(can’t see the subscribe button? – try this page)
Editorial intro: Welcome to the bumper ‘Maps’ issue of your regular free magazine.
The author Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) once depicted a whimsical character who had made the perfect map. This would have covered the landscape with an exact 1:1 mile-to-a-mile representation, and there was a plan to lay it across the entire land like a gigantic tablecloth. But before the map could be spread out the farmers objected to having their sunlight blocked, and the grand project was abandoned. The inventor comments to his child-visitors: “So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.” Carroll’s serious point, cloaked in humour, was that no map can be a perfect representation of the territory it represents. At best a map is an occasionally useful abstraction, and at worst a nuisance — because it clouds one’s view of what is actually in the real landscape at any given moment.
We interview a leading freelance maker of quality fantasy maps, who has worked on a variety of RPG games and books.
MAPS | RPG GAMES | 2D
“After the first commission, to my surprise, the requests came flowing in! I gave myself a goal that, within five years, I would create something for a large publisher. This meant taking on many projects and, with a job as an IT Engineer, I spent at least 40 hours a week on maps.”
Glynn was winner of the Gold ENnie award for Best Cartography in 2018, and makes the old-school indie RPG The Midderlands.
MAPS | RPG GAMES | 2D
“The D&D 5e Midderlands Kickstarter launched, but it became clear it might not do as well as expected because of the timing. It did relaunch and got funded. It has now gone out to backers — in full glorious colour and stunning. My best combined work to date.”
XP-PEN ARTIST 22
We review the new second generation of XP-Pen’s popular and affordable Artist 22 ‘draw on the screen’ pen monitor.
HARDWARE FOR ARTISTS
“XP-Pen were kind enough to ship us a free in-depth review unit for their new 21.5-inch LCD pen-monitor, twice and fast and with a battery-free stylus pen. We give our honest opinion, working from experience gained with an earlier self-purchased model.”
INTERVIEW: CHRIS HUNTER (FLOWSCAPE)
BACK ISSUE INDEX
INTERVIEW: STEFFEN BRAND
We’re pleased to interview Herwin Weilink (‘Djekspek’)
Herwin is an IT Engineer by day, and a professional fantasy map maker by night. He has created maps for a wide range of game clients.
DAL: Herwin, welcome to the Digital Art Live in-depth interview. Many thanks for your time on this, it’s much appreciated.
HW: Thank you, the pleasure is all mine.
DAL: Super. OK, before we dive into your map-making and projects and you many commercial works, let’s step back in time… and ask when you first became aware of your creative streak? How did that emerge for you, and was there anyone special who helped you out in the early years?
HW: That was a long time ago… As a little kid I was always busy drawing, but once I had my first PC I then switched to programming. Drawing and programming might seem to be the opposite of each other, but much later I found out that creating software is not so far away from creating art. I did have doubts whether to pursue an artistic career and go to art school, or follow my other passion about becoming a programmer. I ended up going for my Masters degree in Computer Science and I became an IT Engineer. And my love for drawing was pushed to the back for quite a while…
DAL: I see. Did you have any sort of half-way house at that time? For instance, did you have an early interest in maps and map-making?
HW: I do remember that, as a little kid, I once created a fantasy atlas with made-belief countries and cultures. While growing older I became fascinated by old atlases and historical maps. Loving the mix of technical and artistic skills used by the cartographers. But it wasn’t until much later, when I ran my own RPG D&D campaign and when I was creating a world for my players that I got into cartography. I needed maps to visualize this world I was creating.
DAL: I see. What was your early route into commercial work from there?
HW: I started making maps for my own D&D campaign and while learning this I stumbled upon an online community, the Cartographers’ Guild at www.cartographersguild.com.
This was and is an awesome community of friendly people interested in cartography and making maps. They help and give advice on drawing, tooling, and also many tutorials can be found there. This community really was my biggest inspiration to get into drawing maps.
DAL: Yes, while getting this issue reading I’ve had the feeling that the online cartography community is quite friendly and welcoming, and willing to share tutorials and the like.
HW: They also run monthly challenges and I decided to participate in those. This turned out to be a great way to start and also to get great feedback. I started enjoying making worlds come alive creating illustrated maps, and decided to take on my first commercial project. This first job was also acquired via the online community via its mapmaking request forums.
DAL: I see. How did that go?
HW: In the beginning it was a struggle. I felt I couldn’t live up to creating the expected result and it caused me a lot of stress. It was hard work, but bit-by-bit my skills improved. And I learned how to deal with requirements, clients, and I was able develop my own style.
I also set-up my own website and I kept on participating in challenges like the ‘One-page Dungeon Contest’. I also started writing simple tutorials to give something back to the online community that gave me so much.
See full interview in Issue 59