The Hunter – A Conduit Short Story

A tall tale to broaden the mysterious world that is Ard, where The Dreg Of Bellmead takes place! Hope you enjoy!

Fair Warning: This story contains strong language, graphic violence, and depictions of gore.

With that said, let’s begin!

—–

The Hunter
A Conduit Short Story

Tobin hated the rain. He hated the squish his socks made when they invariably got wet. He hated the smell of petrichor, and he certainly hated the need to wear any more clothes than was necessary.

So, he wasn’t too thrilled that his next mission took place in the city of Dawn— known specifically for its frequent, sudden rains.

Of all the cities in Ard, it had to be here. Tobin suppressed the urge to curse and popped his coat’s collar in the vain hopes of avoiding at least a little bit of the water.

The bar he was about to hit up looked dingier than the last time he’d been here. Grimy windows, brown paint peeling off of the gray walls, graffiti; the place had seen better days.

The bar’s red neon sign stood out in contrast to everything else, stating the place’s name in big, bold letters:

THE HORNET’S NEST

Tobin rested his hand on the flimsy door and eyed the flickering ‘R’ for a moment before pushing lightly; he winced at the tortured squeal of the hinges.

Stepping in past the threshold, Tobin was hit by a wall of noise. Half a dozen loud conversations competed with the jukebox, which was playing a familiar, merry song— one whose title he’d never cared to learn.

Unpleasant.

The smell was worse; an unholy mixture of mold, alcohol, smoke, and a hint of sick.

This job had better be worth it.

Looking around, he acclimated himself to the environment and made his way to the bar counter, the only well-kept piece of furniture in the entire place.

He kept an ear out. So far, nothing useful.

A balding, overweight sea elf was sat with his mates around a flimsy table, bragging about the usual topics; money, drugs and sex. One of his buddies was staring at Tobin— no, at the girl next to him, Tobin realized with a shake of his head.

“What can I get you, sir?” The bartender came around the counter, looking harried; a new hire, from the looks of it.

He barely looks old enough to drink, let alone serve… Tobin suppressed the grimace threatening to spread over his face and asked for a cold beer.

Tobin received the ice-cold bottle with a nod of thanks, took a sip and leaned on the smooth, mahogany counter with a world-weary sigh.

“Bad day?” Someone asked from Tobin’s right side.

Oh, great.

“That obvious, huh?” Tobin plastered on a fake smile and turned to see a lady eyeing him with interest. I can see why that other fellow was staring.

The woman was at just the right height, with a body fit to be on the front cover of a magazine; a lovely sight. Smiling wider under his gaze, she tucked a cherry-red lock of hair behind her ear. Her green eyes glittered with anticipation.

“Let’s just say I have an eye for this sort of thing,” she replied, and Tobin noticed the slow way her carefully tinted, red lips moved. “So, stranger, what ails you?”

No time for distraction.

Let’s just say I don’t like the rain, and leave it at that,” Tobin’s expression tightened before he went back to his beer without another word.

There was a long moment of silence. Tobin didn’t look her way, but he imagined the woman’s previously flawless visage had shifted into something angry, ugly.

“Asshole,” came the expected reply, but he didn’t dignify it with a response.

It was a shame, really. At any other time, Tobin might have played the lady’s game, but he was on a job— and while on the job, there is no room for any shenanigans.

The man lived by a set of rules— a code of conduct, if you will.

Focus on nothing but the mission. The mantra, repeated so often over so many years, suffused into Tobin’s essence.

It was supposed to be a simple enough rule to follow, but Tobin had seen many men and women fall prey to distractions of all kinds, whether they were physical or mental.

When the bartender came back to ask him whether he wanted another beer, the woman beside him had already moved towards the fellow who’d been staring at her earlier.

She certainly works fast. Tobin thought as a man sat himself on the spot which the lady had occupied previously.

Tobin slid his second, untouched bottle to the right, watching as the man took it with a nod. “Tobin.”

Tobin nodded back, watching him drink. “Time hasn’t been kind to you, old man.”

“I wish I could say the same about you,” the old man cleared his throat while he glared without heat, gesturing at Tobin with a stubby hand. “If anything, you look younger than you did a few years back! What’s your secret?”

