Hey, who doesn’t like free stuff? Below is a smattering of goodies for you to download or acquire. There is always something else coming so check back often!
☠️ QUICK LINKS ☠️
• Swag Packs • Backgrounds • Avatars •
• Fantasy Map Brushes • Tutorials •
😎 Swag Packs
Can’t make it to one of my convention appearances but you still want the swag I give away? Well, I give it all away for free! Swag Packs include a button, set of four stickers, and three unique bookmarks. All I ask is you cover the cost of shipping. Just go to my store, pay the buck, and I’ll drop your swag pack in the mail ASAP!
🖥 Downloadable Backgrounds
Bell Forging Cycle – He is Coming
Bell Forging Cycle – Map of the Known Territories
[Spoiler Warning: The map features a few Old Broken Road spoilers.] The Map of the Known Territories is the official map of the universe of The Bell Forging Cycle annotated by Wal himself. See why in this post!
Old Broken Road – Choas Awaits
The creepy Old Broken Road “Chaos Awaits” background is available in the following sizes. Just click the link to download and terrorize your friends, family, or coworkers:
Old Broken Road – Bell Caravans Logo
Show your loyalty to the company. Swap your background out and replace it with the brand of Bell Caravans. Just click a link below to download:
Spruce up your social media accounts and declare your allegiance. Click on any image to view larger, then just drag it to your desktop and it’s ready to use.
City of Lovat
City of Syringa
🗺 Map Brushes
For a while, I’ve been sharing brush sets based on historical maps and named after the original artists. These are perfect for fantasy maps and can add a touch of authenticity. All of them are free and open for personal or commercial use, you should be able to find something in the list below that works for your project.
This fuzzy-caterpillar/hachure set comes from L’estremadura Di Portogallo, a 1775 map of southern Portugal created by Italian cartographer Antonio Zatta as part of his Atlante Novissimo. This transitory set, sitting somewhere between hill-profile and top-down hachure design, is perfect for flintlock fantasy, steampunk, or anything that sits on that historical edge between the 18th and 19th centuries.
This is a topographical brush set with a nautical focus based on Johannes Janssonius’ 1650 nautical chart of the Bay of Bengal. Along with the standard symbols of settlements, flora, and landforms, I’ve also made sure to incorporated a whole host of maritime signs—rocks, sounding marks, shallows, and a whole bunch more. It’ll be handy if you’re telling a tale set on the high seas or want to add a flash of authenticity to the coasts of your map.
A topographic set based on the Archiducatus Austriae inferioris, an incredibly detailed map of lower Austria created by Georg Matthäus Vischer in 1697. The style is unique and features a few stylistic touches that really help set it apart. Hills do double duty serving as forests, and most of the cities, towns, and villages are rendered quite intricately, giving each their own unique look.
The brushes within this set are based on the incredible work of Georg Braun taken from his Civitates orbis terrarum—easily one of the most significant volumes of cartographic antiquity featuring bird’s eye maps of over five hundred and forty Renaissance cities. The detail and density represented in these symbols give an extra layer of texture and is perfect for the right fantastical city map.
Taken from John Ogilby’s 1675 book Britannia, Volume the First, this set allows the creator to recreate road atlas from the 17th century in stunning detail, placing the traveler’s experience front and center. With over 800 brushes, this is my most extensive set to date and useful for a variety of projects. Several bonus downloads are also available, as well.
This set based on a map by Dutch cartographer and publisher, Pieter Van der Aa. It’s a beautifully rendered version of the Mingrelia region of northwest Georgia. While not as extensive as other sets, the size of the map allowed for larger brushes that helps highlight the uniqueness of each symbol.
My first brush set to focus on creating realistic maps for fantastical urban environments! Gomboust is a huge set, and its symbols are extracted from Jacques Gomboust’s 1652 map of Paris. The style is detailed yet quirky, isometric yet off-kilter, and it brings a lot of personality to a project.
Based on Eugene Henry Fricx’s “Cartes des Paysbas et des Frontieres de France,” this set leans into its 1727 gothic styling and its focus on the developed rather than the natural. It’s hauntingly familiar yet strikingly different.
This set has quickly become a favorite, and it’s perfect for a wide variety of projects. The brushes are taken from 1746’s A Map of the British Empire in America by Henry Popple, and it has a fresh style that does a fantastic job capturing the wildness of a frontier. Plus it has swamps! And we know swamps have become a necessity in fantasy cartography.
While not my most extensive set (a little over one hundred brushes) Donia boasts one of the more unique takes on settlements from the 17th century. If you’re looking for flora, I suggest checking out other sets, but if you want to pay attention to your maps cities, towns, castles, churches, towers, forts, even fountains then this is the right set for you.
Based on Joan Blaeu’s Terræ Sanctæ—a 17th-century tourist map of the Holy Land—this set includes a ton of unique and varied signs as well as a large portion of illustrative cartouches that can add a flair authenticity to any fantasy map. Elegant and nuanced, everything works within a system, but nearly every sign is unique.
An 18th Century brush set based on a map from 1767 detailing the journey of François Pagès, a French naval officer, who accompanied the Spanish Governor of Texas on a lengthy exploration through Louisiana, Texas, and Mexico. A unique southwestern set with a few interesting deviations—including three volcanos!
A departure from the norm, this set is based on the Plan Batalii map which was included in a special edition of The First Atlas of Russia in 1745. A detailed view of a battle during the Russo-Turkish War of 1735–1739. Canon! Units! Battles! Perfect for mapping out the combat scenarios in your fantasy stories.
A 17th Century brush set based on the work of Georgio Widman for Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi’s atlas published in 1692. A fantastic example of Cantelli da Vignola’s influence and a robust set for any fantastic map. This is the workhorse of antique map brush sets—perfect for nearly any setting.
An 18th Century brush set based on the work of Gabriel Walser with a focus on small farms and ruins and a solid set of mountain and hills. This is a great brush set to see how Vignola’s influence persisted across generations. It was etched over 80 years after the Widman set, but you’ll find a few familiar symbols within.
A sketchy style brush set I drew myself that focuses on unique hills and mountains and personal customizability. My attempt at trying to channel the sort of map a barkeep would draw for a band of hearty adventurers. It includes extra-large brushes for extremely high-resolution maps.
Named after Austrian topographer Johann Georg Lehmann creator of the Lehmann hatching system in 1799, this is a path-focused brush set designed for Adobe Illustrator that attempts to captures the hand-drawn style unique 19th Century hachure-style mountains.
A small set of six compass roses in various languages taken from the first atlas volume of the Atlante Veneto by… you guessed it, Vincenzo Coronelli! The link above will download the file. (I didn’t announce this one with a blog post.) They are included as a Photoshop .abr file and as six individual .pngs labeled by their language. A handy addition for any fantasy maps.
My free open source project, #NoBadMaps, is fundamentally about empowerment. To that end, I’ve begun assembling tutorials explaining how one can go about creating better maps for their fantasy projects. In case you missed them, you can find links to my tutorials below.
As straight forward as it sounds, a step by step guide to using my map sets for your projects. It might seem daunting, but in reality, it’s as simple as a rubber stamp.
For a while, I’ve been trying to simplify the process to develop hatched coastlines similar to maps from the middle of the 18th Century. In this tutorial, I explain how to replicate the effect quickly and reliably.