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Thread: Well met, fellow cartographers!

  1. #1

    Question Well met, fellow cartographers!

    Greetings, everyone,

    My name is Justin D. Russell. I'm an illustratour, cartographer, and writer of fantastic themes. I'm a young freelancer with many questions I hope you all will have at least some of the answers to. In any event I am pleased to make your acquaintance.

    For starters, I attended the University of Cincinnati's D.A.A.P. (Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning) program before diving into life at the Columbus College of Art and Design, in Columbus, Ohio. I've always been fascinated by fantasy. First, it was comics, of which I was at least mildly interested for most of my pre-teenage life. I was never content to sit idly by and read my favourite stories. I would frequently write and illustrate my own.

    My true calling arrived when a few friends invited me to join their gaming group after I spied the DM's personal campaign folder drawing of a wizard stuck into the clear sleeve of his binder's cover. It was Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition. I cannot begin to explain to you how this turned my world upside down. Larry Elmore's illustration of the dragon slayers at the beginning of the book stole my breath away. I remember begging my Mom to take me to the local Border's to get the book (then new on shelves). When I read the example of play, I remember thinking, '... People [I]play[I] this!? This is [I]awesome[I]!' I drew our characters, filled out lots of character sheets that never got used, and generally had a blast. Like comics, only more so, I was soon dissatisfied with just playing. I began writing my own campaigns, making my own unique worlds and races, and I haven't left Middle Earth, since

    cartography is a chief love of mine. I've been doing it for a very long time, but only seriously within the last few years since embarking on my professional career. I'm new, and need some assistance. Do any of you make a living, or at least sell, your map making skills? Have any of you had any luck with illustrating other people's worlds? How did you go about it? I plan on reading many back posts to get some of these answers and learn more about you all (and, of course, look at amazing maps. I perused the featured work, and was completely blown away by what I saw. I believe joining this forum will be a wonderful experience), but I would also very much enjoy any feedback any of you would be willing to give. I'm eager to make some new friends and talk shop, here.

    If any of you would like to see a sample of my cartography, I have many on my Facebook page: Epic Werkes Studio (the name of my business). There is a photo album entitled: 'Maps'. I'll also upload at least one sample of my work, here. It's the world of Rassilon, the land of Triple Ace Game's Hellfrost setting. It's about a year and half old, maybe two. I'm currently working on the other 'half' of the world.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I do all maps by hand, only a little computer editing. I am fascinated by traditional media. I do all my own lettering, now. Putting those expensive typography classes to use

    Any feedback, 'hello's', and just general hoopla, is very much appreciated. Nice to meet you all! I look forward to becoming a regular part of this forum

    Many regards to all,



  2. #2
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Surrey, Canada, EH!


    Welcome to the Guild!

    And I LUV the Map!
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

    Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice!

    Any questions on CC3? Post them with CC3 in the Subject Line!
    MY 'FAMOUS' CC3 MAPS: Thunderspire; Pyramid of Shadows; King of the Trollhaunt Warrens; Demon Queen's Enclave

  3. #3


    Absolutely superb work. Great to have you on board, Justin and looking forward to seeing more. In terms of getting paid work for fantasy cartography we have a number of luminaries as members, Jon Roberts and Mike Schley among them. We have a (largely dormant) sub forum for professionals like yourself as well.



  4. #4


    Thank you, very much! That sounds great. I've already looked around, some, but what I saw was mind boggling. I can learn quite a bit from you folks.

  5. #5


    You're welcome! You will find this is an incredibly friendly community which gives constructive criticism and shares methods and material openly. I'm sure you'll feel right at home here!

  6. #6
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Ft. Wayne, IN


    Welcome Aboard!
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  7. #7


    Thanks, everyone!

  8. #8
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Apex, NC USA


    Great stuff Justin... glad to have you aboard... keep posting up any works you can based upon client license/copyright restrictions as we would love to see as much of it as possible!
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  9. #9


    Welcome! This is a really nice map (for traditional media that is).
    Blog: Too much game lore? | Diablo 3 guest passes
    Riftforge: (WIP) Map of Rift Isle, protected by elite raiders ( Play now }

  10. #10
    Guild Journeyer Moe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Mannheim, Germany



    That's the kind of 'traditional' work I really love - nothing creates a style like this one but a deft hand and some pens.
    Want to see more ;-)

    If I stare at the country long enough
    I can prise it off the paper,
    lift it like a flap of skin.
    - Moniza Alvi, 1993 -

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