input!

09-09-2012, 04:26 PM
Yes, that is what bothered me... the labels simply don't fit the rest of the map...

... which still is gorgeous. ;)

09-09-2012, 08:41 PM
I agree with Freodin r.e. the labels; additionally, the town/city/whatever icons are very low-key and hard to pick out. I didn't even realize they were markers at first - I thought they were like aging/ink spots on the map.

09-10-2012, 06:47 PM
Yeah, I may choose different icons as well...I was using a brush set for map elements, probably one linked from a thread on the Mapping Resources forum here on the Cartographer's Guild site. When I go back to re-do this map I will definitely be looking at typography and iconography first and foremost...I think I also want to do the roads a bit differently, but we'll see. As it is, I was able to do this map in about 8-12 hours total work. Despite the iissues, I think it turned out fairly well for such a rushed project. :)