Hello! My name is Derek, thanks for considering commissioning Elven Tower art. This is a rough guide on what things to consider before commissioning cartography.
1. What I offer
I am a professional cartography artist. I focus on tabletop RPG illustrations of fantastic locations. I have illustrated plenty of dungeons, indoor locations, regional, and world maps. You can see a big chunk of my portfolio at my Map Vault. When I deliver the finished product, I always include several versions of it, depending on the type of map. Variations can include text labels or not. Black and White versions, and DM and Player versions when appropriate.
2. Is it necessary?
You probably need a map of a specific area in your RPG game. Maybe a map for that exists already; take a look at my online catalog of maps on this website to determine whether I have mapped such location already. This is my Map-Vault. You might find that a map is almost useful to you, except for the text tags and titles. If that is the case, you can consider supporting my work on Patreon at the $3.00 dollar/map level and get access to the Photoshop files. You could then tailor the map to your needs. This only works if you have Photoshop and know how to use it though.
Alternatively, if you are looking for multiple locations and love to create them in Roll20 environments from tile packs; I have a few to offer. You can build dungeons, taverns, towns and more with them. Notice that this is only for the crafty DMs. My map packs are here.
3. How to contact me
You can reach me on Twitter @elventower or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org I’m online most of the time and will answer promptly.
4. What you need
To commission a cartography piece, I need all the info and lore I can get my hands on to illustrate the location. This means any background lore, place descriptions, and most importantly, a sketch. The sketch is really important, it doesn’t have to be good. It is just a general guideline of where stuff is supposed to be. A rough doodle is better than nothing. Another thing that is useful is to point me to other reference images of things that are similar to what you need.
5. How I work
Once the information and images are provided, I can begin. The first thing I do is draw a quick sketch of the illustration. I will show you this sketch before starting for real to make sure I understood your descriptions. I am a very communicative creator and will check with you at different parts of the creation process. I usually update again when all the line-work is finished, before starting with color.
6. The cost
The cost of my work varies depending on the piece commissioned. If you do not mind your commissioned piece to be shared with the world, I can offer a non-exclusive license. This means the illustration will be posted on my Patreon page and this website for sharing. The illustration can then be part-funded through Patreon and will be more affordable to you. Most people choose this option. Additionally, I usually change the illustration posted publicly. I change titles, location names, and other lore from your setting. Many of the illustrations you have seen on this website were commissioned this way. Each illustration is quoted individually on its complexity and size to determine the cost. If you choose a non-exclusive license as described above, then the cost may range from $90.00 to $150.00 USD, this cost includes commercial use of the illustration. World maps are the exception. I do not post world maps on Elven Tower or Patreon because they are very tied to people’s personal settings. They are subject to exclusive-license costs.
If you need an exclusive piece for a book or commercial product, the price will range from $300.00 to 450.00 USD, each illustration is quoted individually on its complexity.
Most pieces are illustrated at full-page 8.5×11 inches at 300 DPI (2550×3300 px). They will print beautifully on letter-sized paper. I reserve the right to decide to work in bigger dimensions depending on the type of map, thus affecting the cost.
7. How to pay
Any non-exclusive piece requires no downpayment. I will create it and you can pay me at the end when I deliver; I trust you on that. World maps and exclusive pieces require a 50% downpayment, the rest is paid when I deliver. I usually take Paypal at here: https://www.paypal.me/elventower