Last night I didn't have access to a computer. My wife's external 2TB hard drive crashed (possibly because I plugged the wrong power adaptor into it and burnt out the motherboad citcuitry, possibly because my brother dropped it). Her computer also has an issue with burning DVDs (we don't know the root of the issue...). So she started using her computer to convert files into a format our TV can handle, switched the files over to my computer where they were then burnt to DVD. It was a nice little production line that she had going. But it meant I couldn't continue work on laying out Ghost City Raiders.
So I did something that I haven't done in years.
I pulled out a sketchbook and started hand-drawing some maps along a common theme. Last night's theme; Islands and archipelagos. I've drawn in coasts, hills, mountain ranges, rivers, fertile plains and forests, but have deliberately left out any roads, towns or other evidence of civilisation.
It was a lot of fun, and something that I've been thinking about for a while. Other themes for similar map themes would be "Coastlines", "Forests", "Cities", "Rivers and Waterways" and "Cave Systems". I don't really want to touch "Dungeons" as a theme because there are so many people already drawing up dozens of dungeons. I see them on my G+ stream every day. "Castles" and "Strongholds" are similar themes that have been drawn to death over the years.
I'm trying to think of new areas that might be useful to have maps for in roleplaying games. "Planetary Systems" doesn't seem like a good candidate for hand-drawn maps, but could be an interesting prop for settings like Lady Blackbird, Spelljammer or something else where elemental planes intersect or alchemists plumb the depths of the astral plane.
The other thing I'm thinking of doing with these maps is making copies, then tea-staining them to give them an old and weathered look. (Some of you may recognise the pages of the Goblin Tarot Companion being tea-stained above for a unique copy of the book being sent out shortly).