“If I told you…”

“You’d have to kill me?” The older man chortled, his large belly visibly straining against the tight red shirt he was wearing. He scratched the grey stubble on his cheek.

“No, Bird,” Tobin scoffed and rolled his eyes. “You just wouldn’t believe me. That’s all.”

The old man’s previously jovial face was marred with something ugly, his stress wrinkles making him age years in a matter of moments.

“The things I’ve seen, lately,” a dark look crossed the now-named Bird’s eyes. “I’d believe more than you think, Tobin.”

Tobin frowned. “The disappearances?”

Bird barked out a laugh— a bitter, sour noise which did not suit him.

“One mess in a long list of messes over the past few months,” Bird grumbled and took another swig. “Ever since the shit hitting the fan over at Bellmead, things have gone tits up. Everywhere.”

Ah, yes. Clan Alo-Ra’s resurgence to power. Tobin thought with a sneer. That Clan had almost been wiped off of the face of Ard, but they’d bounced back with a vengeance, almost completely annihilating Saint-Morning’s Phage problem overnight.

It would have been impressive had Tobin considered any of the existing Clans worthy of respect.

All of the Clans are the same, through and through. Greedy and power hungry. Willing to sacrifice others for their own gain. He thought before shaking his head.

“Tell me about the disappearances, Bird,” Tobin insisted, banishing thoughts of Clans and injustices out of his mind. Nothing but the mission.

“Would it kill you to call me by my real name?” Bird let out an explosive breath. “I know you’ve got your ‘obsession with the mission’ thing going on, but we’ve known each other long enough, no?”

Tobin responded with a flat stare.

“You’re damn creepy when you do that,” Bird waved as if warding off his previous request. “Bird, it is.”

Bird took a long swig of his bottle, before finally answering Tobin’s initial question. “The disappearances— it all started a few weeks back. A college student went missing, mysterious circumstances. No one batted an eye.”

Tobin nodded. People disappeared all the time, after all. “But it didn’t stop there.”

“Wish it did,” Bird shrugged with a sigh and set the bottle on the counter. “Three more disappeared last week, and two a few days ago.”

“And the police aren’t handling this, because…?”

Bird pulled a folder from his satchel and handed it to Tobin.

“You need to join us in the modern age, Bird,” Tobin groused, but still pulled a document out of the folder. He began to examine it. “What am I looking at?”

“Police report from last week,” Bird explained as Tobin read through the file.

“Witness claims the kidnapper leapt twenty feet up in the air, carrying his screaming girlfriend away,” Tobin read the file out loud, throwing his informant a dubious look. “Disconcerting, but he could have been on something. People see all sorts of things while under the influence. You have anything else?”

Without a word, Bird procured a few more folders from his satchel and held them out.

Tobin blinked, placed the file on the counter and went through the provided items. They all seemed to tell the same story; a monstrous creature able to snatch people and escape with them, leaping incredible distances. All of the victims were women between the ages of 20 and 30.

This is starting to paint a not-so-pretty picture.

“I see.”

“You think this is from your side of the yard?” Bird’s mood shifted from somber to excited in the blink of an eye.

Tobin held up a hand, forestalling any further questions. “Perhaps. Let’s talk rates.”

“Of course,” Bird pinched the bridge of his nose, before waving it off. “Same as usual, plus danger pay in case things go south— which, I’m guessing they just might. Need any backup for this one?”

Tobin snatched the most recent folder, pushed off of the bar counter and left without another word.

“Typical,” he heard Bird say a few feet behind him, but Tobin’s focus was already shifting as he exited the bar.

It at least smells better than the shithole behind me. Tobin decided, breathing a little easier now. The rain had thankfully subsided, but there was no telling when it’d be back with a vengeance.

He entered his car— a cheap, unimpressive hunk of junk he’d purchased a number of years back— and fiddled with the GPS module, throwing a few looks at the file he’d snatched earlier.

Hopefully there’s something to go on from the scene of the kidnapping. Tobin double checked the address and began to drive.

The trip barely took a dozen minutes before he arrived at his destination.

Exiting his car, Tobin noted the torn police tape with distaste even as he slowly walked past it, eyes alert and file in hand. He stopped and leafed through the report while standing in what he gathered was the witness’ spot.

