The Kid Should See This

How to draw towns and cities for fantasy maps

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Practice drawing little houses and towers. Then level them up with dimensional views and clusters that create different styles of towns and cities that you can add to your imagination-fueled fantasy maps. This video tutorial by cartoonist, illustrator, and indie zine creator JP Coovert shares how.

Recent videos on Coovert’s YouTube channel specialize in creating fantasy maps and characters just for fun and for playing tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).

creating a walled city

“The important thing is to get a scrap sheet of paper like this and just try out different styles of buildings. Have fun adding a little texture to the roof or make a tower. Just, you know, make the building a little bit taller. Just varying up the shapes a little bit will go a long way to add some varieties to your buildings. And once you’re happy with the style of those buildings all you have to do is combine a few of them together to make an icon for a town.”

building variations
Coovert uses a Sakura Micron size 08, but you can draw with any pens, pencils, markers, or crayons that you have available.

In the video below, Coovert creates a fantasy city map with letters from the starter word ‘DRAGON’ to create the map’s roads. Then he defines different city districts with marker colors and adds lots of small building icons like the ones demonstrated above.

DRAGON-inspired roads

“I’m varying the size of each letter and I’m mixing up the orientation, you know, kind of rotating the letters so they overlap and build out this map of these city streets. The word dragons doesn’t matter at all you can use whatever word you want!”

A lightbox helps him see through the paper but you can use a pencil for your word and then erase it after your districts are defined.


What will your starter word be?

Watch these map videos and drawing tutorials next:
β€’ How to Make a Navigational Chart, a Met Kids activity
β€’ Creating cut-paper maps with illustrator Christian Robinson
β€’Β How to draw yourself as a Peanuts character
β€’ How to draw a cubetacular hole in your paper
β€’ Marion Deuchars’ Let’s Make some Great Fingerprint Art

Bonus: Maze-making techniques and tips and how to make a zine from a single sheet of paper

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