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Thread: Temple Street to the Grand Temple - a hand-drawn map fragment

  1. #1
    Guild Apprentice Wirelizard's Avatar
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    Default Temple Street & other urban map fragments

    I started this as a doodle on a long narrow piece of scrap paper at work this afternoon, mostly as an experiment in defining a streetscape without drawing every single individual building, and thought it was going well enough that I brought it home to finish this evening.

    The original is 0.5 black ink on plain white paper; I took a photograph, cleaned it up in GIMP and added the colour. Layer maps got me the buildings picked out. I might yet add text, a compass rose and such, and I'll probably do the final version slightly larger than this WIP version.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    At the bottom of the map is the (currently unnamed) plaza where Temple Street starts; up at the top is Temple Plaza and the front of the Grand Temple itself.

    C&C welcome, as always!
    Last edited by Wirelizard; 11-28-2012 at 04:57 AM. Reason: Needed more words to actually make sense...

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    Guild Journeyer kestrelgrey's Avatar
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    Cool! looks good. The shapes are really evocative and suggest some great buildings, and seeing just the front of the Grand Temple really makes me want to know/see more. Your lines are really clean (especially for being hand drawn in ink!), and the added color looks really good. The border threw me off a little, but it's just a WIP ^-^
    Just curious, but was this city planned at all, or is this area wealthier? There are quite a few wide streets that are quite regular, which is quite different from the little "snippet" streets and alleys in between the "lot" shapes.
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    Guild Apprentice Wirelizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestrelgrey View Post
    Cool! looks good. The shapes are really evocative and suggest some great buildings, and seeing just the front of the Grand Temple really makes me want to know/see more. Your lines are really clean (especially for being hand drawn in ink!), and the added color looks really good. The border threw me off a little, but it's just a WIP ^-^
    Thanks! I'm actually not sure what to do with the border, to be honest. I added buildings until I ran out of paper, basically, and adding a computer-made border that works with hand-drawn building shapes in a satisfactory way is still eluding me.

    Just curious, but was this city planned at all, or is this area wealthier? There are quite a few wide streets that are quite regular, which is quite different from the little "snippet" streets and alleys in between the "lot" shapes.
    I figure Temple was rammed through an existing organic streetplan to connect the two squares/plazas, so the buildings immediately along it are well-off and newer but immediately behind them are older buildings - and many of the wide streets off Temple are the remains of older courts & yards.

    I've started adding lettering and such to this. I fired a PNG version of the GIMP file into Inkscape, did all the lettering on one layer there, then exported a PNG with just the lettering on it back to GIMP and pasted it as a new layer in the XCF image file. Inkscape's font handling, kerning and text-to-path tools are frankly much easier to use than GIMP's, although GIMP 2.8 is improved over the older 2.6.x versions.

    The compass rose is also an Inkscape creation; I actually used elements of the handwriting font to create the compass lines, so they look like they came from the same pen. I used the same export/paste as layer trick as the text, then scaled and rotated the layer to fit.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Still not sure what this needs to finish it - a title somewhere, I suppose, and I really have no idea about borders for the thing. Suggestions, inspiration or bright ideas welcome!

  4. #4
    Guild Journeyer kestrelgrey's Avatar
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    Sounds reasonable, and interesting. Sounds like there's a history to the city that maybe isn't entirely pleasant? borders are hard, especially for such a nice hand drawn map - don't want to lose the map itself in the border! The handwritten font lends a nice touch to the map, and keeps the focus on the building shapes. The stain is a little dark, and it looks 'heavy' enough to have made the ink run. I wonder if perhaps the "border" you have now is just too wide? Perhaps a thin border that mimics the alternating black and white scale markers would look good if it was in the same hand drawn style (maybe at a reduced opacity, too). Sorry I don't have an example of what I'm talking about! But overall, this is looking great.
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  5. #5
    Guild Apprentice Wirelizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestrelgrey View Post
    Sounds reasonable, and interesting. Sounds like there's a history to the city that maybe isn't entirely pleasant?
    I haven't really gotten that far into the history of the notional city this map is from - the place doesn't even have a name yet - but having a straight, wide ceremonial road rammed through an old neighbourhood is par for the course for any city, anywhere and anywhen, really.

