Thay- Illustration process

Thay, view from Poleryn Square,  by Richard Luschek

Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

I just finished the illustration for the upcoming Columbia Games article on Thay. Should ship in a few weeks.

“Thay is a seaport at the mouth of the Horka River in the mainland part of the Kingdom of Melderyn.”

We were all getting tired of the same old distant castle view across the river that often appear in these articles. Rob, one of the writers, suggested a view past two major buildings looking towards the castle. I also thought an early morning scene of the town waking up with workers walking to their respective jobs would be interesting.


I find it pretty tough to illustrate a believable scene that matches the maps, without some sort of physical reference. I select a portion of the map that will be in the view, create a jpeg that can be imported into Sketchup. I always make sure I include the map scale so I can enlarge the map image to the scale in Sketchup- To do this I just make a block that is 50 ft (you can type in exact dimensions), and then enlarge the map until the scale matches.


I do a rough layout, using some smaller models I have already built and saved- like castle walls, towers and a few medieval looking houses. Then I tackle the fancier buildings. If I can find a real world reference I will model off of that. Often in the Sketchup Warehouse, you can find a model that has already been built which is close to your needs. I will load that model into the image and place it on the map. Harnic building are usually smaller than those on Earth. So I usually have to scale them down, and often need to reduce the height. The temple on the right of the image, is based off a real-world Greek orthodox church. I was using it for a Peoni temple, which are described as simple in design, so I had to alter and delete a lot of the fancy parts off the original model. I push and pull the  model until it fits the map. Then I can basically walk around in the model looking for the best view.

Rough sketchup view

Here is the view I selected. I now can use this image to draw from. I approximate the drawing from this image of the model and then use a lot of artistic license to make the image interesting. Moving window and doors and changing some proportions and even placement, but at least now I know what will and will not work. In all honesty, it is not so much about exact accuracy and slavish following of the map, but making sure I will create a pleasing image that gives the feeling of a living breathing city. A cold computer model does not do that.

I thought I would post a few other views  to tease out some fanon map projects. Hint, Hint!

If anyone wants to mess around with these, feel free to email me and I will send you the Sketchup model.

It would be awesome to see a few maps done for the Palace of Kerpyne and the Peoni Temple.












I have been busy, also color art for The Silver Way, Menekod, Dyrisa, Telumar, Lia Kavair, and Dunir.



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