Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'll take a stab at it

So lot's of people have been posting 'One-Hour' Dungeons.  Dungeons that they sat down and drew in one hour.

And I decided that I would take a stab at it.  After all, I love maps, right?

So I gathered all of my supplies: a black Pilot G-1 0.7mm gel pen, a Fine Point black Sharpie, a straight edge, and a sheet of graph paper.  I had (so I thought) set aside one hour of time in which to draw.  Conditions were perfect.

Conditions were perfect.  (Inside joke--anyone know 'Flight of the Concordes'?)

That is, except for the sleeping baby in the other room.  But she was going to sleep for a lot longer than the one hour that I needed, right?

I sat down to start and this is what I came up with in 43 minutes.

(Why did I stop at 43 minutes?  Well, the sleeping baby woke up and started to cry.  Stop, calm the baby, scan the above picture, and put it away.  I put it away, because I felt that it would be inappropriate to look at it until I was ready to finish it.  (It's a one-hour dungeon isn't it?)  Several hours later, I pull it out and draw for the last 17 minutes.)

Here is the finished dungeon:

Overall, I gotta say that I am happy with it.  I really like how it looks visually--aesthetically.  It's also a lot better than I thought that it would turn out considering it is all in ink--no way to make changes, erase, or revise.  Definitely not the normal way to draw a dungeon.  From a dungeon design standpoint, however, I don't really think that it is that good.  I don't particularly like the layout of it all that much.  And frankly, I think that the ample use of caverns was a cop-out.  They are much easier (for me) to draw when hurrying.

One last thought.  In this case, I didn't really have an idea of a 'backstory' for the dungeon.  I just sat down and started drawing, stream of consciousness.  I wonder if it would have turned out any differently if I had any ideas about it before I started.  Something to think about for in the future.


  1. Dude, the left edge of the dungeon looks eerily similar to the dungeon on the cover of Basic Maps.

  2. Which is utterly wacky, because the dungeon on the cover of Basic Maps was drawn almost three years. Some strange forces at work, I suppose.

  3. It's nice when the madness spreads across the blog-o-sphere!

    I think you were trying too hard to fill the paper. Where you left off at 43 minutes has a lot of potential, it just needed finishing off, where you took the remaining 17 minutes to fill the page. I think you might have been happier had you allowed it to be a smaller dungeon.

  4. David-- You know, of course, that, now that I look at it and think about it, you are absolutely correct. Perhaps I need to go back to that 43 minute mark, rip the page in half, and try to finish it in a better way. Since it's ink, that is the only way I can do anything with it.

  5. Or you could print out the scan of the one you did at 43 minutes....

  6. I need to start using a straight edge when drawing my maps. I freehand everything, and the straightish lines just don't look as good.

  7. I dunno, Dyson. Your dungeons have a nicely organic look. Using a straight edge might not be a clear advantage for your style.

    Nice map, Nick. I don't know how you guys can do these without penciling first. It would make me too deliberative.

  8. Dyson--I'm going to agree with Paul on this one. You don't need to change a thing with your maps.

    Thanks, Paul. I appreciate it.

  9. I'll give a proper one-hour-dungeon a shot later this week - probably Tuesday.

    I do like this one, although the additional material added in the second part of the run feels somehow different than the original work.

    As for working directly in pen, that's how I draw 90% of my dungeons - no roughing, no erasing, 0.7mm gel pen to paper and damn the torpedoes!