The file had said that the creature leapt twenty feet onto the building across the street from the deli to his right.

Tobin graced the deli in question with a gaze. His blue eyes met those of the front-desk clerk. She stared at him with suspicion through the window, looking like she was a few moments away from calling the police.

I suppose anyone would be antsy after having had a kidnapping directly in front of their place of work. He thought, giving her some slack.

Tobin moved forward in the direction the creature had taken, keeping his attention on the asphalt beneath his feet.

There was nothing to be found.

Perhaps the top of the building? Tobin mused and moved further ahead, towards a tight alley next to his target. The fire escape was a tricky climb, the metal slippery from all the rain and, judging by the abundant rust, in dire need of maintenance.

Up on the roof, Tobin took a moment to rest and stared across the cityscape for a moment before focusing back on the job. He searched for half a minute until he found a lead— a wet, red, leather handbag.

He gave it a few shakes to get some of the water off and pulled the zipper open. A quick check through the identification within showed that this bag was indeed the property of the missing woman in the report; a Hannah Stanley.

So the monster is real, at least. Tobin stopped for a moment to consider the implications. And it’s taking humans in public? A brazen beast.

What a strange case this was; he hadn’t seen anything like this since…

A flash of white, and then red. Crimson mist— no, not mist. This was her blood.

Tobin trembled, forcefully shook his head of past memories and continued to rifle through the woman’s belongings, looking for anything he could use— there; a thin strand of blonde hair.

Tobin made his way back down the fire escape, and back to the car. Seating himself, he pulled a short, silver chain from the compartment beneath his arm and tied the strand of hair around its silver spear-tip, before tying the other end of the chain around his index.

The spear-tip lit up with a bright orange runic script, floating behind Tobin and tugging at his hand as it moved. Without a word, Tobin started the car and began to follow the path the chain laid out for him.

Tobin quickly realized where the chain was leading him— the western outskirts, with the old, abandoned warehouse. He drove a few loops around the property just to make sure. Yep. It’s pointing straight at it.

The sun had already set when Tobin reached his destination. He parked less than a block away from the warehouse and exited the vehicle, glaring at the abandoned structure. A quick check showed that all of his various weapons and doohickeys were on his person.

Steeling his resolve, Tobin headed towards the warehouse, passing through one of the many holes cut into the property’s rusted, ancient fence.

Handere,” he held out his hand and muttered an incantation over the chain. The runes flared to life once more, the speartip morphing into a small sphere and glowing with a faint, silver light.

Tobin entered the building through the smashed open front door, the blond strand of hair unwrapped from the chain and already blown away with the wind.

It smells just as wet in here. Tobin grimaced, looking up at the many holes in the abandoned warehouse’s ceiling, before shaking his head and focusing himself once again. He held tightly onto the chain, taking care to walk as silently as he could manage.

The deeper he delved into the building, the more sure he was that he was not alone.

A shiver went down his spine, but Tobin ignored it as best as he could, continuing his search of the building. He would have maintained the tracking spell on the chain, but there was no real need.

The stench of rot, the sickly sweet scent of carrion, Tobin knew what gave off that kind of smell.

Too late. Tobin thought, his eyes hardening into steel chips. Always too late.

Moving deeper in, he finally found Hannah— and the others, as well.

Tobin stopped and looked down at the familiar face from the report. Hannah had met a grisly end. Her face was set in a rictus, capturing the pain and terror of her last moments.

Tobin stared into her glassy eyes for a moment before focusing on her cause of death: the mangled mess that had been her abdomen.

All of the women had another thing in common in the reports, aside from the leaping monstrous creature; they had been pregnant.

Tobin had drawn his conclusions from there and had left the bar without another word. Bird may have taken offense at the dismissal, but he wasn’t ready to deal with whatever was behind this string of disappearances— no matter what he’d claimed. Words were light, easy to throw around. Tobin did not trust words.

Facing down a monster of this caliber…

Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t right.

Tobin suppressed his rising anger and let his eyes slowly take in the remaining corpses. He recognized a few from the reports, but there was at least triple the number of women, here.

Unreported cases.

The chain tightened around his finger, he noted but didn’t move an inch, even as his muscles tensed in preparation for a fight.

It’s watching me. Waiting for the right moment. It’s a good thing I switched the tracking spell with one of detection, instead.

