Free Hex Map Made In Hex Kit

Hex Kit comes with some old school tiles, and I made this map while I was making sure they worked. These classic tiles come with coasts and stuff just like the new school tiles, but they are much more in the style of the oldest of hex maps: black & white, centered icons, etc. They’re still hand drawn with my own mits though. Classic black & white tiles are the tiles that come bundled with the app, out of the gate. Click here to get the map and have fun, just don’t use it commercially.

Hex Kit Volume One: Fantasyland is finally here. Finally.

HEX KIT-page001Hex Kit Volume One: fantasyland is finally here.

Holy shit folks, it is finally available on DTRPG and Roll20.  This is the my first solo project to hit the market, and I couldn’t be more happy with the results.  If you’re coming here for the first time, Hex Kit was a summer long art project I took on in between map commissions.  The last two weeks of production though, I hit it super hard and the kit grew to double in size and scope.  I also only spent like 20 hours in those two weeks sleeping.  It is a collection of 1,000 hand drawn, hand painted hex tiles.  You use them to make your own hex maps! The purchase comes with both 200 DPI single tile files, and 600 DPI tile sheets for print quality maps.

I’ve spent so much time hyping this project up  I don’t even know what to say about it.

Like I said, it is a lot of hex tiles you can use to make your own maps.  It works best in GIMP or other photo editing software.  It also works really well in Roll20 if you don’t mind resizing things.  Which you have to anways because I think there is a resizing bug in their system right now.  I made some really dumb tutorial videos that you can watch to see how easy this thing is to use.  Here is the tutorial for GIMP and here is the tutorial for Roll20.

Before I talk about how this pack came to be, I want to thank a few people: my gal pal Shasta, who stayed up all night with me on a couple of occasions digitizing the art work and making sure I didn’t crash.  I want to thank Ross for putting together RPG Talk and everyone who hangs out in there; you guys are total babes who didn’t let me quit when I really should have just quit. Scott and Meredith over at DTRPG are also babes, they took my bug report seriously and made sure this project didn’t get lost because of it. If you’ve heard about Hex Kit, but don’t know me, that is probably thanks to Brad. I owe you some smooches brad.  Stellarwolf needs a big high five too, he was a voice of reason and support when it looked like I wouldn’t be able to bring support to Roll20, so if you’re using it there and you see him on the forums give him some love.  Also I want to thank Frank Ocean for releasing ‘Blond’ when he did, getting me through the tough times.

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Hell Is Gross AF.

 

13124667_1020539241365852_2246498226728772786_nI am probably not going to share the full version of this map publicly, but here is a snippet Robert Schwalb shared earlier…

It is a map of Hell from the upcoming ‘Exquisite Agony’ book for Shadow of the Demon Lord. Each skin thing represents a different location in Hell. The vibe I was going for in it was sort of like if a childish demon or devil made the thing and then had mommy sew it up for him.

The original piece was done edge to edge on an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of real thing card stock paper. I used all the supplies! Markers, watercolor paints, crayons, colored pencils, fake blood, sepia and black inks, my fingers, and some collage stuff too. Like the broken sword tip: it looked pretty bad on the first pass so I redid it and glued the new one on top of the old one. I scanned it into GIMP and went: brightness -65, contrast +50, master hue +5, and master saturation -25. I also fudged an un-pictured area called The Scabby Blight, re drew it a bunch til I got it right, and added that in digitally.

I used research and thumbnails heavily on this one, and I can’t recommend enough to artists to use thumbnails.  I painted, scanned, and toyed with the skin easily 30 times before I decided on a look.  Same with most other sections.  I will say though, that I fuckin’ made myself sick to the stomach looking up some of the reference images a couple of times.

A New Thing; Hex 001

hex001

Here is a new thing I’ll be doing regularly. Blank hex maps made from this cool hex stamp I found a shitty big box art supply store.  This one is particularly shitty because I was just messing around.  But it will be my new warm up thing.

Commissioned Works Are Killing This Website

Not that I ever updated this thing very often to begin with…  Anyways, about two months ago I stopped working a real job, and started working this fake job of makin’ maps of fake places full time.  Since then I haven’t stopped drawing, or lacked for work.  Which is good news for my wallet and shit, but bad news for working on personal elfgame things.  Here are a few maps I recently finished up for the Autarch ‘Lairs & Encounters‘ book they got coming out soon.  If you haven’t nabbed the book through kickstarter or indiegogo, then you should.

CECIL-TREASUREMAP-05The original art order was for the map on a bone rune stick, but rune sticks are tiny little guys so I did it across a few bones tied together. I used water color paints and micron pens on this one. To get the content looking nice and etched in, I laid down whisps of water color, and then went over it in ink, and then back over it with a smidgen more of water color. The runes are actual runes.

CECIL-TREASUREMAP-06This one I used the a couple of different shades of marker to get the water stained look of the parchment and the map details are done in various shades of sepia ink and black ink. The constellations mark various points on the route, and for each one the art order included the number of stars included, and the animal/thing. So I had to come up with the actual constellation shapes. I put the big black circles down on the map, but for the actually stars I got out a white sheet of paper and did them in black, then digitally inverted the color and put them in place. The words are in a mixture of old and new Berber. Counter clockwise, starting from the top left the constellations are Void, Crown, Cawl, Eye, Manticore, Scorpion, Naga, Prince, and Wolf.

CECIL-TREASUREMAP-02
To get the birch bark right I used blondwood prismacolor brush tip markers and color pencils and ink, then converted to greyscale in GIMP. All of the detail was done in regular ink. If you zoom in close enough you can find a fallen log that I forgot to ink, just sitting there in pencil. The language is Welsh.

That is what I’ve been up to lately, things are slowing down so hopefully I can kick it into gear and put up some free maps.

Ed Greenwood / 2015 Commissions

i illustrated maps for someone i consider legendary.

Eventually I will get into how 2015 was and what I will be doing in 2016, but first I would like to talk about some maps I illustrated for an adventure written by his majesty Mr. Ed Greenwood.  What that means is my main man Schwalberto, as part of his kickstarter campaign, decided to throw some number of heavy pennies per word at Greenwood to write an adventure for the Shadow of the Demon Lord game.  My understanding is that Greenwood once licked Schwalb at some convention and now they are effectively blood brothers or something.

Before I get into the adventure and show off some maps, I’d like to talk about the Forgotten Realms.  The realms are a terrible place to game these days; your characters are likely to just occupy space in the area and not actually have any effect on the world.  This isn’t really Greenwood’s fault so much as the realms have been such an important place at the table top since the early 80s that everything has been done.  It is hard to feel like you’re in the world because the realms have been beaten to death, boiled like tapioca pearls to rehydrate, and then beaten again.  I know that there isn’t a whole lot of love for the realms in the OSR world because it is too much, there is little left to the imagination.  I don’t want to play in the realms because I want to play in uncharted territory (Greenwood if you read this, its me its not you).  That being said, I love a few Forgotten Realms things: the infinity engine games, Neverwinter Nights, the Avatar trilogy of books, and Calimshan.  As Greenwood is responsible for inspiring these arts & crafts, I tip my hat to him.  It was a cool thing I got to do, make these maps.  Here is a room down sampled to look like shit on your screen, and watermarked.
© 2016 Schwalb Entertainment, LLC

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