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  1. #1

    Help mapping a town by hand

    hello, new to the site and was hoping to get some advice. im an artist who likes drawing maps by hand. i recently started mapping towns i've lived in and am finding it very difficult. its easy enough to find maps to copy/trace ( though i always wind up making fixes) but now i've gotten to the lettering part an its a friggin nightmare! so... im thinking about using a .... computer... Arrrggrgr. im not good with them. however im wondering if there's a way to get my drawings in and letter them with a program. or even do the whole project in one. any thoughts?
    here's an example of my work, this was much easier than doing a city!
    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Guild Artisan eViLe_eAgLe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Washington State


    Oh thats lovely.. Repped!

  3. #3


    How I was taught to do lettering for technical drawings, was to use a lettering guide. Which is basically a piece of plastic with holes in it.
    You stick a pencil into the lettering guide and run it along a straight edge. Without moving the straight edge, you move your pencil to another hole and go along the straight edge again. Now you should have a pair of parallel lines. Generally, you want to use a hard lead so the lines are faint and easy to erase.
    Next, you write between the lines. Using the same holes, all your text should end up being a uniform size. Then you erase the guide lines. (I was taught to make the lines 1/8th of an inch apart, which makes the letters readable without straining your eyes.)

    Alternatively, there are stencils of various sizes, which would ensure all your letters are in the same style.

    A cheat that some of my classmates used was to type up the required text in a word processor, print it out, and trace it on to their drawing.

    The trick to good lettering is to take your time. Each stroke of each letter is as important as any other feature on the map. Perhaps more so, because if anyone is taking the time to read your labels, they are focusing on your lettering.

  4. #4


    thank you that was helpful

  5. #5
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States


    Very nice, man. Keep up the good work.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)

    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  6. #6
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009


    I've been thinking of doing a map on paper for quite some time, seeing if I can transfer the skills I've developed with the linework on the computer. This totally inspires me to try it!!

    And thanks for the lettering tips, I'm copying that for reference.

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

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