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  1. #1

    Question advice on drawing cliffs

    Hi everyone, I'm planning (for a rpg campaign) to do a map of this wonderful city (not by me):
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I plan on making a city built on successive platforms behind the drawing, like a giant stairway. The problem I have is the representation of the cliffs, their comparative depth, especially. Be it hand-drawn or with photoshop, what advice could you give me to differenciate a 150-ft cliff and a 1500-ft cliff, if the occupy the same width ?

    If you have pictures for examples, I'll take them too !

    Thanks !
    Last edited by mystic badger; 02-09-2013 at 04:28 PM.

  2. #2


    I haven't been inactive while waiting for your advice. I've found a few tricks, like on redwall by Torstan or this one, but having only a limited knowledge of Photoshop, I don't know how to implement them in my maps. So I'm still waiting for your help !

  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected torstan's Avatar
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    Jul 2007


    This is something that comes up a fair bit. I created a quick tutorial on the line art here: How to draw cliffs – 3 different styles | Fantastic Maps

    The key to generating depth, is to darken and desaturate (or blue-shift) the lower area, and possibly even slightly blur it to give the impression of great height. Lighten the higher areas and given them the greatest dynamic range (lights to darks). That will bring them into the foreground.

  4. #4


    I had seen it, but it couldn't be applied in my case, where the cliffs are very steep and bordered by buildings or walls. But your color approach really talks to me (no wonder, while searching for maps, you were nearly the only one to work with cliffs in cities !). Thanks ! Now, time to draw !

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