The sphere at the end of the chain twitched, and Tobin dove to the left, feeling the air shift in the spot he’d just occupied. The falling creature hit the ground with a heavy smack, crying out in pain at its failed ambush.

Tobin rolled into a crouch and stared at the offending creature. It’s as I thought; a Suiline. 

It was a hairless, pale skinned creature, with a cat’s face, ears, and long arms and legs, tipped with vicious claws meant to tear and rend. Even while it was crouched, it was still more than seven feet tall.

Hideous.

This was what those women saw in their final moments. It was a bitter and grim sort of realization, one which Tobin suppressed with all his being— no distractions!

The ugly thing yowled in pain and pawed at its face, careful to not hurt itself with its own claws, displaying an intelligence Tobin was hoping it didn’t have. He stood back up, shifting into a fighting position as its yellow, slitted eyes flitted to him with laser focus.

He had less than a handful of seconds to plan his next move as the Suiline dashed to his location, its front-left claws moving in a straight stab that was sure to run him through.

Gram!” Tobin took a hurried step back, cried out the incantation and swung the small chain forward all at the same time— except, the chain was no longer small. As soon as the word had left his mouth, the chain grew in length until it became several times as long as he was tall, and twice as thick.

The chain caught the creature’s paw, stopping it mere inches away from Tobin’s face, but it did nothing to stop the Suiline’s mad charge. The two flailed, carried by their own momentum. Tobin clenched at his chain and pulled hard, forcing the Suiline to crash into one of the many steel columns of the warehouse, claws first.

The cracks and snaps of the monster’s bones shattering would have been music to Tobin’s ears, had the Suiline not begun to thrash in panic, sending him tumbling over the unforgiving concrete.

Every impact felt like a death knell, the stress to his body making itself known with every roll. Tobin’s world became pain until he finally skidded to a stop, his side smashing into another beam with a disturbing snap.

Tobin got back to his feet with some difficulty, ignoring his own injuries with an ease born from experience. Left shoulder, dislocated. Ribs, cracked. Left wrist may be broken. Friction burns all over.

His opponent’s injuries, on the other hand, were much worse.

Tobin approached the monster, dragging the chain behind him and filling the air with the sound of metal scraping against concrete. The Suiline didn’t pay him any mind, too busy wailing and flailing in place.

He doubted this thing had ever experienced pain before now. What a wretched creature. I’ll put you out of your misery.

He was not going to take any chances. Tobin took hold of the chain and swung his arm down, ignoring the flaring pain in his left shoulder and crying, “Gram Sin!”

The chainlinks clinked and clanged together as the chain flew in an arc towards the Suiline’s head, the sphere at its end growing to the size of a bowling ball midway through its trajectory.

A loud crunch, and the beast’s head was crushed, spraying its surroundings with blood, brain matter, bone and flesh.

Tobin stared at the dead Suiline’s twitching form for a few moments before the adrenaline rush faded and the pain made its true self known, settling itself on his shoulders like the weight of a mountain.

Tobin staggered away from the Suiline, the chain shrinking and returning to its former size with a tired mutter of, “Ingram.”

He pressed his back against a steel beam to hold himself up and reached into his coat with his bloodied palm, pulling out a vial full of green liquid. He popped the cork and downed it all in one go, grimacing at the awful taste. Tobin felt himself sink to the floor as the pleasant sensation of numbness began to pervade his body.

Mission accomplished. A job well done.

Tobin sighed, staring up at the ceiling for a few moments before his eyes fell on Hannah Stanley’s corpse once again.

He scoffed and tore his gaze away, hearing the sound of droplets hitting the ceiling and feeling misty air caress his tired face.

It was raining again.

“A job well done… Hah!” Tobin laughed.

“What am I even thinking?” He turned back to Hannah’s corpse.

No answer came.

Tribal – ZeroRewind

I’ve put together a neat little tribal themed chiptune, which I will probably use as a theme in my “Conduit” series!

Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-aLn0-nfn0

Maybe, I could make each culture have its own distinct themes and songs. The tribal theme would go to the sea elves, serenity to the land elves, modernity to the humans, and steampunk to the dwarves.

Hope you like the song! I had fun making it.

