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Create stunning RPG and board game maps using any graphics application with easy to understand, step-by-step tutorials and sample maps.
Create stunning RPG and board game maps using any graphics application with easy to understand, step-by-step tutorials and sample maps.
456 backers pledged $23,289 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Learn to create stunning, photo-realistic maps using any standard graphics application quickly and easily with fully illustrated step-by-step tutorial instructions with techniques being taught by renowned, professional fantasy cartographer, Michael K. Tumey.

Michael has done map commissions for Iron Crown Enterprises, Mythic Games, Conflict RPG, Rite Publishing (all maps of the Kaidan setting of Japanese horror), ProFantasy software Modern Map Symbol Set (189 map objects), Paizo Publishing, City of Kasai map for the Jade Regent Adventure Path and many more. 

product image
product image

25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide allow users of Photoshop, GIMP, Inkscape, Xara Photo & Graphic Designer, and many similar graphics software, both image editors and vector drawing applications, to create your gaming maps in no time at all. This project intends to create a printed tutorials guidebook in both soft cover, full color interior of an estimated 248 pages, and as a PDF downloadable file.

sample tutorial is will appear
sample tutorial is will appear

Outline of the Intended Guidebook

Page 1: Credits Page

Page 2: About the Author

Page 4: Introduction

Page 10: Explanation of Terms

Page 24: Tutorials Section

Page 25: General Map Tutorials

  • Tutorial #1: Using Shadows to Depict Elevation
  • Tutorial #2: Creating Depth in Water
  • Tutorial #3: Creating Cliffs and Canyons
  • Tutorial #4: Creating Buttes and Mesas
  • Tutorial #5: Creating a Path through the Forest

Page 61: Encounter Scale Maps

  • Tutorial #6: Avoid Repeating Image Patterns
  • Tutorial #7: Creating Cobblestones
  • Tutorial #8: Creating a Simple Dungeon or Structure
  • Tutorial #9: Dirtying Up a Cavern Floor
  • Tutorial #10: Creating Simple Map Objects
  • Tutorial #11: Creating a Winterscape Map
  • Tutorial #12: Creating a Bridge Crossing
  • Tutorial #13: Creating Overgrown Ruins
  • Tutorial #14: Creating a Tavern
  • Tutorial #15: Creating a Wizard's Laboratory
  • Tutorial #16: Creating a Detailed Path with Steps
  • Tutorial #17: Creating a Campsite
  • Tutorial #18: Creating a Map of Caves
  • Tutorial #19: Creating a Castle or Fortress
  • Tutorial #20: Creating Wilderness Terrain

Page 195: Large Scale Maps

  • Tutorial #21: Creating Caterpillar Style Mountains
  • Tutorial #22: Creating a Regional Map
  • Tutorial #23: Creating a City/Town Map
  • Tutorial #24: Creating a Cavern System
  • Tutorial #25: Creating Desert Region

Page 236: Conclusion

Page 240: Appendix

While the actual tutorials come as 9 to 15 illustrated steps with easy to understand, simple instructions and comprise the largest portion of the guidebook, the Explanation of Terms chapter which precedes the tutorials offers specific instructions and techniques in Photoshop, GIMP, Inkscape, and Xara Photo & Graphic Designer to best replicate the simple instructions provided with all included map tutorials. Additional techniques for specific software will be made available in the appendix.

sample map
sample map
Azi Bakram a small town hidden in a mountainous canyon
Azi Bakram a small town hidden in a mountainous canyon
Final step of the Regional Map Tutorial
Final step of the Regional Map Tutorial

Not everyone can draw maps well, but using the techniques offered in this guide book, your maps can look like it was created by a professional quickly and easily using your favorite graphics software.

Status of Work Done So Far...

Currently about half the tutorials have been created in rough draft form, however additional instructional text will be created and a layout of 3 steps per page will transform the existing single page tutorial rough drafts to finalized 3 to 5 page tutorials. The non-tutorials chapters have yet to be written. Half the sample maps that will be included have also already been created. So the project is well on it's way to completion.

Who Can Get the Most out of this Tutorials Guide?

  • Gamemasters needing to create custom maps for their own games either as printed maps or ready for use in their favorite virtual tabletop application: Roll20, MapTool, Fantasy Grounds, etc.
  • Game Publishers wanting to create their own maps, or at least improve the workflow from map concept to freelance cartographer.
  • Anyone wanting to learn a better way to use their favorite graphics application in a fun and interesting way!

What Qualifies Michael K. Tumey to Create this Book?

Michael is a life long artist, illustrator, graphic designer, and cartographer with is own graphics studio, having played RPGs since 1977. He has earned 5 awards for his cartographic work and performed freelance RPG cartography for dozens of publishers since 2007. Most recently Paizo Publishing commissioned Michael to create the original hand-drawn map of the City of Kasai for the Jade Regent Adventure Path. Michael is also the concept creator, game developer and cartographer for the Kaidan setting of Japanese horror (PFRPG) as an imprint under Rite Publishing.

Stretch Goals

Once funding for any of the additional tutorial guides beyond the initial goal (25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide) gets achieved, additional Reward levels will be included for access to obtain these books to contributors as well.

The above map was created using the following tutorials: #1 - creating shadows for elevation, #2 - creating depth in water, #3 - creating cliffs and canyons, #5 - creating a path through forest, #7 - creating cobblestones, #20 - creating wilderness maps, #22 - creating a regional map.

