1/08/2014

Experiments in Stippling

Experiments in Hatching
I've been working on some mapping, but not necessarily some maps.....

As much as I like to make maps, I don't consider myself that kind of artist. While it is fun to create, it is also often painful for me to do so. I just cannot spend a lot of time drawing things out. It doesn't take long for my hands to cramp up or for me to go into some sort of OCD "thing" where the physicality of what I'm doing starts driving me a little crazy. It's usually the repetition that gets me, so the nice little touches, like hatching a map, that are near impossible for me to do.

Playing around on the computer doesn't bother me nearly so much....or really at all, so the more I can do with a mouse and software, the more I'm willing to do it. To that end I thought I'd try my hand at a few different hatching methods. The results of the first I'm sharing today.

I started out with tediously filling in a 1.5" square with dots. I did this four times (four different sized pens) and overall it took hours to get it done because it felt like some creative form of torture. I scanned my results in and did my best to clean things up. I have to re-scan most of the boxes of dots because the first scan didn't come out clean, but my biggest set worked fine. Once I had a cleaned up set I offset the graphics and cleaned up the lines so I had something I could tile. Then I simply made up four files of the dots one to four layers deep.

Layered depth of dots
The idea is that when I draw out my rooms I could simply use the stroke function in Photoshop (Gimp can do this as well), flatten it out, and then use the stroke layer to pull out a layer of appropriately packed dots from my base files. By continuing out the stroke layer and using less-densely packed dots (and/or smaller dots when I get my other sizes finished), in theory I could dot-hatch my future maps relatively quick and easy.

While I haven't quite perfected my technique in working with these dot layers, I was able to take this raw shape and "hatch" (stipple) it out in just a minute or two. I still need to figure out the depths of each dot layer, but for a first-time quick effort I think it came out well.
Quick 1st effort at computerized dot hatching

If you'd like to give it a go for yourself, here are the four dot files in one handy ZIP file. I hope it works out well for you.