Tutorials & Help

I’ve drawn up a few “how to” infographics during 2013, and a couple of them went viral out on the wild world of the interwebz. The first one also appears in a modified form in the awesome Randomocity ‘zine.

If you are interested in an article on the philosophy, design and specific tools I use in drawing and posting a map, check out this article on the drawing of maps.

I also have a number of videos of my processes and work (mostly in fast-motion time lapse format) on my YouTube channel.

Dysonize Your Dungeon

Dysonize Your Dungeon

Advanced Dyson Dungeons Tutorial

Advanced Dyson Dungeons Tutorial

Draw Dungeons Like Dyson

Draw Dungeons Like Dyson

Overhead Map Key

Overhead Map Key

Finally I’ve posted some videos to that crazy Youtube place that show me in the process of drawing and cross-hatching some maps. You can check them out here:

34 thoughts on “Tutorials & Help”

  1. Quick question:

    How do you upload your hand-drawn maps? The quality is consistently phenomenal, and even the finest details are reproduced in whole.

    How do you do it? I’ve tried a dedicated scanner, mobile scanning apps, and digital enhancement, but nothing quite captures my maps accurately.

    • The most important part is inking. I ink most of my maps (that is, most of them are drawn in black gel-pen or micron marker).

      Then after scanning at 600 dpi, I enhance brightness and contrast (+20-40 Brightness, +40-60 Contrast). The scanner isn’t very important. I’m doing my scanning using the scanner bed on a $30 inkjet printer.

      Lately (based on a tip I got from Stonewerks) I’ve then used the Photoshop Diffuse Filter set on Anisotropic.

      Then I downsample the image to 300 dpi, getting rid of some of the diffuse filter weirdness. Sometimes I’ll do another contrast enhancement at this point too.

      • Wow, that makes a lot of sense. I am using low quality ink, so in order to compensate for the poor quality scan it produces, I have to set the brightness and contrast to absurd values which, in turn, reduce some of the finer details.
        It’s good to know that scanners don’t make too much of a difference.

        Thanks for the great tips!

  2. Ben Wenham said:

    How big do you draw them?

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  4. Knightly said:

    Hey Dyson,
    Was wondering if you have any tips. On drawing top down forest encounters? I’d like to see your expertise on the matter.

  5. I just can’t get the hash marks to look good. Wish there was a Photoshop brush for them 🙂

    • ^ I’m wondering if Dyson has migrated to digital map mapping. I own a wacom baboo and am having issues trying to get the same results digitally as he manages to get via pen.

      I’ve seen someone who did a full screen of hatching and then just used that as a background for the map layer, but I think that’s kinda cheating. Besides, then you end up with complete hatching instead of the tunnel hatching that Dyson gets (which accentuates the actual map, helping to minimize clutter).

  6. William J Scott said:

    Have you done any forest maps? I truly suck at drawing trees and other forest bits for my encounters. My trees end up looking like giant flowers; kind of breaks the suspension of disbelief bit.

    • Dave Stewart said:

      Google Questing Beast. He hand draws his overland maps and the techniques he uses adapts well to forests. He has a bunch of youtube videos.

  7. Paul Hathaway said:

    Your maps are pretty incredible. I was hoping to find a tutorial on how to print your geomorphs to ensure that the grids are 1-inch by 1-inch. Got any tips on that?

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