There are so many map makers who share their work online, either for free or for minimal cost via Patreons and online stores. We worldbuilders are so freaking lucky! (Thank you, Internet!)
Since World Anvil is (say it with me kids) NOT a mapmaking tool, you’ll need map images to upload. And that’s where these amazing people, detailed in this list, come in. They’re mapmakers, fantasy cartographers and map illustrators who (at time of writing) can provide you with maps! A lot of these lovely humans also do commissions, so go check out their stuff. After all, an image is worth a thousand words. And good maps are hard to find!
A quick (IMPORTANT!) word on permissions
As always MAKE SURE YOU’RE SUPER CLEAR ON WHAT YOU ARE ALLOWED TO DO WITH THE MAP! Most of these artists make their maps available, either for free or for purchase, exclusively for personal projects. If you want to use the work for commercial projects, like a self-published novel or RPG module, you’ll need to contact them and negotiate. Artists are generally very easy to find, and you can hit them up on social media, or contact them via their websites, to ask about their permissions. I’ve tried to make this article as correct as I can, but artists are well within their rights to change their minds on what they allow, and it’s always a good idea to double-check.
Oh, and if an artist has watermarked their maps, don’t be a douche and remove their watermark – it’s there for a reason.
Fantasy Map Maker’s Patreons
Some Patreons are set up with a fee per month – you’ll get charged that fee monthly as long as you’re a Patreon. Other Map Makers set up their Patreon on a per-map fee. Either way, most artists will give you a ball-park of how often they try to release stuff, but just make sure you read carefully before backing, so you know what you’re getting, and what you’ll be paying.
With the Patreon method, you generally end up paying a couple of dollars for amazing maps, as well as helping someone put beautiful things into the world, kinda like the old school Renaissance Patronage for which Patreon is named. It’s a great model!
Phew! Now that’s out of the way, let’s look at some beautiful things!
Fantasy Map Makers who draw region, city and battle maps
If you’re looking for artists who release an array of region maps, city maps and battle maps, this is the list for you. The section beneath this one is for artists who ONLY create battle maps.
He’s known mostly by his handle Caeora, and occasionally by his pseudonym Flick after his appearance in the hit Wizards of the Coast actual play series “Ghosts of Saltmarsh: Rise of the Kraken”. As well as an amazing human, Caeora is a first-rate artist who’s created maps for the Critical Role franchise, and has a degree in game design.
Check out his Patreon, which offers a wealth of battle maps and region maps for free. If you choose to support him for a couple of dollars, you’ll get access to even more incredible art, including tokens and RPG modules! You can also buy single pieces and modules in his online store. I cannot recommend his art enough – he’s pretty much my number one choice! If you’re a backer of Project Deios – the worldbuilder’s mapping software – you’ll already be familiar with his style, as he’s the main artist behind all the assets! You can also find him on Twitter here.
Mistress of Maps, Deven Rue
Deven Rue is one of the nicest humans on the internet, and her maps are STUNNING! She’s well known as the artist of the map of Matt Mercer’s Tal’Dorei for Critical Role. She also offers some black and white region maps and illustrated assets for free over on her Patreon (you can color them in yourself!). Patreon supporters get access to her gorgeous colored maps and map assets. Go check out her website for a course on cartography, if you want to learn to draw like the Mistress of Maps herself! And don’t miss her store there, where you can buy her maps as printed banners, etched leather or scrolls!
Nate from WASD20
Nate doesn’t release any maps for free on his Patreon, but you can pick some up if you back him for a few dollars. He’s a great artist and his maps are very clean and precise. He also runs a fantastic youtube channel, which will help you make your own maps too! I met Nate in person at GenCon 2019 (he sat next to me during the Ennies Award ceremony when World Anvil won the gold prize!) and he’s a really nice guy!
Daniel from Daniel’s maps releases region maps, city maps and battle maps – some for free and more for paying supporters – over on his Patreon. From what I’ve seen of his work over there, his maps are very pretty. You can definitely see the Dutch influence in his place names, though!