    Ran with your thoughts for a border, starting with a hand-drawn fragment and a few corner ornaments that I photographed, cleaned up in GIMP, further edited in Inkscape, then re-imported as a layer into GIMP. Having the elements in Inkscape means I can re-use and re-size things easily for future maps of this type.

    Cut a few slivers off the edges, too, but the border is (deliberately) not too close a fit. Also toned down the stains and tried a different blend mode for the text, compass rose and border, which blends them in further with the building outlines and the parchment effect in the background.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've also got another, smaller map fragment that I sketched this evening and will probably run through the same process in the next few days.

    As backstory, I'm thinking that these are the working maps of the City Watch or city government, which explains both the block-by-block detail and the rather utilitarian finish - they're working maps of an urban area, not display maps on a wall somewhere.

    Edit to add, the handwriting font is Asphyxiate via Dafont. I discovered it a few years ago, and it's become my go-to font for "ordinary" hand lettering; neat enough to be read but still obviously handwritten. (Dafont, if you haven't already discovered it, is an absolute treasure trove of great fonts, one of the best organized and most functional free font sites out there. If you're a bit of a font junkie (like, er, me...) prepare to spend more time there than you'd planned...)
    Last edited by Wirelizard; 11-26-2012 at 06:01 AM. Reason: link to font used

  6. #6
    Guild Apprentice Wirelizard's Avatar
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    I've got another, smaller map fragment in progress. Ink on paper, photographed, into GIMP, the usual workflow so far.

    This one is centred around "the Stableyard", which is the working headquarters and stables for the City Watch. No text or ornaments yet, but the building outlines are basically cleaned up and done.

    The roughly triangular building with the hexagonal tower is the Stableyard; the open area in front of it (above it, on this map) is Watchman's Yard; the rest is as-yet unnamed but I have vague identities in mind for the E-shaped building to the left of the Stableyard and the one with two interior courts and two round towers below that one.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I really must come up with a name for this city...

  7. #7
    Guild Journeyer kestrelgrey's Avatar
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    This is turning out really well. I keep putting pen (or more often, pencil) to paper and trying this out, and I never get very far. The border does look really good, and the compass stain both blend really well now. Thanks for the link to the font, too - I will not even hurt my brain trying to remember how many fonts I have; DaFont is a favorite site, but I've been avoiding it for fear of downloading everything I can find ^_~

    The new map is looking awesome as well - the style matches perfectly, and it looks like there's a bit of a history developing. These maps as utilitarian maps for the watch is great - the style fits, it explains the nature of the maps themselves, and it allows for a lot of detail without worrying (too much) about appearances. Keep it up!
    Portfolio & Project Blog: 99 Colored Umbrellas
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by kestrelgrey View Post
    This is turning out really well. I keep putting pen (or more often, pencil) to paper and trying this out, and I never get very far. The border does look really good, and the compass stain both blend really well now. Thanks for the link to the font, too - I will not even hurt my brain trying to remember how many fonts I have; DaFont is a favorite site, but I've been avoiding it for fear of downloading everything I can find ^_~

    The new map is looking awesome as well - the style matches perfectly, and it looks like there's a bit of a history developing. These maps as utilitarian maps for the watch is great - the style fits, it explains the nature of the maps themselves, and it allows for a lot of detail without worrying (too much) about appearances. Keep it up!
    Yes it is such an awesome map!!!
    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."-Confucius
    Old map and Historic map

  9. #9

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    Please keep going.I am saving your snippets for a GURPS campaign that I am running and they are great. Please keep it up. You are more talented than I am and I love the maps.

    Bronco_6
    Ro;ep;aying since 1971

  10. #10
    Guild Apprentice Wirelizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronco_6 View Post
    Please keep going.I am saving your snippets for a GURPS campaign that I am running and they are great. Please keep it up. You are more talented than I am and I love the maps.
    I haven't abandoned these maps, although December has proven to be way busier than I thought, so I haven't had much time to do much mapping stuff. I do have a new full-page (Moleskine-sized page) map in this series that I haven't had a chance to get into GIMP yet, but maybe over the holidays!

    Thanks for the feedback, always nice to know people are using the maps.

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