Arcane Game Lore

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A First Hatching Pattern for Dyson Style Maps

They say that if you’re going to hire a programmer, you should hire a lazy one.  Because they will write programs and scripts to automate away all the redundant and repetitive tasks.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Dyson Logos’ maps and his style of cartography.  I’ve been a regular reader of his blog and am now a supporter of his Patreon campaign.  I even used one of his free for commercial use maps as the basis for my second Two Sheet Location, the Blue Pearl Grotto.  Well, for my fourth location, I’m doing another fantasy location and wanted to try my hand at a map in that same style.

After starting on this, I have even more respect for Dyson Logos’ ability to draw these maps.  Especially the hatching he does inside the walls or the ground.  Since I’m doing my digitally (and he does his on paper), I realized I might be able to take the lazy programmer’s route to drawing all the hatch marks.  I could make a hatch pattern and use it as fill within the regions that needed it.  For this particular location, I’m doing a ruined building so I just need hatch marks for the walls, not ground fill.

So I got out my handy tablet (a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2″ with S-pen) and created a 300×300 pixel image and started drawing hatch marks. I filled up about three quarters of the area including all the way to two of the sides.

A series of cross hatching patterns that fill about 75% of the image

Now to have a good pattern that can be used anywhere in any sized volume, it has to repeat from left to right and top to bottom.  So I then took that image and copied it three times into a larger image like this:

The same image but copied 3 times (upper left, upper right, lower left)This allows me to see where the hatching has to touch the remaining sides in order to repeat seamlessly.  I then proceeded to fill in the remaining area in the upper left quadrant.

Larger hatch pattern with upper left area filled in.If you look closely you can see where things join up on the right and bottom of the upper left area.  The next step is to simply trim out the section we actually want to use as our hatch pattern.

Final hatch pattern fully filled in

This is now ready to go.  I use Inkscape for many of my maps so I can just copy this pattern into my image and make it into a fill pattern within the file (Select the object then under Object->Pattern->Object-to-Pattern from the menu bar).  Then I can draw any shape I want and set this new pattern as the fill.  Here’s a part of the work in progress map with the fill pattern used for the hatching in the walls of the standing and ruined buildings.

Part of a map using the hatching pattern in the wallsIt seems to have worked pretty well although there are definitely things that could be done to improve the result.  For one, this is really just a first attempt.  I’ll probably do this a few times to try to get more practice at the hatching technique and also drawing on my tablet.  As I mentioned before the joins are not quite seamless due to the way I drew it so that could use some work as well.  I have an idea about how to fix that issue for good.  Plus I want a few different patterns, some with the little rocks and such included to be used if I ever do underground caves and such.

Despite the definite room for improvement, I’m very pleased with the result.  Now if I can just get the rest of the map to turn out this good.  Feel free to use the pattern in your own drawings and be sure to share where you used it.


Categorised as: Resources | Tips and Tricks


  1. [...] the large flagstones, the well, the garden, and the statue marker in Gimp.  I talked in an earlier post about making a hatching pattern.  That was done as part of this project and I used it to fill in the hatching in the [...]

  2. Keith says:

    Found your repeating hatching pattern and used it—thanks! You can see the final results here, if you’re interested:

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