View Full Version : New Guy with loads of questions

10-07-2008, 10:52 PM
Okay I'm not sure where half of these might go but I am curious about some things.

I've been looking around and it occurs to me that aside from my hand map making I might have things of value to people.

So is there intrest in things like hand made mazes, wind roses (compass images), caligraphy, and sigils (magic circles and symbols). done as hand drawn images and scanned into a computer, or as time goes by maybe generated on computers?

Are there devisions on the map challenge (light weight and heavyweight sort of things)?

And does anybody actually make money from mapping and generating elements for mapping? How and how much?

thanks for any help you can offer a newby.

10-07-2008, 11:07 PM
There's always a market out there for art.. :D ... but making money at it, that is good money, can take a while... I've gotten a few commissions since I've been here... all through contacts with or thru the guild, save for one. Paying gigs... but they haven't made enough money to earn a living by... There are a few around here who do make their living off of it... GamerPrinter for one, can speak better than I can about it. All you can do is hang your hat out there and see if anyone want's to what you got to sell... service or otherwise. :D
As for other map challenges, there aren't any for right now. But who knows what will happen in the future? But, As soon as we the CL's know... you all will be the first to know about it! :D

10-08-2008, 05:52 PM
I'm sure there is an interest in hand drawn images. I, for one, would be interested in hand drawn compass roses. Mine are rubbish!

As for money - I've ended up picking up a few commissions on the side from this site and others. RPG.net and The Forge (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?board=29.0) are good places to stick a post with maps in it (though read the info for the Forge boards before posting). I don't make anything significant from it, but the commissions are good ways of building up a portfolio of different stuff.

Equally - have a look through the members list for those people with Industry Professional under their name. They do make their living (or at least some of it) from mapmaking or associated arts. They are the people you need to direct further questions to.

10-08-2008, 07:10 PM
As already mentioned, map commissions exist, though seldom are they of serious monetary gain. Except for those getting commissions from WotC, most small RPG publishers are truly small. Often just a few RPG gamers with the angst to create their own products. That is, people like you and I, not big companies with big budgets.

This means that $100 map is about the most you'll make on a given job. Finding clients who need more than one map, and projects on an ongoing basis is the way to developing an income through cartography.

Although professionally (outside of cartography) I earn $60+ per hour. For most cartography work, I only make $20 per hour, and that's based on a quoted price for expected timeframe to create a map. Realistically that's 1.5 to 5 hours, depending on complexity.

What if you're a slow map maker? You can't charge 10 hours for a 2 hour map even if it takes that long for you to create it. You have to guess how long it should take, once you're more proficient at mapping with speed and quality.

Can you make money creating Sigils, wind/compass roses, and/or map objects? Certainly, but only as collections of objects. Do you have a hundred wind/compass roses you can put into a single collection? If so, you might be able to sell it for $2 to $5 for the entire collection - and only if they're good!

The goal here is to come up with a range of products, a dozen collections that you can try and sell on RPGMapShare.com, RPGNow (or whatever they changed their name to) and through your own Ecommerce site. Hopefully dozens or a hundred customers eventually buy your collections.

Basically, none of these paths are serious money-makers, but then if you're into cartography for the money, you're in the wrong career. For me, my basic business is I digitally print your custom maps or maps you've purchased and downloaded. Creating maps is a fun side gig, since I love to create maps. I might make $10K this year from cartography, or in the next 12 months, but I really don't see a full-time thing in creating RPG maps, unless luck and lots more skill/experience changes that.

If you're looking for a small supplemental income doing the hobby you love. There's hope. If you're looking to replace your day-job, cartography is probably not going to do that.

Final point, it took creating some free maps, or serious undercutting your hoped for commission check, participating in lots of challenges and hundreds of posts on a dozen more sites just to get feelers for the first real commission. It took lots of time and work, and just now I'm seeing some income.


10-08-2008, 09:21 PM
REPPED GP !!! Good advice...
plus... you need that little boost past 99 !! :D

10-08-2008, 11:50 PM
Thanks very much for the replies, I think I need to clarify some things though.

The wind roses (it might be fun to make a small collection of map keyes, borders and windroses and sell them as an ebook) and such were really just wondering if people on this site were looking for others to post those types of things.

You see I'm somewhat of a geek when it comes to symbols and such. I'm teaching myself Egyptian hyroglyphs and sumerian cuniform for the fun of it. I've studied alchemy and some (though I plan to do more) sigil magic systems.

So I like playing with these things but it hadn't occured to me that others might like to see somthing along those lines here until I saw a post on magic circles. and sombody elses wind roses.

I'd be glad to work on some and post them for others.

The mazes I do by hand I might be able to customise for campain uses, to simplify them. And I am doing some freebee mas for writers over at NaNoWriMo.

I'm thinking that at some point I might make four or five maps include setting details and worldbuilding backstory on calligraphied paper and sell it as prop, or generic rpg setting material on the cheap (less then $7) at a con I go to regularly to advertise my commission maps and mazes.

As far as the money to be made from maps... Dude. I was thinking something like $30 to $60 being high end.

I do this primarily for fun and enjoy the process. and I know I can improve some at doing it (once I get a working computer I would like to give some of those other styles a try).

Things I'm likely to also be doing: hand made jewelry, book binding, writing, illustration, and sticking to working a part time job too.

One of the hardest things for me to judge is what my stuff is worth, and what kind of market there is for some things.

10-09-2008, 12:24 AM
Since you'll notice we share many of our maps and map objects for personal gaming uses by those who visit the site. Go to the Map Elements Forum and start a thread: Wind Roses, and start posting your wind rose samples, discuss how you create them and what inspires you - just make them available. You will no doubt receive critiques and comments.

Just post them up. You'll find out if we want more! 8)