For more than a decade now, I’ve always been looking for creative outlets, especially those that relate to tabletop rpgs. There’s nothing like having a hobby within a hobby.
Those endeavors include painting pewter and resin miniatures for use at the table; constructing miniature terrain using plaster and HirstArts plaster molds, making handouts — such as “parchment” letters for players; and using color pencil to create colorful handouts, often portraits of key nonplayer characters.
As I get older and my arthritis gets more pronounced, however, painting minis and gripping colored pencils has become more difficult. But, I’ve learned that the stroke of applying paint on paper is not as taxing.
So, I decided to learn how to make maps.
The tools of this trade I had at hand: Graph paper. Card stock. Pencil. Light table. Ink pens. Straight edge. Watercolor paint. Brushes.
Like all skills, this one is still being developed.
As it happened, this dovetailed nicely with the need to fill my DM’s Guild products with maps. I’ve tried various approaches, but the most gratifying has been making my own.
I know I’m in the early stages in making maps. I’m in the process of putting up the last few maps of a mega-dungeon, Blackthorn Keep, for the DM’s Guild. Some have turned out better than others. And the art of making an attractive compass rose yet eludes me.
But so far, I’ve exceeded my expectations. I’m learning about the color palette, blending paints and the process that begins with brainstorming and ends with a legible map that can be used in a gaming session.