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Thread: [Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    Tutorial [Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)

    Pen & Ink
    Basic Guidelines and Tips for hand drawn maps with pen, ink and paper.

    This is by no means a definitive article on Pen and Ink drawing. I wanted to pass on some basic knowledge of my years of rendering maps in pen and ink, as well as pass on a few tips that might help some of you avoid the mistakes that I’ve made in the past. There are some things in this particular field that aren’t easy to find and come through a process of trial and error. I would also like to point out that I’ve never had any formal training in art, architectural, drafting and design, or cartography. It has all been self-taught and I would never consider myself an expert by any definition of the word. In fact, every time I sit down to start a map, it’s a learning experience and I look at it as such. The best advice I could probably every give you is this: Patience, Practice and Practice.
    There are of course three essential tools in this trade: Pens, Inks, and Paper. There are other tools and supplies that are worth mentioning here. First and foremost are pencils. Every final map I draw has been outlined (lightly) in pencil; I prefer wooden Staedtler brand sketching and drafting pencils, I usually a light to medium grade (2B, B, HB, H 2H 3H). They are easily erased from most sheets with a gum eraser or a flexible, polymer eraser (soft white), once the ink has been laid down. Other supplies might include: compass, ruler, t-square, all manner of stencils for drafting and design, masking tape, pen knife or razor, soft brush, lint-free cloth, erasing shield, white out, scaling compass, drawing boards, thumb tacks, and Jolt cola (for those extended sessions).
    [Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)-03_pen_and_ink.jpg[Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)-06_pen_and_ink.jpg
    Pretty much everything I use for pen and ink artwork and cartography. Followed by some of the compass, eraser and pencils.

    PENS
    Felt-tip and fiber-tip pens I use the least, but the one of the handiest has been a brush pen. These are most commonly used for Asian character lettering, but I have found they can be used for more finesse where a quill pen cannot. Relatively cheap and fun to use I suggest at least one in every cartographer’s arsenal. Most other felt-tips do not mesh well with the india ink we’ll be using in our other pens.
    [Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)-05_pen_and_ink.jpg
    some felt pens there on the right.


    Dip pens or quill pens do come in handy, especially when you need to build lines for mountains, or cliffs, or need varying width in your strokes. I love working with them personally, and have been using them in some form or another since age 10. Speedball makes a good quality and quantity of nibs at affordable prices. There tends to be a wide variance in user preference on which is used when doing various projects. I find that the most frequently used in my maps are the crow quill 107, 108 and 102, hunt 104, 107, 103, 99 and 512. Rotring makes a cartridge ‘quill’ nib Art Pen in fine, medium and large sizes that come in handy, sadly the ink does have somewhat of an offset with india ink on certain sheets.
    The drawback with most dip pens is you limited in stroke direction (meaning you turn your wrist and paper more) and they do have a tendency to drip or splatter if not careful. Having to re-dip the pen has a tendency to interrupt you rhythm. It also takes quite a bit of time gaining adeptness at using dip pens if you’ve never really used them.
    Cleaning quills are quite easy. I use rubbing alcohol to get the ink off and then wash the nibs in warm soapy water. I suggest not doing this over an open drain. Nibs can get slippery when wet and soapy. Rinse and let air dry or if you need to immediately reuse it, wipe it off with a lint-free cloth. A paper towel can be used if your careful not to get it torn and stuck in the ink chamber (the split in the nib).
    [Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)-09_pen_and_ink.jpg
    cont...
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    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    Tutorial Part 2

    Last, but certainly not least, are technical pens. My opinion is that this is the best instrument to ink with. The one downside to technical pens is the cost, they are probably the most expensive of all pens, and with this expense comes a bit more care and cleaning. I have also found that even the slightest type of abuse can damage a pen. I’m here to save you some money by giving you some helpful information on these pens. My favorite brand is Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph, it is dependable, refillable, and the best pens I’ve ever owned or used.
    [Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)-07_pen_and_ink.jpg

    There are disposable technical pens that are similar to regular technical pens. They differ in the way the inner workings are sealed and have no refillable cartridges. I found the Staedtler Mars professional to be a decent choice. I like that you can sketch fairly fast with these pens and the nib sizes are quite close to the Koh-I-Noor.
    [Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)-08_pen_and_ink.jpg
    Sketch pens and disposable technical pens.

