How to Draw Old School Dungeon Maps | Ted Uram | Skillshare

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How to Draw Old School Dungeon Maps

teacher avatar Ted Uram, Writing & Fantasy Cartography

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      INTRO: How to Draw Old School Dungeon Maps


    • 2.

      VIDEO 2 | Pen Selection


    • 3.

      VIDEO 3 | Old School Dungeon Maps Symbols & Scale


    • 4.

      VIDEO 4 | Outlining Old School Dungeon Maps


    • 5.

      VIDEO 5 | Dressing Up Floors In Old School Dungeon Maps


    • 6.

      VIDEO 6 | Drawing Old School Dungeon Maps


    • 7.

      VIDEO 7 | Class Project


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About This Class

In the early days of tabletop role playing (TTRPG), the only way to develop new dungeon maps was to draw your own. What was born from necessity has now become recognized as a kind of throwback art. The appeal and revere of a hand-drawn, rustic looking old school dungeon map has never waned. In fact, it is experiencing something of a revival. Whether you are interested in creating rustic, old school dungeon maps for the TTRPG publishing community (a thriving billion-dollar industry), or simply for your own personal fantasy roleplaying campaigns, this class is for you. 

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Ted Uram

Writing & Fantasy Cartography


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Level: Beginner

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1. INTRO: How to Draw Old School Dungeon Maps: and 2. VIDEO 2 | Pen Selection: You know, there are a lot of different pens out there for drawing dungeons, and it can get a little confusing and overwhelming the truthfully. There's really only three things that you have to know. These three lines fine, medium and heavy. Just find pens that work for you. You need one of each, and that's all you'll need to get started. These three pens have find a medium and heavy can take care of everything. 3. VIDEO 3 | Old School Dungeon Maps Symbols & Scale: old school dungeon Maps are generally drawn on gold standard graph paper. You need to know a couple of different symbols. These are all the symbols that they came up with in the seventies that are still used today . One square can either equal five feet by five feet or one square can equal 10 feet by 10 feet. But that's entirely up to you. For the purpose of this demonstration, one square is going to equal five feet by five feet. Let's start by drawing a double door, and this is just a box with a line through it. You can see that my double doors set into a hallway that is 10 feet wide. Next, we're gonna draw a simple door, and this is what we call a standard door. It's about 3/4 of one square wide. The next symbol is a barred door. Now this isn't a locked door. This is actually a door that's barred on one side or the other. Locked doors can appear just like standard doors, and you won't know they're locked into you. Try them. The next symbol is a false door. A false door appears just like an ordinary door It's great for placing in front of traps so your barbarian can go and try and burst down a door that looks like it might be holding treasure on the other side, only to plummet into a trap. The next symbol we have is pretty simple. It's for a gate or port COLAs, and what this is is just what it sounds like. It's just a piece of iron that stretches across a dungeon corridor fashioned into the shape of the gate. The next symbol is the secret door. Now these usually appear in the game masters map, and not on any maps given to the players for obvious reasons. Next, we're gonna draw a trap. Now there are two different ways to draw a trap. This is actually one of the ways that I initially started to draw them. I would draw them in a square so I could show off the floor tiles, and then I would draw the X through to show that this was a trap. In the old school dungeons, they destroyed acts. Next we have a hatch and a hatch could either be in a floor or a ceiling. So now we have the sea, indicating a hatch in the ceiling. And then we have hatch with an F, indicating a hatch in the floor. Now again, I'm drawing in. One square equals five feet by five feet. Now that doesn't mean I won't have dungeon quarters that 10 feet wide. I'll just show that using two squares Next, let's get into hey can actually draw adore going into a room. They're two different ways to do this. The old old school way is to actually just draw the square right over the point where the door would pierce the wall, not worrying about any of the other lines, just drawing right over them. I kind of like the new myth where you draw the door. First on the line were the edge of the wall for that room would appear, and then you draw the room around the door. And then, of course, when you're filling your tiles, it don't pierce the door. This would be a 10 by 10 room. So here's all your symbols that made a nice little chart. The one simple I forgot to talk about with stairs that pretty simple. Just go for the small side. Being down, you can position them anywhere 4. VIDEO 4 | Outlining Old School Dungeon Maps: in this video, I'm gonna talk about outlining and outlining Is all the decoration so to speak, that goes around the outside edge of your engine. So let's take a nice fresh piece of paper and you can see that a general uses pizza scratch paper underneath just because some of the pens have a tendency to bleed through a little bit will place this back end, smooth it out will start all over again. To begin with. I'm going to start by drawing six lines now. Normally, I would use a light pen for this, but for demonstration purposes, I'm actually using a medium pen, so it shows up a little bit better. Now, these