Teeny tiny update!

Hey everyone! Hope you’re doing well.
Just a small update to say that I’ve linked up my blog to my Goodreads Author Page!

I’ve also started the process of brainstorming ideas for my second book, as well as coming up with ideas for a series of short stories that tie into the series itself! I’m going to be releasing them, free of charge of course.

That’s all I wanted to say. Have a good one!

Populating your world map.

So, you created a map of the world.

But, it looks a little.. empty, doesn’t it?

Well, have no fear!
I, your ultimate hero, have the answer to your question!

I will show you how to populate your maps and explain the simple drawing techniques I’ve learned to be able to fill it up with trees, hills, mountains, and the like:

What you’ll need:
– Map of the world
Autodesk Sketchbook (It’s free!)

You won’t need any special touch screen pens. I populated my map using my mouse.

For the purpose of this guide, I won’t be using my own map.

Where to start… Let’s play with a blank slate island! I just moved my mouse while the Predictive Stroke option is on. Predictive stroke is your best friend, here. When in doubt, Predictive Stroke!

I mostly enjoy using the Chisel Tip pen in the Brush Palette to draw with, but you could draw with anything, I suppose.

So, what do we start with…? Let’s go with mountains. Let’s put a large mountain range at the center of the island.
Basically, you draw some upside down V-s. Small ones at the bottoms and bigger ones as you go up. Make sure you use a brush size of.. 4.3.
To change your brush size, click the top left button in your Brush Palette. You will need to remember this for later.
You can also add snow to your mountain by drawing a horizontal-ish line slightly lower than the peak, with streams of water going down.

Here’s what you end up with:

So, you now have a mountain range with snow that is melting, creating… Rivers!
Next up, time to make some rivers which lead into the sea, as well as form lakes!

Remember: Predictive Stroke is your best friend. Also, make sure to use a larger brush size when having a large river and smaller sizes if it splits into two, and so on.

Now that we have rivers and lakes, what are we missing?
Forests, of course!

How do you go about making a forest? I’m sure, as you’ve noticed in my earlier photos, I use quite a number of forest types. Let’s go over them, one by one.

The simplest forest: you simply draw very short vertical lines in a forest-like grouping. I will show you by drawing them next to one of the lakes.
Make sure to have your brush size a little smaller here.
You should end up with something like this.

Pretty simple, right? It’s easy, you don’t have to go through any order. You can make the trees as tall as you want. The chaotic nature of it adds to the realism, as trees come in all heights depending on how good the soil is.

Here is another kind of tree— my own personal favorite.
First, you draw the canopy. Set your brush to a size of 1.5:

Pretty basic shapes. Bonus points if you go around the lake, or over a river. The next step is to give this forest its “legs”. At the underside of the forest, draw vertical lines, like so:

Now, for the tree tops! You’re going to laugh at how simple this is, you simply draw sideways-C; like this:

Then you simply build off of each row until you have this:

You could alternatively choose to have your treetops be pointier. So, what’s left? We’ve drawn a mountain range, rivers, lakes and a few forests!

Hills! Let’s put them between our two forests. Hills are quite easy. They’re like mountains, but you have to give it an altitude only slightly higher than the surface:

Of course, don’t forget to make some grasslands! I’ll put some between the two rivers on the right. Simply draw dots!

Make sure to fill your map with these! I am only doing them once to show you the tools you’ll have at hand.

We’ve covered mountains, rivers, lakes, trees, hills and grassland. Next up, cities and roads! Let’s have us a few cities south of the mountain, and have roads between them!

Switch to the felt tip pen! I want to put three cities. The felt tip pen will simply put a nice big circle on the map to signify each city:

Now that we have a few cities, we’ll need to make a few roads. It’s not too hard, but certainly not making direct lines between each city. Roads are long and winding.

Here’s what you have to do. Switch to your Chisel Tip pen. Open up your Brush Properties and change the opacity to about… 40%.

Then, choose the option Steady Stroke in your toolbar, it’s to the left of Predictive Stroke. As its name implies, it will allow to draw steady lines, despite having them weaving around places.

I ended up adding a 4th city north of the hills to demonstrate my roads better!

So, I’d say that’s about it! If you like, you could have little stations and inns on the road and whatnot, to give life to your surroundings.

