I love maps.
Ever since I was young, I always loved “antique maps”, whether of the entire world or a region or to illustrate an event. The maps in our family Bible fascinated me and I’d trace my fingers along the paths of Paul’s missionary trips as much as those of ancient Judea.
These days, one of the ways that fascination still manifests itself for me is in dungeon maps. Infrequently, I draw them myself; more commonly, I collect them. Some come from r/battlemaps, or even from Pinterest and Imgur. Those sites help me find mappers whose work I like and want to support. Sometimes I even find something I can use in a game…
Here are some I wanted to highlight. I’ve chosen to link to their Patreons in the hopes that, if you like them too, you might support them so they can keep producing their art. For clarity, I have no association with any of these folks other than purchasing their products or supporting them on Patreon. Of course, lots of other artists do wonderful work – if you have some other suggestions I should check out, please mention them below! I expect to do another post like this in the future because so many other folks are doing really great work too.
Dyson Logos: You’ve seen his work if you’ve spent almost any time at all reading RPG blogs. And with the publication of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, he’s reaching a much wider audience than ever. Dyson’s work strips away much of the pretense and focuses on gameable art that still inspires. As his linework has evolved, it has become more evocative as well. And his library is so extensive that you are almost guaranteed to find something that meets a particular need for your game. (Honestly, I could write a whole post about all the ways I love his work…)
Elven Tower: Another artist who has progressed over the years, Derek Ruiz has become a formidable talent. I first found his work when looking for maps of Forgotten Realms locations to organize my Adventurers League games. While he still provides this material via the DMs Guild, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not reviewing his entire map vault. Much of his work comes with a background adventure that you can use directly at the table or just as inspiration.
Dark Realm Maps: Toby is something of an up-and-comer, plus he does map commissions for tattoos! While his style reminds me of Dyson’s, you’d be mistaken to think he’s just another mapper who likes crosshatching. The somewhat more naturalistic style of the illustration and the black-and-white palette combine to create an old-school feel that makes for a useful approach you and your players will enjoy.
Blue Sword Games: Caeora has so much talent as an illustrator that I get tremendously excited every time an update notification shows up. He has an eye for color that makes his maps really pop! In addition to battlemaps, he produces quite a few world maps and tokens, with a strong emphasis on planar adventure. He’s working on managing this success, which is a testament to how hard he works and how much people love his maps.
Jared Blando: His maps have graced several of the official 5e books, including Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Out of the Abyss, and Volo’s Guide to Monsters. (among others). The new book Strongholds & Followers from Matt Colville also has Blando’s work. Jared has so much detail that sometimes I think I need a loupe to appreciate it all! His style has helped define 5e at least as much as Mike Schley’s has. I can never get enough.