    The technical pen consists of a hollow metal nib, a refillable ink cartridge, and a plastic holder. The hollow nib contains a very delicate wire and weight which shifts back and forth bringing the ink supply forward as you move it across the page. NEVER, NEVER remove this wire from the nib. Doing so will have most likely rendered that nib completely useless.
    [Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)-description.jpg

    The sizes of nibs range from (largest to smallest) 7/2.00mm; 6/1.40mm; 4/1.20mm; 3½/1.00mm; 3/.80mm; 2½/.70mm; 2/.60mm; 1/.50mm; 0/.35mm; 00/.30mm; 3x0/.25mm; 4x0/.18mm; and 6x0/.13mm.

    A 1 is about as big as I use for any map. I usually work with 0 or 00 for most everything, and use the 4x0 and 6x0 for very detailed work and thatching. The 6x0 and 4x0 are even more delicate than the other pens and care should be taken when using them. No extra jarring or dropping of the pen, don’t tap them to try and restart an ink flow, or if you must a very, very light tap. When in doubt, just clean the pen and refill it.

    The best way to start the pen is to hold it, nib upright, gently thump it to let excess air escape and then turn the pen nib down to let the ink flow to the nib. Technical pens are gravity fed, so hold the pen more upright than at an angle. Use a steady, light pressure and move across the surface in smooth strokes. Too much pressure will most likely stop ink flow and will pick up ‘fuzzies’ from the (some) paper. DO NOT shake the pen, this will flood the air channel and create a vacuum that will prevent ink flow. Flooded pens must be cleaned. Always cap the pen when not in use, even if you stop inking for more than 15 or 20 seconds to take a drink of your Jolt. Some inks dry fast and can clog the nib.

    You should probably clean your pen at least once a month and before storing it for more than a month. When you aren’t actively using the pen, I always keep the pen strait up and down with the cap up. If you lay them down flat for any length of time, I’ve found they clog more frequently. If I’m storing the pen I do so unassembled from the pen holder, the body and nib still connected, usually in a small tin or in an empty pill bottle or film canister. I should also note that when you screw the pen together, barely hand tight is all that is necessary, that is to say, snug.

    Disassemble the pen and remove the nib from the body of the pen. Again DO NOT REMOVE the wire from the nib. Rinse the nib, pen body and cartridge under running water. I use a small strainer to hold the pieces so I do not accidently drop them in the sink. You can use brand pen cleaning solutions, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I use a diluted solution of 1 part ammonia and 10 parts water, or 1 and 5 if a pen is really clogged or dirty. I do recommend a pressure cleaning syringe so you can thread the pen nib to and flush it out. I then finish with another straight water flush and then air dry.

    While this was probably more than you ever needed to know about technical pens, I promise if you invest in them, this information is invaluable.
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    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    Tutorial Inks

    Inks

    I primarily ink my maps in black and white. I only use black India Ink and use either speedball brand for my dip pens and rapidograph brand for my technical pens. Past that, my knowledge on inks is limited. I almost always use something that is waterproof and when working with an open ink bottle, always keep it fixed to the table with some tape or other restraining device. Spilling ink all over what you are working on is no fun at all.
    I actually bought a small deal of Crayola Model Magic which I molded into little holders for my ink bottles. The texture was perfect because even on my drafting table at an angle it doesn’t slide. I however, always stick tape underneath to ensure that it will not slide or move. I also molded a stand to keep my dip nibs in as well as one for holding pens and pen-holders.
    My experience with colored inks is somewhat limited. Most every colored ink I’ve used for dip pens aren’t waterproof. I’m sure there are inks out there are. I know that there are colored inks for the rapidiograph pens that are waterproof. But as it depends on what kind of effect you want to end up with, such as ink washing.

    [Award Winner] Tutorial & Guide for Hand Drawn Maps (Pen & Ink w/ Photoshop)-04_pen_and_ink.jpg

    Paper

    Paper comes in so many shapes and sizes. An absorbent paper with a firm polished texture provides the best surface for pen and ink. Your pen should glide over the paper without snagging or stuttering.
    For finished works I like a Bristol board, because it’s smooth and allows you to draw in any direction without stubbing a rough place. It stays flat and doesn’t have a tendency to buckle unless vast amount of ink is applied.
    For practice work and rough drafts, I use any old piece of paper I have handy. A sketch book is a good thing to have around as well. For most of my large maps I use a 24” x 18” sketch pad, Penciling in a rough draft, then doing a final rough before moving on to a my Bristol (and more expensive) board. As long as you keep a black and white final copy, most copy and print businesses can turn it into a digital PDF file or other popular formats (JPG, PSD, etc.) for a nominal fee.
    When working with your final copy, it’s a good idea to keep either a set of light cotton gloves with the thumb, fore and middle fingers cut out, leaving the ring and pinky finger intact so that you do not leave oily or dirty stains from the natural oils your skin produces. It also helps prevent smudging and smearing if one is careful. You can use a lint free cloth wrapped around the edge of the hand to help if you don’t like cotton gloves. I like to use latex, powder free gloves; they fit skin tight so that it doesn’t feel like you’re out of contact with the work you are doing.