It’s all little things. Eventually, you’ll end up with a map like this:

For information on how to give the map a parchment background, I’ve covered that in a previous guide! Go check it out!

Anyway, that’s it for how to populate your world map! If you liked the look of my map, maybe you’ll enjoy my book, The Dreg of Bellmead!

If you have any questions, comment below! I’d love to hear from you all.

Have a good one!

-ZeroRewind

Release! The Dreg of Bellmead is now on Amazon!

Okay, #readers#WritingCommunity . It’s #bookrelease time!

#TheDregOfBellmead is finally up, both in e-book and paperback formats!

US: https://amazon.com/Dreg-Bellmead-Conduit-Book-ebook/dp/B07XRVXXPB
CA: https://amazon.ca/Dreg-Bellmead-Conduit-Book-ebook/dp/B07XRVXXPB
UK: https://amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XRVXXPB
AU: https://amazon.com.au/dp/B07XRVXXPB

I hope you all enjoy it! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, as well. 🙂

My next post will be about my world map, and how exactly I went about populating it with trees, rivers, mountains, and the like.

Submitted my manuscript!

I’ve done it. My manuscript, both in ebook and paperback formats, is up on Amazon KDP!

From what I’ve been told, it should take a day for the review on the ebook, maybe longer on the paperback.

I’m so excited, and quite a bit nervous. I hope people will enjoy my story.

I really do.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say. Take care, reader.

Finished editing! Also, more map stuff!

My book is as edited as it’s ever going to get!

I will be releasing it on the 14th— in just four days! Isn’t that amazing?

I hope you’ll all consider giving it a read!

I’ll give it one last quality-check read, format it to the standards needed for e-books on Amazon, and voilà!

I’ve also been working on my map, some more. Here’s a few countries I’ve already charted!

You thought I was done with the map? Oh, no. 🙂

What’s the point of a map if it has no cities, forests, hills, valleys, mountains, rivers, lakes, roads and water routes?

Of course, if you’ve seen an earlier post, you already know there are still 5 more great landmasses to cover!

Saint-Morning (where my first book is taking place), Saint-Evening, Lunda-Le, Somnia and Noctis!!! I’m so excited to finish it all!

I want to research to see if I can include a picture of my map in my book.

If not, I will simply release it on my website. No biggie there.

If you’re wondering, I will be making a tutorial on how to populate your map.

I’m doing it after I release my book, though. I don’t want to take on too much at once, after all.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a great morning/afternoon/evening/night! 🙂

How to draw a world map!

I’m sure you’ve googled a few things at this point: how to draw a map, map generator, artists map pricing, etc.

Point is: you want to make a map.

If you’re willing to pull a little legwork, you can make one yourself! It’s really simple. Even if you’re the worst artist you know, with a little bit of practice, you can make a map of your own!

I promise.

First things first!

I’ll tell you what you need before even starting this:
– Microsoft Paint (maybe).
– Paper, pencil and pen. (You can skip the pencil if you’re confident in your drawing. I wasn’t.)
– A scanner. I suppose you could snap an image with your phone if your camera is steady enough, but a scanner is a lot less fuss.
– Autodesk Sketchbook. (It’s free software!)
– Adobe Photoshop (this, you might not have— however, you will already have a working map by the time I start talking about photoshop!)

Are you ready?

Step 1: Drawing the map.

I’m guessing you have something of an idea of what you want your map to look like, but you can’t put it into a good enough drawing by letting your hand flow over the paper.

What I personally did was find a map generator (https://azgaar.github.io/Fantasy-Map-Generator/), and continuously generated maps until I found landmasses I liked, before using a mishmash of them in my own design.

You can tweak the generator’s parameters however you like!

However, you’re here to make a proper, respectable map. So here’s what to do after you find whatever landmasses look good enough for you to use in your own.

This involves a lot of screenshots and MS Paint to just crudely move them all together in a way that you like.

Here’s what mine looked like:

As you may or may not be able to tell, I used MS Paint to draw crude bridges and assigned various points on which cities will stand.

This served as the template for my own creation.

I’m sure your own template will look different, but the principle still applies.

So, stick around for step 2!

Step 2: Hand-drawing

This is the hard part for most— myself included: physically drawing the map.