Stretch Goal #1: At $7500 you will unlock the 25 Advanced Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide book picking up where the other left off with more complex techniques to achieve amazing results in your maps.

Creating Undersea Maps - an Advanced Tutorial
Creating Undersea Maps - an Advanced Tutorial

Stretch Goal #2: At $10,500 you will unlock the Quick & Dirty Hand-Drawn Map Tutorials Guide book using Michael's techniques for digital-to-hand-drawn-to-digital workflow to create stunning hand-drawn game maps.

Creating a Hand-Drawn Dungeon Map
Creating a Hand-Drawn Dungeon Map

Stretch Goal #3: At $14,000 you will unlock Using 3D Elements in Maps Tutorials Guide book to create both top down and isometric view maps, and map objects.

Isometric view and 3D structures as reference for hand-drawn map
Isometric view and 3D structures as reference for hand-drawn map

Stretch Goal #4: At $16,500 you will unlock From Maps and Legends: a Guidebook to Fantasy Cartography by Josephe Vandel, an up-in-coming cartographer with his own unique hand-drawn style as a tutorials guide.

Map by Josephe Vandel
Map by Josephe Vandel

Risks and challenges

Except for book editing, all the work required to create this tutorials guide including cover design, page layout, illustrations, cartography and all authored work will be done by Michael Tumey of Gamer Printshop. Because the work is being done within a professional graphic design studio with redundant files shared on several computers, the likelihood of a loss of written and cartographic content due to equipment breakdowns is very small. Files will also be kept off premises (at my home) to limit risk due to fire at any one location.

Regarding printing and delivery of books produced by this project, Michael has done page-layout for published work with the intended printing house over the last 2 years and fully understands their specification requirements, workflow process, and turn-around time to insure delivery by the release date. I have setup print accounts at 2 different printing houses so any undue delay from one, I can move the printing to the other - to further minimize delay.

The one year release date from the end of the Kickstarter period (August 2014) allows enough time to create all products intended for this project with time to spare to allow for any unforeseen issues that might occur.

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FAQ

  • You have full commercial rights to use the map objects in maps that you intend to publish. You cannot resell the map objects, nor distribute them, but you have full rights to use them in your publications.

    Last updated:
  • While I am the primary author and publisher, I've been a member of the Cartographers' Guild since 2007, participated in dozens of map challenges (contests) and won 4 of them. RobA, the assistant adminstrator of the Cartographers' Guild is writing the GIMP portions of the Explanation of Terms chapter of both the firs two guide books. Waldronate and Anna Meyer, both 3D cartographers and members of the guild will write a chapter each, if the 3D map tutorials guide gets funded. Finally Josephe Vandel, author and cartographer of our final stretch goal, though a newer member is also a regular at the CG.

    You're getting 5 senior members of the Cartographers' Guild as authors in these guides.

    Beside the techniques of these guides apply to many applications, no other map tutorials product approaches learning cartography this way, than these guides.

    Last updated:

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Gain PDF downloads for all guide book products released in this project.

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    Gain a full set of all map objects used in the tutorials of the guidebook, plus PDF downloads for all guide book products released in this project. (Map objects include: tables, benches, chests, fire pit, trees and plantlife. This does not include image textures.)

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    Gain 25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide as a softcover, full color printed book shipped to you, and all rewards provided to $25 contributors.

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    Digital only package: gain a set of 250 map objects covering indoor, outdoor, subterranean and exotic terrains, and all rewards provided to $25 contributors. (Map Objects will include a variety of plantlife, campsite objects, dungeon objects, etc.)

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    Gain a set of 250 photo-realistic map objects covering indoor, outdoor, subterranean and exotic terrains, and all rewards provided to $45 contributors. (Map Objects will include a variety of trees and plantlife, campsite objects, dungeon objects, pit traps, bodies, skeletons, etc.)

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    Old West Hand-Drawn Map Object set (250 objects) and the Digital Only Package available to $50 backers.

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    Soft cover, print books of both the 25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide and the 25 Advanced Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide shipped to you, and PDF files of all funded guides.

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    Gain 25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide as a soft cover, full color printed book signed by the author and shipped to you, in addition to all rewards provided to $70 contibutors.

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    All 3 Map Object Sets, and all rewards to $85 contributors (soft cover print books of the first two guides).

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    Gain soft cover print books of the 25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide, 25 Advanced Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide, and the Hand-Drawn Map Tutorial Guide books shipped to you.

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    Gain soft cover print books of: 25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide, 25 Advanced Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide, Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide, and Using 3D Elements in Mapping Guide.

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    Gain a 18 x 24 inch printed full color map of any one of the sample maps included in the 25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide shipped rolled in a tube, in addition to rewards provided to a $150 contributor.

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    Gain all benefits of $180 backer level, plus all Map Object Sets.

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    Gain soft cover print books of: 25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide, 25 Advanced Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide, Quick & Dirty Hand-Drawn Mapt Tutorials Guide, Using 3D Elements in Mapping Guide, and Maps and Legends: a Guide to Fantasy Cartography

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    Gain Personal Tutoring for up to 3 different maps as Email exchanges with the author, in addition to all rewards provided to a $150 contributor.

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Funding period

- (30 days)