Many engraved maps from the 17th century, especially Italian maps, were heavily inspired by Italian cartographer Cantelli da Vignola and his influence extended throughout lifetimes. In doing map research, I thought it’d be great to look into his impact, and from that, I decided it was necessary to build out an enormous set of new free brushes for your fantasy maps. (It’s a sickness, okay.)
All my Map Tools will always be free. Want to help support this work?
Click here to learn how.
Today I’m releasing Widman, a brush set of Italian design named after the engraver. The symbols in this set are pulled from the 1680 Alta Lombardia map of Northern Italy, engraved by Georgio Widman for Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi’s atlas published in 1692. It’s a solid set with a heeeavy focus on mountains (over one hundred!) as well as a wide variety of forts, villages, cities, and towns.
I find when creating your own map, it’s helpful to have a variety of brushes with subtle differences for each symbol. It adds a hand-made quality to the work. No engraver is perfect, ink bleeds, and the tooth of the paper can affect printing. The quickest way to make a fantasy map look machine-made is the repetition of the same symbol over and over and over. With that in mind, the Widman set is enormous, allowing for subtle differences to help make your map feel more alive and vibrant—it gives the work a human quality.
Inside Widman, you’ll find over 500 brushes, including:
- 25 Villages
- 40 Towns
- 45 Cities
- 25 Forts
- 14 Fortified Cities
- 16 River Crossings
- 50 Individual Trees
- 50 Forests
- 100 Mountains (Hope you like mountains.)
- 50 Mountain Ranges (As I said.)
- 42 Hills topped by Settlements
- 7 Unique Settlements
- 36 Administration Symbols
- Plus More
The button below links to a ZIP file that contains a Photoshop brush set (it’ll also work with GIMP, Affinity Photo, and I’m told Procreate now) as well as a large transparent PNG, in case you’re using a program that doesn’t support Adobe brush files. They’re black and on a transparent background, so they’ll look broken in some browsers, but trust me, they’re all there. Like this set? Click here to learn how you can support this project.
As with all of my previous brush sets, Widman 2.0 is free for any use. I distribute my sets with a Creative Common, No Rights Reserved License (CC0), which means you can freely use this and any of my brushes in personal or commercial work and distribute adaptations. No attribution is required. Easy peasy!
Enjoy Widman? Feel free to show me what you created by emailing me or finding me on Twitter. I love seeing how these brushes get used, and I’d be happy to share your work with my readers. Let me see what you make!
Support this Work
Brushes and tools released through the #NoBadMaps project will always be free and released under a public domain CC0 license. If you’d like to support the project and help me cover the cost of hosting, research, and tool-set development, I’ve put together three ways you can help, and all are detailed below.
I’m not just a map enthusiast. I’m also a novelist! The easiest way to support me (and get something in return) is by purchasing one of my cosmic horror urban fantasy novels.
A simple and quick way to support the #NoBadMaps project is through a one-time donation of any amount via ko-fi. Your support helps keep this project going and is appreciated.
If you want to continually support the #NoBadMaps project through a reoccurring monthly contribution, consider joining my Patreon and get sneak peeks into what’s coming.
Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information. SIGN UP TODAY →