Now, as I said before, if you’re confident with your drawing skills, you can skip using your pencil.

For everyone else, it’s pencil time.

Get yourself a sheet of paper, something to draw on, and simply try your best to draw the map you put together earlier. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and you might scrap your work twice or more.

I personally scrapped my work three times before drawing something which I liked. However, there was something off about it.

Apparently, pencils aren’t very good when it comes to scanning, as you can tell from how faint the lines are, instead of the sturdy darker ones I could physically see on my paper.

And so, I simply traced the maps with a black pen before scanning the paper again.

Much better. You can tell it’s more defined.
Of course, don’t forget to crop it properly, since the scanner always has more area than the actual paper you put into it.

Now, it’s time for the fun part. You have your map, and you have Autodesk Sketchbook.

Step 3: Autodesk Sketchbook

You actually might be able to complete this step using Photoshop, but I prefer using Sketchbook for the quick edits, since it’s perfect for something like this.

You don’t even need a touch screen or a special pen. I did this using my mouse.

How convenient is that?

First things first, I erased all of the city and country names.

Then, I added all the necessary text, moving them to where they need to be, and rotating them to look a little more bombastic! My personal choice of font is Luminari.

You might find that you’re now unable to make any changes. That’s because you’re currently on the many text layers you’ve used to put the names of everything everywhere!

The fix is simple, click on Window > Layer Editor. A small window will appear, showing all the layers on your project. Choose the layer with your drawing in it. Usually, it’s “Layer 1”.

Now that you’re back on track, it’s time to make banners around the country names!

I picked the Chisel Tip Pen from the Brush Palette on the left side, as well as the Predictive Stroke on the Toolbar. Both of these can be found under Window, in case you don’t have them activated.

Then, simply draw the banners! I did a few wavy ones.

The result of all your efforts so far should be something like this:

Make sure to keep your map when you reach this stage. It will be the basis for all further changes.

Personally, I plan to add some mountains, sea currents, forests and the like. But, if this is all you want from a map, then you can stop here, or go a little bit further and give the background some texture.

Perhaps make it look like parchment? (That’s what I did)

Step 5 (Optional): Create a texture background using Photoshop!

It doesn’t have to be parchment, by the way. You can use any texture you like as long as it’s bright enough.

Assuming you want parchment, however…

So, the first thing you do is hop on textures.com and search for “parchment”.

I personally chose this:

It’s a 1024×1024 seamless texture. Seamless means that, if you put a copy of this on its side, it will fit seamlessly. This is important, because your map’s size is probably not 1024×1024.

You’ll have to check to see what the size and width of your map are; mine was 3276 pixels in width, and 2548 pixels in height!

And so, using the wondrous MS Paint, I painstakingly copy pasted the same small block of parchment and made an image the exact same size as my map.

I think I used over 9 blocks.

Anyway, it’s time for some Photoshop!

So, you take the parchment background and launch it through photoshop.

Then, open your map with Photoshop, as well. You should now have two tabs.

All right, what you do now is: you select the entire map with Ctrl + A, copy it with Ctrl + C, and paste it into the other tab with Ctrl + V.

You’ll end up with this:

Looks no different, right? Wrong. Check the layer window. One layer says Background, and another says Layer 1. Two layers!

Currently, your map is on top of the background.

But, how do you blend them together? Easy.

Right click on where it says “Layer 1”, and choose “Blending Options” from the long list you get. It’s the first thing on the list, so it’s hard to miss!

It should open the following window:

Now, for the last part. Do you see where it says “Blend Mode”, with the option of “Normal?”

Change the option to “Multiply”.

And, just like that, your map now has a neat little parchment background!

Great job, if you’ve made it this far! I’m proud of you.

Make sure to save it as a photoshop project. If you want a ready-to-use jpeg file, go on File > Save As and then choose what extension file you wish to see.

And, that’s it! That’s how to make a fully fledged map.

If you’d like to draw forests, rivers and such, you can simply go back to the previous black and white image you had and add them, before going through the exact same process of blending.

Anyway, this concludes the guide on how to make your very own world map! If you liked this post, please share it with others and let me know in the comments!

If you have any further questions, I’d be happy to answer them!

Until then, take care!

ZeroRewind out.

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