Mont-Saint-Michel – The Plan of Attack

So, I’ve gotten some work done on Mont-Saint-Michel. Let’s talk about it.

I always knew drawing this map would be tough, but, after looking into it more seriously, I’ve come to realize that the logistics of drawing this place are insane.

Not that I’d let a thing like that stop me, mind you. I’ve never been the go-to guy for forest clearing battlemaps and I’m not about to back down from this because it’s big or hard to draw. But this is going to take longer than I thought and I want to share some of the reasons why:

  • The island itself is about 900 feet across, meaning the map will be around 200×180 tiles. Per floor.
  • I have about 50 different plans of this place. Some are of the town, some only show the monastery, some are from the past. I’m using about six of these as a reference to draw from, plus Google street view when those don’t give me the information I need. Mont-Saint-Michel is a complicated place.
  • It’s going to have to be drawn on a lot of different sheets of paper. The more you have to split a map across multiple pages, the more planning is required. For this map, I’m not sure how many it’ll take, but… look, some trees are gonna die.
  • The layout of this place is madness. Going into specifics would take way too long. Take a look around in Google street view and you’ll see what I mean. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really cool, but drawing it all in a way that makes sense is gonna be tricky.
  • Everything is really densely packed and almost all of the buildings are some strange shape. Hardly anything is just a rectangle.
  • I care about this map. A lot. I think Mont-Saint-Michel is an absolutely stunning place and I want to do this right. I think it’ll be worth it.

So, here’s my plan to slay this beast:

  1. Sketch the whole thing out. Chop it into pieces. (Done)
  2. Draw outlines of the walls and major structures of the town at full size. Make sure everything fits together. (Done)
  3. Draw in the walls, doors, windows, furnishings and other details. I’m starting on this today.
  4. Ink it.
  5. Scan it, assemble the pieces and color it.
  6. Repeat the process for the upper levels and roofs, the abbey and the back part of the island (which is mostly woods).

This is pretty different from my usual process and I don’t really have an ETA for you, but I’d like to think I can get it done in a month. I hope you’re cool with that. It’s a big project, but I think it’ll be pretty epic when it’s done. I’ll post some work-in-progress pictures along the way so you can see how it’s coming.

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