View Full Version : Some hand-drawn work...

06-25-2009, 08:27 PM
Hello everyone! I've been hand-drawing maps for quite some time now and I thought I'd share a few examples. I specialize in black and white, pen-and-ink drawings.
The first two maps are of the same region; an island on a fantasy game world of my creation. The first is from an 8.5x11" print made from the 17x22" original. I completed it 5 years ago for a local art show and it took about 200 hours to complete. The second map portion was completed just recently. I was trying out a more "comic-bookish" style. I like it and I've been getting some good feedback from it as well.
The third drawing is a excerpt of an illustrated treasure map. This was particularly fun to draw!

06-25-2009, 08:31 PM
Is the 3rd one a cryptic thing which you have to solve or more literal where you find the steps by the river then over the bridge etc ?

Either way - oodles of awesomness. Ill try to rep but I fear I will not be able to such is the awesomeness of the last map you posted.

06-25-2009, 10:18 PM
I came

These maps are awesome, any chance you could elaborate on the materials you use? I do hand drawn mostly as well, but parts of yours look so much nicer than mine, specifically the really detailed forests.

06-26-2009, 12:39 AM
any chance you could elaborate on the materials you use?

First and foremost: All of my maps are drawn with the intention that they will be reduced in size when they are finished. This allows a lot of leeway as far as imperfections and errors, and I think the maps always look better when they've been shrunk down a bit.
Secondly: None of these maps are from the first try: The Island has been drawn and re-drawn many, many different times and at several different scales. The treasure map is its 3rd incarnation, though I am planning on re-drawing it again.
Thirdly: The advice I give to anyone wishing to improve their skills at drawing, be it manually or digitally, is to have patience and practice, practice, practice! The greatest truth I ever learned about art was from one of my first art teachers: Being a good artist takes 10% talent and 90% practice!
The original two maps of the island are both drawn on vellum. I use non-repro blue pencil for the original sketched layout of the shorelines, mountainous areas and lakes/rivers. I then trace over lightly with 6H pencil to establish the actual lines and make any changes from the rough blue sketch. After all the lines are where I like them, I finalize it in dark HB pencil. This first drawing is called a "blank", which I keep for future reference whenever the same map (or portion therof) needs to be redrawn.
I then tape the blank down to my drawing table and lay another piece of vellum over it. Since vellum is transparent, I simply trace over the lines of my blank lightly with 6H pencil, then I use Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph technical pens for the final inking.
The final mountains (and trees on the second map) are penciled in lightly with 6H pencil and then inked when they look "right". The forests on the first map were done by stippling; that is, they are individual dots made using the .25mm (3x0) pen.
I like to mix my own ink rather than use straight black: I mix about 3 parts brown to 1 part black, this gives a more "sepia" look and cuts down the "harshness" of the technically-perfect lines the pens produce (I don't mind ultra-crisp lines on a modern or futuristic drawing, but not on my fantasy maps).
The last map was drawn on smooth surface Bristol board. Although I've used vellum almost exclusively in the past, I'm growing very fond of the way Bristol board takes ink. The ink soaks in so fast that smearing rarely occurs, where on vellum I have to wait for the ink to dry fully before being able to continue on an inked portion. Another benefit of Bristol board is that I don't have to be so careful while erasing pencil lines from an inked drawing. even careful erasing on vellum risks removing the ink.
As far as erasing goes, I use several different types of erasers depending on what I'm trying to erase: a hard white eraser for heavy blue lines, a soft white for light blue sketch lines, a soft black or hard white for 6H pencil, and an Artgum eraser held lightly for removing pencil lines from an inked surface. I even have a hard ink eraser for removing minor ink errors from vellum, though it doesn't work on Bristol board. I also use a stick eraser and a draftsman's erasing shield for precise erasing when necessary.
I haven't used wooden pencils in years, I draw with 2mm lead holders (3 to be exact: 1 each for my 6H, HB and non-repro blue leads) and .3mm, .5mm, .7mm and .9mm mechanical pencils all loaded with HB lead.
Other than my refillable Rapidograph technical pens, I also use felt-tip technical pens for any "slop" work, like filling large areas or heavy lines that don't need to be too precise.

06-26-2009, 01:06 AM
Is the 3rd one a cryptic thing which you have to solve or more literal where you find the steps by the river then over the bridge etc ?

Unfortunately the whole map wouldn't fit on the scanner, so you only see the center portion. It is intended to be cryptic: There is a poem/song that accompanies it that tells the story of what the 3-panel picture of the king, his city and the wizard are dipicting. The leafy vine in the picture is actually a symbol used in the royal family's crest. If you look closely you will notice a leaf in the waterfall marking a hidden entrance. While the map does show a stair on a cliff, a bridge on a river and a mountain shielding a castle, it does not give any key to which direction the river flows or what mountain range is depicted in the distance (didn't fit on the scanner, sorry). Once again the poem must be referred to for clues: It talks of how the city was burned in the evening, and by looking at the center panel of the picture you can see that the sun is setting in a notch between two peaks. The map shows the river originating from a mountain range so it is can be surmised that the mountains are in the west and the river flows eastward. Dragons are exceedingly rare on my world and the few that are known are located on maps and talked about in stories and legends, and are in wild places people avoid. On the mountain range, just to the right of the river, is a drawing of a dragon. This further points the direction by letting the players know that they are looking for a river that flows east from western mountains and south of the reputed lair of a great wyrm.
Other clues are the Centaur, which represents that the lands are theirs, and the dancing fairy, which they will discover is a fairy ring (toadstool ring) that marks the entrance to the cave leading to the castle. I plan on re-drawing the map because I've decided to make some minor changes, but it will still remain a puzzle for my players.

06-26-2009, 01:35 AM
well. this makes my hands weep in shame, fools that they were to think they were good at inking. then again, it sounds like youve got years on me, and it shows that youve been practicing the craft - i salute you.

do you do any watercolor on your maps, or are they straight ink?

Greason Wolfe
06-26-2009, 02:37 AM
Sweet. I like the first one quite a bit, but that may be the parchment effect as much as it is the artwork. In any event, nicely done. And I will rep without fear. :lol:


06-26-2009, 08:40 AM
Very pretty indeed. Great maps.

06-26-2009, 12:44 PM
I can't take any credit for the parchment effect on the first map, it was done by the company that I paid to make the prints. The original is completely black and white and drawn on vellum. I'm only just beginning to learn to use my computer to edit scanned-in artwork and I have no examples to show as of yet.
As for my experience: I've been drawing fantasy maps by hand for over 24 years and I've been a draftsman for almost as long. While I do all of my regular drafting design work in AutoCAD, I still draft manually as a hobby. My experience at manual drafting is what makes my work look so precise. I actually wish I was a bit more "sloppy" for the fantasy maps; my style always seems a bit too "technical" to me, but ingrained habits are hard to break and people seem to like it regardless.
My maps are strictly ink. Though I have toyed around with washes and color in the past, my style preference is black and white ink lines.

06-26-2009, 08:33 PM
Gorgeous! I'm especially happy to see the slope/hill style in the parchment one, like the era of the American Revolution and Napoleon. Love it!

I recently tried to do a hand-drawn thing, and skills are shyte for it. So I'm back to the computer, probably to SIMULATE a hand-drawn style. Meh.

06-27-2009, 04:48 AM
Nice work my friend I look forward to more of your work. I am a freehand Cartographer myself and understand the labors and time invested in such works. Bravo my friend I commend your skill.

07-03-2009, 04:08 PM
I have seen many pieces of work on here that make my jaw drop. I think this may beat them all. Gorgeous work.