Open Call: Mappers Wanted!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm on a crusade.

Writing adventures and sourcebooks for RPGs is tough. It takes a lot of different skills; you have to be a good writer, you have to be imaginative and creative, you have to be diligent and good with deadlines and continuity, and you have to have a head for rules and math. Truth be told, it's not all the skills you need to be a successful adventure or setting designer. You also need to be able to draw maps.

Just as with the words of a product, which are developed and edited before they ever see print, the author's maps are rebuilt and redrawn by professional cartographers. Those cartographers don't actually create the maps you see in adventures out of the blue themselves—they need the author's rough draft as a starting point. And when an author's rough draft is illegible or boring, you have problems similar to what an editor might face when a manuscript arrives that's riddled with spelling errors, bad stat blocks, unfinished sentences, and other problems. In cases where we get in maps that are illegible, one of us at Paizo generally has to redraw the map before we send it on to the cartographer.

Pictured here are four map turnovers for different locations that Wes and I created for adventures we've written for Pathfinder (spoiler warning to players: If you're playing in Rise of the Runelords or Second Darkness, AVERT YOUR GAZE!). Going forward, I'm looking at alternate ways to get excellent map turnovers—we've got a few unannounced products that are pretty map heavy, and I'm considering farming out the maps as separate freelance projects. But in order to do that, I need to find some people who can draw cool maps.

So here's the open call part. If you're good at drawing maps, and are interested in helping Paizo have awesome maps in its products, I would love to see some of your maps. Look at the four sample maps here and try to outdo them. While the sample maps are of cities, dungeons, and wilderness locations (and while I'd love to see maps of all three locations from you), I'm in particular looking for awesome city maps. Send in your map as an email attachment to me at The maps don't need to be particularly high resolution, but they should certainly be legible. The subjects of the maps can be anything you want—and keep in mind I'm not looking for actual finished, publishable-quality maps—if you're THAT skilled at maps, you should probably send your cartography resume to our art directors!

Try to keep your maps to one map per email, and try to limit your submissions to, at most, one map per category (dungeon, wilderness, or city). I'll do my best to give brief replies to folks' map turnovers as well, and in the end I hope to have found a bunch of new folk who can draw great maps. Where this will lead in the end... I'm not sure. It's kind of an experiment.

The deadline for this Open Call is February 9th, 2009. I look forward to seeing what you can do!

James Jacobs
Pathfinder Editor-in-Chief

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Tags: Maps Open Call
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