Cats + Cartography is a series where I post a map I’ve made along with a picture of one of our cats (We have two now!!!).
I got my start doing digital cartography in 2012, making maps for my friends online games, either as the party cartographer or making them as keepsake gifts for the GM’s. While I had a lot of experience making physical art and working in a variety of mediums, mapping in Photoshop was something I was brand new to.
I used a Wacom Bamboo tablet and blundered my way through my first few maps. I couldn’t make straight lines, my line art was incredibly shaky, and I barely knew how to use things like layer styles and different light modes.
Here is the first digital maps I ever made for myself and my own games, back in January of 2012:
Not too shabby for a beginner.
I still really like the concept of a player facing map in colour, and a GM facing map in black and white that’s filled with encounter and trap details. Expert GM’s could run an entire adventure with just these two maps as reference.
Since 2012 I’ve gotten a lot better at digital cartography, but it took years of work and practice. If you’ve ever been tempted to try your hand at making maps for D&D or other tabletop games, I say go for it. It’s never been easier or cheaper to get the tools you need to make digital maps, and if you keep at it you’ll steadily improve with every map you make!
Everyone’s gotta start somewhere.
Above is a picture of the newest addition to our family, our kitten Matilda!
She’s a seven month old siamese-tortie mix with a bit of rag-doll in her. She’s adorable and floppy and getting along well with our cat Delilah. Cats + Cartography is about to have a whole lot more cute kitten pics in it!