six lines are gonna be a practices for all the six steps we begin by just drawing a jagged line almost looks like a ridge of mountains that goes right next to the line on the outside. The next step is you take that jagged line and then you fill it in with scribbles, making sure you don't pass over the line to the left. The third step, we're gonna put our jagged line are scribbles, and then we're going to switch to a medium pen. This is where it gets fun. This is where we do this stippling. Now the stippling, we're only gonna follow to the right edge, one line over from where we're creating this. This look And the reason for that is we want somewhat of uniform. Look to it. We don't want to go crazy with having the pattern go all over the place. And then we just complete that look, going back up the line a little bit closer to that edge this time, and then we feel it all in. And the next step we're gonna actually switch toa of light pen and this one, we're gonna start stippling in on the right side again. Basically, we're looking at all the remaining white space, and we don't have to completely black everything out. But I want you to concentrate just looking at the white space and kind of almost like you're a tattoo artist. You're going through there and you're just filling in the blanks. The nice thing about using the light pen at this stage is it doesn't look all bloody. And you have that background of the dark pen, the medium pen that drew in the kind of big boulders that you first see. Then you finish that off with a nice light touch. Next, we're gonna use a scratch in type of method. Now, this is where we actually draw down kind of scratch and a dark line using a heavy pen. We're gonna touch that left edge, but not cross it. Because remember, the other side of that line is the actual dungeon. Everything were drawing is on the outside of the dungeon, and you can see also that my pen is kind of stuttering over into the other part of the pattern. That's OK. Don't want black all that out. But we don't have to worry about being too straight as long as we don't cross that line. The last step is pretty cool. And it's a nice little added touch. All you have to do is basically make exes. You gonna go down that line where we thickened it in before and now you're just gonna make little X marks, which you're gonna break up any remaining whiteness in the pattern and kind of create an optical illusion for blending end When the eye looks now, it doesn't really see these lines. It just sees a nice blended pattern. And there you have it all six steps of the foster method. 5. VIDEO 5 | Dressing Up Floors In Old School Dungeon Maps: it's a good idea to make your floor tiles stand out. If you print the map larger, you can use this map as an actual playing met for miniature pieces. So what I do is I start withdrawing simple dots. Each of these dots goes into the intersections of the line in the floor that I want to cover in tiles. They should be really light dots. When you draw the lines that connect the dots, it almost looks like a grout line just gives a nice added touch they can see in this particular room. I have a fixture in here that I think it might be a fountain. It doesn't really matter, but I know that it's around Fixture and it's gonna actually show up in the floor. So what I do is I draw that fixture in before I start to do my floor tiles, and then I basically tile around it as if it were an actual thing that's on the floor. So to speed this up a little bit just so I can show you filling in the floor here and I'm going as you see one line at a time, and the reason I'm doing that is you can use a straight edge, and you can make this nice and needed. And if that's your thing, feel free to do it, really. But I believe that most of the appeal from an old school dungeon map comes from the kind of rough look that it has. And truthfully, I have a physical condition that makes my hands tremor and the slight tremor. My hand actually works to my advantage. It's really hard for me to draw a straight line, so I kind of naturally draw lines that are a little bit wavy or a little bit off. But the nice thing is, is that when it's all finished and you'll see it just makes it look more authentic. The next step is really cool. I call it puddling, and this is where I kind of picture each tile in the dungeon as maybe you know, a place where water is collecting or mud or sludge. Or maybe it's just the raised edges of an actual floor that someone put into the dungeon. And I apologize for this particular clip right here. It's a little fuzzy, but I wanted to get really, really close. You can tell how small the tip of that pen is. This is my very fine pen. I'm barely barely touching down. I'm just lightly almost floating over the paper and allowing the pen to touch. And you don't want to do a straight lines. You don't want to completely fill it in. You want to almost do, like dots almost like a stutter Step as you're going across the tile and you get this really cool. Look, it almost looks like, uh, I call it sometimes a toaster pastry. Look, it looks like you know there's frosting or something on the floors. But once you fill in the entire floor like this, you can see just how cool it starts. Look, it just gives an extra added depth to the dungeon, and it makes it look like it's something rough. Okay, I'm gonna go ahead and give you a kind of treat here and just show you me and work actually feeling this and and doing all the steps that we talked about before doing the outlining doing in all the shading. The neat thing about this is you don't have to work in one particular spot either. You can kind of skip around. A lot of times I'll start the outlining. Then I'll go back to working on some floor tiles or I'll draw in some doors. Or maybe I'll do the entire outline because I want to get that finished. Then I won't worry too much about the interior spaces yet. It's really up to you. The nice thing to remember is that this should be fun. This should be therapeutic. You should feel relaxed when you're doing this and everything I'm showing you here. Use it as kind of a guideline and come up with something yourself. You don't have to do this exactly. Who knows? Maybe you'll create the next really cool pattern that people start using out there. I encourage you to experiment and to look at different things and to become your own person and your own artist. 