Published on

Drawing dungeons

  • avatar
    Nik Vinter


How To Draw A Dungeon In Photoshop

I know, many of my posts lately have been about dungeons (and many more will follow) but I'm currently designing one for my players so you'll have to bear with me. This post wants to be a small guide on how to easily draw a dungeon in photoshop even without a drawing tablet

Step By Step

First of all you'll need a sketch. I did myself direcly on photoshop but you can do it on a piece of paper and then simply import the image into PS. You wanna start with a room and then expand yourself in various directions. Fill empty spaces with rooms or walls, make corridors and try to understand for what kind of feeling you're aiming. You might have already an idea about the contents of the dungeon, if so try to follow it. Don't worry about the exact measurements, just go wild.

Step 1

Now you wanna import this sketch into photoshop, lower it's opacity and turn on the grid (View > Show > Grid)

Step 1.5

Having a grid and holding Shift will allow you to make straight lines even with the mouse. Try to use a small sized pencil (I used 9px for an A4 size) and just fit the contours of your sketch into the grid. Don't draw anything but the walls just yet.

Step 2

As you can see your map is already looking good, now you can just draw a single door (a small rectangle) and copy-paste it into all of the entrances. This will make your dungeon look uniform and precise. You can also remove the sketch at this point.

Step 3

Now it's time to add the grid. You have the default photoshop one and you could draw it over the whole dungeon but that would be ugly. Just create a new layer, set its opacity to 20% and start drawing over the grid in all the walkable areas. It's a time consuming process but it's also very easy to do even with the mouse.

Step 4

Don't forget to add the secret doors the same way we did with the normal ones and add some details on a new layer if you feel like it.

Step 5

We're almost done! This is already looking good and it's usable in this state but we can do something more. This is probably easier to do with a drawing tablet but it's doable even with the mouse. Draw some lines close to the walls in different directions and in groups of 3 to create a sense of solidity and dynamism. This is an often overlooked step that actually makes your map come alive.

Step 6

And finally, to make the dungeon useful, use the Text tool to add numbers to every room. Try to follow a path instead of going randomly since it will help you with keying it later on.

And here's the finished result. Feel free to use it in your adventures and/or email me the ones you made. This one took me roughly 6 hours to make and it was the first one I was doing. Doing the outline was probably the most time consuming part but I feel it adds a lot.