Tag Archives: graven

Wo0t Maps!

Okay, that sounds really hyper-active far-side-of-the-moon can’t-find-my-brain (yeah, that’s a ‘zero’ in the title), but let me explain:

After avoiding drawing and even art in general for almost a year or so, I’ve been getting back into it. Over the past few months, I’ve picked up a couple commissions for illustrating maps of fictional worlds, and even created the front cover of an RPG manual (just a home-brew RPG by a group of friends down in Argentina, but it’s not a map! And they just signed off on the front cover and are hoping I can do the front pages of the Bestiary and Herbs sections of the manual (^o^)v ). Okay, so doesn’t sound like much of an achievement to warrant leek-speak (or leet-speak, for that matter), but effectively finishing one of the first major maps I took the commission for and finishing that RPG manual cover and finishing another map (okay, I feel done, but the commissioner has to sign off on it) AND getting not one, but two paid commissions from some truly excellent people … Now all of that is definitely enough to encourage a little slip in spelling and grammar.

Now, I’ve been asked to not share the RPG manual cover by the commissioner, but I can share the 2 maps I’ve just finished (okay, okay, as far as I know they’re finished):

08Drawn for Matt Hoffman (Technospiritualist at the Cartographers’ Guild forums). He’s working on a novel, the first draft of which he’s almost done with (!), and this map is of the ‘world’ of the story.

map_003This one was done for another novelist, Steve Pote (Blahman919 at the Cartographer’s Guild forums). He provided a rough hand-drawn map, which I essentially ‘traced over’ in Photoshop to ensure that everything was placed properly. The lighter lines … Hah. Are roads, which I need to label. Now I see that. Well, other than that, the map is done, as far as I know.

And in the interest of branching, here’s a small sketch I did earlier today. It’s actually part of a larger, image, but …


To see the whole image you’ll have to check out my new website, 99 Colored Umbrellas ! (I know, original, how original!) It’s still under construction, but you’ll find that image there, so check it out ^-^!

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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Art, Cartography, Color Study, Digital, Idea, Map, Update


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Alright, here’s an update of my map of Graven. I’m trying something a little new here (or rather, I’m retrying something I did for an earlier version of the city). I haven’t erased out all the streets or plazas for this area yet, as you can see around the river area in the lower right and then also over on the left side. Right now I’m focusing on the streets, but I think there’s going to be a park or two in there somewhere, and I want to put in courtyards and such. I also have to work on the ‘coasts’ – not all the buildings sit right up against the water’s edge, of course. Some will project out over the water, others will be set back. And of course bridges are missing, and I need to figure out how to draw in the smaller, semi-private docks on the water next to individual buildings/blocks. That is for later, however, as I have a lot of homework and other studying to do. Once I have a portion of this map done, I want to take it into Google SketchUp and see what I can do to create a 3D map. I also want to print this whole thing out as a line drawing so I can trace over it and create an isometric hand drawn map. Which sounds impossibly overly ambitious of me, but I want to give it a try.

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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Graven Map

New  Map

New map of Graven, section

Well, I’m redoing the whole map. Again. I’m not even going to bother trying to count how many iterations I’ve gone through. This time, though, I’m moving out of Photoshop and into Illustrator, and working with building lots instead of individual buildings (1st large map), or streets (2nd large map). I’ve also increased the size of the map (sort of). I wanted the city to be about the size of Tokyo; I discovered my map was a fraction of that size, so I had to scale it up. To work on it in Illustrator (or in PS without the software crashing or taking 5 minutes to draw a single line), I have to work on it at 1/4 the final size – at 1px = 1 m (or 1000 px = 1 km), that means my final size will be 47,000 pixels across (2209km²). Or approximately 13′ x 13′. Okay, that’s a lot bigger than I thought it’d be.

I’m building the map in Illustrator for a few reasons, however, all of which depend on the infinite scalability of a vector image. The biggest reason is that I want to print this map as big as I can possibly get it (which isn’t going to be much bigger than 3′ x 3.5-4′ or so, probably; and sadly). I’m also planning on creating a sort of “atlas book”, similar to the excellent and inspiring “Tokyo: Bilingual Atlas” (there’s also one for all of Japan; the link is to the revised edition on Amazon, although I’m currently borrowing the older edition from the library).

Now that I’ve figured Illustrator out enough to work quickly – a lot quicker than in Photoshop! – I just need to double check that I’ve scaled things down properly to 1/4 scale. I have a sneaking suspicion I didn’t … But we’ll see, and this will go a lot faster now. Hopefully I’ll have a preliminary map done by the end of the week, if not sooner. Then I can get started on labels and marking key locations, among other things. Who know, maybe I’ll even have my constructed language pretty well completed (which I’m in the process of revising, as per the previous post). That would allow me to label in my own language, or at least use characters as map symbols.


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