6. VIDEO 6 | Drawing Old School Dungeon Maps: Now comes the really fun part, the actual drawing of the dungeon. Isaac. And see, I'm using 1/4 that's 10 feet wide with one square equaling five feet by five feet. And I'm gonna start this with just drawing a standard set of double doors and then a standard Dorothee end. I'm gonna create an intersection. I'm also gonna put a false store at the end over here just to kind of make the adventure a little bit more interesting. At the end of this hallway, we've got a poor clueless and then the whole week has left. Here goes down to a trap. Now from another angle, Let's take a look at the clean look doors, As you can see here, I've got a set of double doors that don't get pierced by the line. But what I mean by that again is that we drew the doors first and then we drew the floor coming up to the edge of the door. But it can cross the line on the floor through the door. Here. I'm using the dot at plotting out my tiles, drawing one line at a time, and bam! There's another trap. The other side of the hallway. You've got a nice common door using that clean look on the other side of this. We've got a false store with another trap on the other side of the fall store. Just waiting for somebody to burst through it. Put a pork listen, and then let's work a little bit on the exterior. This Give me anything. It's anything you imagine. This is the point where this is the entryway to the dungeon over here. I'm gonna draw an interior room. So to show that it's on the inside, I'm gonna thick in these walls a little bit, so all of these walls would eventually touch other rooms in the dungeon. Well, look at this. We got some interior dead space. We'll have fun with that. It's just put a little scribbles in. And you know what? For now, let's go back to the pattern. I want to finish up the outside of this toward Looks just really nice on the outside. So we do all six steps, that stippling method that we talked about before, and we fill all this in on the edge, taking our time enjoying it, and then you'll start to see all of this coming together, and that's when it gets exciting and truthfully. And you can see from this. I'm really not that artistic. I have a lot of fun doing this, but I would never say that I'm a fine artist, was through a stealing hatch. And over here, let's do some floor tiles down so we'll do some puddling. And let's go back to some something out after, like more the outline. So the nice thing about doing the outlining to is everything I showed you use. It is ah, like a set of guidelines for how to do this. You can see here. I'm throwing in bigger boulders, discussed. I think they look cool and I wouldn't go crazy with this. But every now and then, a boulder that sticks out just looks cooler. Now you can start to see the floor tiles coming in, taking my time one by one, and you can see how it jump around. I generally do this all the time until I'm inspired to come up with another direction, make another room. You can really plan these out, plot these out, but truthfully, the old school dungeons. Why, at times they don't even make design sense. They're just cool and fun to go through. And here I'm darkening up all my lines. It's making them look nice and neat. Finish up this outside of here. That I neglected to do the first time around, he said, puts a brake big boulders in. There's a lot of fine stippling here to fill in the spaces. Carvin, that dark edge used my exes to blend it in. There. We got a nice little, nice little texture that we achieved. Now, back on the inside, we're gonna do basically the same thing, but not as big. You can see him on Lee, really coming up about halfway up one square, where ordinarily on the outside to go all the way upon one full square. Nice thing we can do about the interior. I'll show you in a minute. Here we do all six steps, but there's a nice little extra step I like to do in the inside. Finish up all my fine work. And again you could say I'm not completely coming up to that one edge over there. Look at this. Such us to hash marks, hash marks or just cool on the inside. Throw some boulders and chunks. Maybe that's or maybe that's precious gems. You never know. Don't forget your project. Just watch the last video and I bet you can guess what the project is. 7. VIDEO 7 | Class Project: Well, you guessed it. Your project is to draw a map. Now it doesn't have to be a really complex map. It could be something really simple. Like this cave. Try your hand at drawing some cave walls instead of straight walls. Maybe it's something that's all destroyed and broken in and collapsed looking with pieces and trunks missing. Maybe you want to try your hand in doing a bunch of interior rooms with real thick walls or maybe areas of the dungeon that aren't even complete. All I'm really looking for here is that you do these three things draw your own dungeon map . Include at least three symbols somewhere on the map and then poster dungeon map here on skill share. Thank you all so much for watching, and I'll see you soon be on the lookout for more dungeon map drawing videos. Thanks.