    I hope that you found this article at least mildly useful. The art of Pen & Ink is a wide and versatile one that not even a whole book could cover all of it. The advice I give is mainly directed towards cartography and mapping; even then it only covers the technical aspect. Covering the artistic aspect of shapes, shading and thatching and the finer details of overland, buildings and cities is far too great of a subject to broach here. But to those who wish to take up this gratifying and fun media, I can only say practice, practice, practice, and practice.

    I plan on continuing this by following up with techniques, tips and pointers on how to draw (specifically B&W) maps. This would be the tutorial part of the guide. So keep an eye open.
    Last edited by delgondahntelius; 10-01-2008 at 04:32 AM.
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    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    This made it in the Alliance Zine for the Summer/Fall issue much to my surprise... and maybe I should have waited because it's put together much better than what I did here... you can get the zine here: Summer / Fall Issue of the Ezine Released
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      mmmmmpig is offline
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    In would love for you to post some step by steps of your process. Do you plan everything out in pencil and then ink over it or do you do a loosey goosey pencil sketch and tighten it up with the inks? or are you a machine intent on overthrowing civilized society and do your work straight into the ink.

    I haven't touched traditional tools for mapping in a long long time. This is a nice primer on ink tools.
    Something witty and pithy

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravells View Post
    Lol! I thought I had a lot of pens!

    Great article, Del! 5 stars from me!
    Thanks for the stars and rep Rav, and yes, I do have quite a few pens and pencils. I find it frustrating if I don't have the type of medium I need for the effect I'm trying to achieve. So, like any good soldier, I keep a stockpile of ammunition around-- Just in case.

    Quote Originally Posted by mmmmmpig View Post
    In would love for you to post some step by steps of your process. Do you plan everything out in pencil and then ink over it or do you do a loosey goosey pencil sketch and tighten it up with the inks? or are you a machine intent on overthrowing civilized society and do your work straight into the ink.

    I haven't touched traditional tools for mapping in a long long time. This is a nice primer on ink tools.
    That was my plan, to just basically give up some tips and tricks I find that work, take you step by step through 'my' process. The what works for me approach, because let's face it, everyone is different in how they accomplish what they need. I've gotten quite a bit of questions in the way of how and what about my maps/artwork that I felt it was time to put something out there. If someone gains the least bit of knowledge or skill from what I've learned... so much the better. When it comes to art I really don't think there is one 'true' process like you might find in following the steps someone gives you to achieve something in PS or Gimp. Sorry.. got off on a tangent there.

    And no... its rare I just sit down and hit straight ink to paper (though the demon at the bottom of my Phenomedom Map was actually done this way) I just make WAAAAY to many mistakes that I flat out don't trust my skills enough to produce something of quality from just sitting donw and inking it right there.... that and I really don't consider myself an artist... I can't draw any life type art, people animals or anything of that nature... not even if I had a piece of tracing paper over a picture... but ... if you want a sword or a map or maybe a logo drawn... then I can do it... but only after I've sat down and sketched out what i want ... (sometimes too many drafts) and then after I'm sure I've achieved what I'm looking for do I pick up ink.... and THEN ... I usually have at least one draft in ink .... before I do a final copy ....

    Sad really... lol
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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    I had no idea there was such a wide variety of ink pens out there. Great job Delgo!

    That dadburn rep fairy is still being stingy else you would have gotten a good bonking for this.
    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.



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      Highlander is offline
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    I went through Amazon.com, pricing some stuff to get me started; figure it'll be about seventy or eighty dollars. Not really too bad, actually. And the drafting table I can make myself.

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    Can't beat a drafting table, for sure. Mine comes in handy quite a bit, however, they don't hold bottles of open ink to well when you tilt them .... just be forewarned that open bottles will spill directly upside down and spill the entire contents ...
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