First it’s making an outline on paper with pencil and then going over with a fine ink pen. I don’t really have the fancy pens or different thickness so just go over some points to make them thicker and kind of lightly feather other stuff like the shore lines. This Part can take a while depending on how big, detailed or strange the area is. For me I find starting with a central theme and point really helps. For the Midnight Tribe it was the Red Stone OUtcrop where the perform certain ceremonies and such. If you muck up some stuff here it’s not a big deal as we can change some points later on – like that yucky river stone ending.
Now it’s time to scan (300dpi) as JPG and chuck that into a picture editing program. I’m poor so that’s gimp for me. Now, lets take out that silly white background because we just want the black lines but to avoid that yucky fraying around the lines where the colour scale shifts let’s bump colour select pretty high. For me that’s around 40-50%. Then it’s removing the white while it’s selected and for me, I usually press delete, then go colour > colour to alpha.
But oh shit, now the lines look all washed out and like crap. Select it all, and then just block fill with black. A quick way for me is cut, paste, block fill. Now these lines do look a lot thicker than you might see elsewhere but I kinda like this more rustic, drawn approach. And it’s much quicker to achieve. Now is the fiddly part of looking at all the lines and making sure they actually connect because otherwise everything falls apart later. A quick way to fins the little edge holes that pop up is to bucket fill the base land area and see where it might flow. I found several trees and huts that it bled into so now I plug those holes.
Alright now that is done let’s just duplicate that line layer a couple times to save us the trouble of stuff ups and then, time to get some colour down. Mostly just bucket fill every individual part with its respective colour, keep it simple though. Don’t worry about the parts that are too thin to paint too much, just watch out for bucket fill changing the line colour if you miss time a click. You can turn off the other line layers here to make sure. For the colours too I’d say just keep it a couple shades lighter than what you are thinking because through the process it darkens a little, and you have quick options to change the tone of colours.
Now as you might notice in the smaller cracks and stuff there is some transparent background still showing and it looks a little yucky. Make a new layer underneath the colour one and fill it in with a darker colour that matches the scene.. Here i chose a much darker stoney red. Done. Now duplicate that colour layer, set to the burn mode on the new layer and lower the opacity till your happy. Just adds a little depth to it.
Now for some shading. Select the ground colour with the colour select tool in a narrow limit, then start painting around the buildings and other stuff like mountains and shit with a dark grey (I tend to change my brushes a little for some difference) in a new transparent layer. I tend to go over this in a smaller arc with a straight black afterwards as well. With this method the shadow kind of shows up underneath and not on top of the buildings, rocks and whatever. But.. that really dark blocky stuff looks a little out of place so let’s maybe lower that opacity to around 40%.. or whatever you like really and just keep playing with it as you go to get the right look. Next I blocked the canyon colour where I wanted too.
A quick trick here that uses those sweet little duplicate line layers too, is to make more shadow without having to meticulously follow various lines where everything is the same colour. So that Outcrop by the rivers end has various Higher layers – you can now use those extra line layers as a kind of elevation aspect. Put a shadow layer in between each layer and BAM.. sweet and easy shadows without the time consuming fine detail work.
Now… Let’s grab a nice paper texture off google – throw that on top, desaturate and mess around with the contrast layers. Lower the opacity to like 20%
I also make two new layers around now as well, one for black, one for white and ust splash some larger brush strokes around it and lower the opacity on those as well.. between 10 and 20% I find.
And looking at those two pictures you might be thinking – THAT looks fucking terrible but BEHOLD the beautiful textures once lowered. Like what a change and look at that sweet stone ground.
And wow, doesn’t that look sweet. It’s around this stage as well I’ll create a few other new layers and chuck in some light coloured highlights for trees and water and stuff
And there you go.. Quick and easy maps.
For a step extra you can add different textures to your various colours as well. Google a texture, like … let’s say grass and we’ll chuck that over the huts. Then I’ll use the colour select tool on the huts, cut that selection out of the grass and throw that in a new layer and lower its opacity as well. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet