Realistic maps

So I need a map for my novel. I drew one a long time ago, but it’s super lame, useful really only as a tool for orientation or general awareness of the part of the world the story takes place.


That was all I really needed to write the story, but it was sort of like a kindergarten picture, so now that I’m working on creating a finished product here, I felt like a needed a better map. So I came up with this one:


Now, I do think it’s “better” for some definitions of the word “better”, but it still has a pastel-colored cartoony look to it that I don’t like. So I started researching how to make maps. That meant looking at lots of ways to draw mountains and trees and led me to this little test map I did while watching “Sherlock” on TV last night:


Which is the right direction I thought. But then in my searches I came across a technique to create “realistic” maps on the computer using GIMP (which is my standard graphics editing program because it’s free). And that technique can be used to make maps that look like this:

Vranos Final

And as if that wasn’t intimidating enough, then I found this map the same guy did:

Final Forests

And I’m thinking “How far do I want to go with this?”

The airbrush hood

OK, so I have been working on my airbrush painting hood. I’ve added some internal lights:

Here it is with the lights off:


And here it is with the lights on:


The dragon on the platform is a large sized dragon, one of the “Bones” miniatures I used the paint hood for the airbrushing and the lights for the regular detail painting.

Here’s a closeup:

The other side:

The fan is my next modification to the box. I will be adding a fan to pull air through the hood so I can paint even with more toxic paint thinners than water. I’ll probably get that done tomorrow night, then I’ll add a filter too.

I’m starting to think that making the hood out of foam core poster board was a bad idea. It feels like it needs to be more substantial now that I’m adding lights and a fan to it.