Last week, I talked about Creating Villages. Now that you have thought of everything in a village, it’s time to draw a map of it!
To be clear, this is my favorite art style when it comes to drawing close-up maps. It’s heavily inspired by that of Niklas Wistedt. Be sure to check out his article on this topic, as well.
This is the map of Hillfar, the village I’ve created in my previous article. I drew this in hand and later made some adjustments in Photoshop.
Let’s take it step by step!
First I drew a quick outline of the buildings’ placements and shapes. I already had the description of the village, so I knew what it had to contain. The market in the center, blacksmithing workshop close-by, the tavern, town hall, etc.
Be sure to keep the buildings different shapes and sizes, the same goes for their placements. The village will grow organically over time.
When you’re done with the buildings, add some details. I like to scatter a few trees around, even small rocks from time to time. It’s also good to place crates and/or barrels with food and water around. One of my houses even has a tiny pile of logs stockpiles for the winter.
One of the most important things for Hillfar are the hills, that are, despite the name, not so far from the village. However, they are not so close to the village, that I could draw them in scale on the map. That’s why I drew them in the upper right corner and circled them. This suggests that they are an important part of the village, but are not right next to it.
When you’re finished with the draw it, scan it. Now we’re going to make a few adjustments to the drawing. I use Photoshop, but most of these tips should work in any other similar software, one way or another.
For reference, here is the initial scan I made, next to the final image.
As you can see, the initial scan is almost not visible. The page in my sketchbook got folded a little, you can see that starting from the top right corner. It also contains a few things that are missing from the final image – the fields in the bottom part of the drawing, for example.
The first thing I did was to rotate and crop the image to hide the holes that are in my sketchbook. When I did that, I thought about the fields I drew. I didn’t really like them. That’s when I used an incredibly powerful tool in Photoshop, the Content-Aware Fill.
I found an amazing tutorial explaining this tool, XXX, but here’s a quick summary. Select an area you want to delete, in my case, the fields, click Edit in the toolbar, Fill and select Content-Aware. Photoshops then looks at the whole document, and judges what should it fill the selected space with.
The next step was to change the intensity of the pencil on the image. The way it’s now, you can’t really see the buildings much. Go to Image in the toolbar, Adjustments, and Levels. You will see this graph:
This part is pretty much just experimentation. Fiddle with the arrows on the bottom part of the graph and observe as the colors in the image change. Work with this, until you reach a point you’re happy with.
And that’s pretty much it. This was only the third village map I drew, and the Photoshop stuff is all new to me, so there could be many improvements, but I like what I’ve done. Now I can map more and more villages. When I’m confident with them, I’ll move on to bigger cities!
I’ll try to update this article from time to time, as to include new tips I find along my village-drawing learning journey.
Feel free to post any feedback to the comment section!