Two Minute Tabletop
OK, so his name isn’t actually Two Minute Tabletop! The Fantasy map maker behind this blog is called Ross, and he makes great freaking maps which are available under a Pay What you Want model. You can find region maps, settlement maps and also battlemaps there, as well as some stand alone assets. These maps take time and skill, though, so if you find something you want to use, make sure you throw him a few dollars!
If you’re looking largely for battlemaps, ships, cities, settlements and small regions, then check out Elven Tower’s website! His maps are very clean, with a unique art style that’s great for D&D campaigns. He offers them free for personal projects, but consider backing him for at least a few dollars on Patreon to say thank you! You’ll get more perks and some adventure modules, too!
Fantasy Map Makers who draw only battle maps
All the above fantasy map makers create mixed scope maps – regions, settlements and battle maps or scene maps. The following maps makers specialise in battle maps. These are great for running tabletop role-playing game encounters. Authors might find them useful as blueprints of a building, or for more clearly envisioning the scene they’re writing.
If you’re a fan of the monochrome, old-school D&D style, Dyson Logos might be what you’re looking for. You can find maps for free there, and some are also available for free to be used commercially (as always, double-check permissions!), meaning you can release your own adventure modules or dungeons with them. As always, if he has something that’s useful for you, throw him some dollars on his Patreon as a thank you!
Domille’s Wondrous Works
I just love this Enchanted tree village, but she also has modern-looking battle maps, shrines and even participated in a project to create the inside of a Tarrasque, mapped out as a dungeon! What’s not to love?!
If you’re after a fantasy map maker who creates realistic-looking maps, check out Tom Cartos’s Patreon. His maps are pretty sizeable, so if you’re looking for more of a dungeon crawl than an encounter, this might be a good stop. His genre seems to be mainly trad fantasy with Early Modern architecture. You can pick up some of his maps for free, and some paid, on his Patreon.
As well as being the mind behind #Mapvember, the November map making competition, Miska is a fantasy map maker who creates battle maps which you can buy or get through his Patreon, as well as releasing a whole bunch for free! He releases not only Fantasy maps but ALSO SCI-FI maps, which will be sweet news to a lot of you. After all, they’re definitely rarer to find!
If you like a certain storybook style in your battlemaps, check out Misjay Map’s work. The sample below is taken from the portfolio on their website. They also have a Patreon, where you can get both gridded and gridless versions of their maps for a few dollars. It looks like they’re starting out, but their maps are quite charming, and great for a certain style of game.
Lost in Maps
Greg, the fantasy mapmaker behind Lost in Maps, describes himself as a battle map creator. But despite the fact that there’s not much visible to the public, I definitely got some sneak peeks of larger scope maps like settlements and even regions. Regardless, his maps are attractive and Patreons get colour variations as shown in the image below.
Dark Realm Maps
Dark Realm Maps is another traditionalist fantasy map maker favouring the old school black and white maps. If that’s your bag, you really can’t do better. These battle maps are stunning, with astonishing attention to detail. He, that is Toby, the man behind the maps, also releases adventure modules! There’s a good collection for free, but go support him on his Patreon if you find something useful for you!
Lerb the Mycologist – a lovely bonus human
Isn’t this map (below) gorgeous?! Lerb the Mycologist is an incredibly talented, skilful and above all, modest human. They don’t have a Patreon or a store, or even a website, but you can follow them on Twitter here, and they post work in their feed often. When I chatted with them, they said they were more than happy for anyone to use their work for personal (i.e. non-commercial) projects! Go follow this Glorious Funghi on Twitter – you’ll get maps and give them a big old boost, too!
Am I missing someone?
Did you find what you were looking for? Have I missed our YOUR favourite map maker? Let me know if the comments below!
Still looking for a map? Check out our blog post on How to Find Maps for your Worldbuilding!