Welcome to Iconic Maps

Confessions of a Mapoholic

My name is Tad, and as you’ve probably noticed, I’m kind of into maps. Point of fact, I’m a full-fledged, unapologetic, card-carrying cartophile.

It all started when I was twelve. I’d just learned about this thing called D&D (well Palladium actually but close enough) from a friend of mine who’d asked me to join his campaign. I recall being a bit confused that first session wondering what the point of playing a game you couldn’t “win” was. However by the end of the evening I was hooked; I’d found my game. I ran right out to Walden Books the next day to purchase my copy of the rules and set about drawing a map of a fantastical world to play in.

Over the course of the next fifteen or so years that world would continue to evolve as I revised and redrew different regions of it, always wondering about the stories of the people and creatures that inhabited them. My fascination wasn’t limited to my own creation. I spent countless hours poring over the maps of some of my favorite fantasy novels. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Le Guin’s Earthsea and Jordan’s Wheel of Time were my constant companions. I would often find myself wandering the isles of my local bookstore scouring the opening pages of fantasy novels for maps to get a glimpse of the worlds contained within. More often than not the quality of the map was the determining factor as to whether or not I bought the book.

In the fall of 2009 I discovered the Cartographers Guild while browsing the web for tutorials on how to create a map digitally with graphics software. It was like that first D&D session all over again. I was transfixed by the beauty and detail of many of the maps I found there. The quality of craftsmanship was unlike anything I’d seen before. I craved the ability to create maps like that myself. What had begun as a harmless project when I was twelve had grown into a hobby and was now an obsession.

In the decade since I’ve honed my skills, authored several tutorials and worked alongside numerous authors and game designers to make their worlds come to life.


My First Map (1993)

My First Digital Map (2009)


What this Blog is About and Who should Read it

You guessed it, this is a blog about maps. In the weeks and months ahead I’ll offer a look at projects that I’m currently working on, showcasse finished pieces, offer tutorials and walk-throughs on map creation (starting with some of my earlier tutorials), shine a spot-light on some of the work of other map-makers that I admire, and discuss tips and tricks for how to best utilize maps within tabletop role playing games, whether played virtually or in person.

If like me you have a fascination with maps, if you are looking for instructional guides to create your own maps or are looking for more map resources for your own campaign, stick around, we’ll have all that in spades.

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Cheers, Tad.

Tad Davis2 Comments