• On The Map - Interviews with Cartographers 20

    Continuing our series of interviews with cartographers, this month we're talking to Deven Rue. She is known for detailed hand drawn maps and fantastical illustrations.
    We asked her 7 questions, as we will in each interview.

    1) Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background...
    My name is Deven Rue, I'm originally from New York and currently residing in Portland Oregon. I've been creating artwork since the age of 12 and professionally since I was 17, though only recently for the RPG community. I would describe myself as a bit of a goth, sort of eccentric, very much a recluse, and an extremely productive individual. I love to learn about new art forms and have a wide variety of projects under my artistic belt.

    2) How did you get into mapping?
    I got into cartography when I started playing D&D in my mid-teens. One night the group I was playing with had an argument about where we were in relation to where we needed to be and where we had come from. I drew us a very simple map that helped end the argument and sparked the interest of our DM. I was asked if I would act as the group's scout and keep tabs on where we explored in hopes of later turning it into a map of the world we were in. I talked to an Earth Sciences teacher of mine when the subject of cartography came up in class and his enthusiasm sparked my interest in it.

    3) Do you create maps professionally, or for fun? If you've sold your work, how did you get started? Any fun/horror stories to share about commissioned work?
    I make maps both professionally and for fun. For many years I made maps for myself or for the various DM/GM friends I had. It didn't dawn on me that anyone would be interested in purchasing them until 2011 when I created a bit of fan art of The Elder Scrolls: V Skyrim's map. Not only did this start me creating maps for other people but eventually lead me to sharing my original creations that many of my fans now use in their own homebrewed games. My favorite commission to date, however, was being contacted to create a handmade map of Faerun on leather for Ed Greenwood himself (the creator of The Forgotten Realms). It hangs in his office near his writing desk and he often shares images of it with his fans.

    4) What kind of computer setup/equipment/software do you have? Any advice or tips for learners?
    My maps are hand drawn using Copic mult-liner pens and colored with Copic markers. All illustrations such as borders, creatures, ships, etc. are created the same way. Once finished, the images are scanned and assembled in Photoshop where I then add text. None of my cartography, illustrations, or coloring are done on computer though I have a great respect for those who have mastered such software. If I can offer any advice to learners it would be to know your Earth Sciences. Learn why mountain rangers are shaped they way the are, why they aren't random, what features naturally occur around them. Go beyond a the basic "forest, mountains, desert, water" landscapes and learn to make each area distinct from the others.

    5) What are your favourite kind of maps or favourite map makers from history?
    I'm all about fantasy maps. Though I love some of the very ornate historical maps of the world, my first exposure to cartography was maps found in the various fantasy novels I read. I always felt like they added a bit of realism to the story even if it was completely fanciful.

    6) What do you consider your best piece of work? How about your favourite, if different?
    I don't know if I consider it my best piece but it is one that I have enjoyed expanding upon. I'm building a world around my map of Kor'Treum for others to explore. I created a world map and am currently working on creating the individual maps of each of the kingdoms in that world. I find it challenging and fun to expand upon the areas the original map laid a basic outline of.

    7) Where can we find you on the web?
    You can find all of my creations on my website RueInk.com

    I offer all black & white versions of my illustrated maps as free downloads on my website, so please feel free to download whatever you think would suit this article best. I also do not mind the higher resolution images being shared so you're free to add those if you wish. You can find them here: https://www.rueink.com/illustrated-maps/

    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Voolf's Avatar
      Voolf -
      Great interview. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and work with maps. Astonishing pieces of art.
    1. Mouse's Avatar
      Mouse -
      These are just beautiful

      Thank you so much for sharing them, and your story with us
    1. Ilanthar's Avatar
      Ilanthar -
      Very interesting and inspiring, thanks for sharing .
    1. Samstego's Avatar
      Samstego -
      Wow those are incredible pieces. Found a new inspiration for sure.
    1. LordEntrails's Avatar
      LordEntrails -
      Wonderful work, thanks for sharing your story and artwork. Just lovely!
    1. ThomasR's Avatar
      ThomasR -
      Thanks for sharing and kudos for the cartography course, it was pretty cool to follow.
    1. sandrostudio's Avatar
      sandrostudio -
      Yeah, it's true Earth Sciences knowledge will help making maps.
    1. Rathaven's Avatar
      Rathaven -
      Amazing artist and the way you give back to the community is wonderful. Your work inspires me everyday. Thank you for sharing.