Let's start with the obvious question. Who are you and what is your relation to Pirates of the Burning Sea ?
Well, I am a "Historic Cartographer". I make "old maps" relating to specific geographic locations for specific times throughout History. And as far as my involvement with Flying Lab Software, simply put... I'm a contractor. I came into contact with Rusty Williams a few years ago and been working this project on and off as progression has permitted me to.
Why and how did you become a professional (portolan) cartographer ?
This is a kind of a lengthy story actually. I have been involved in art throughout my life. There where long periods of time where I couldn't work as an artist (proffesionally) because of time served in the military and my work onboard a ship as a navigational specialist on a Privately owned Merchant ship in the Gulf of Mexico. The later of which is actually where the whole map thing was born. The Captain of the ship "Michael Day" (A truely remarkable merchant Captain and Seaman) asked me to create some "old Piratey looking maps" which spelled the beginning of this venture. Knowing art and navigation, the combination made for a perfect fit.
What jobs/contracts do you usually get ? What other companies/games did you draw maps for ?
The work I do is actually (probably 80% of the time) for commercial companies in the television, film, and publishing business. I have had my work on A&E, the History Channel, a number of magazines, books, and miscellanious other publications thoughout the world. Occasionally I create original works for collectors and enthusiusts. Company wise... I wouldn't even know where to start. Soon when my website is updated, I plan on adding a client list which spans from Disney, Iron Crown Enterprises, Exteme Sportswear to Baseball Payers and Bucaneer Coaches. This list is quite extensive so I'm not even going to start here, we'll just wait untill its on my site :).
How did you and Flying Lab Software meet and how did you come to a contract to have a printed map for PotBS ?
Well, it was actually my attorney who saw the Burning Sea site originally and mad a comment about it.I checked it out, thought the idea was great and would have be a good opporitunity to expand into something different. I actually contacted Russ originally and he fell the same way in regards to doing something different for this game and offereing a product that no game company has ever offered before. Granted, some companies have offered little maps to go into the boxes, but they pale in comparison to this map, come to think of it, not even in the same league.
What was the first thing you started to work on when you started on the map for PotBS ?
Well, as stated before this project has gone on for a very long time. Originally I started with some initial ideas and art drafts that all have been since abandoned for new ideas and artwork. I have done hundreds of hours of work already just in art which still is all subject to change. Currently, I an creating the map itself which is the meat and potatoes of the project. Working closely with FLS in cordinating content we are anticipating a product that represents my work as well as staying VERY focused on "Pirates of the Burning Sea" material and representing Flying Lab Software to the most extreme.
What was the hardest part to create or design and what piece are you most proud of ?
Its really hard to say at this point. The Cartouche is quite a peice of work and an extremely art intensive border has been made (but not released), the map itself with the adding of color (of which I am currently in the process of) looks amazing. And as a very self-critical artist I can say that. Later this week or early next week there will be a meeting of the minds concerning FLS and myself to really thow around some new ideas and posibly new directions, but no dought the final product will be intensive, large and of the highest quality. For right now, there is no aspect of the map that I want to consider my favorite. I'll make that judgement when its completed.
On what is the map based, historical real maps or a map built/compiled by the FLS developers?
There's an interesting question. Here is the way it works. Originally, I started with a four foot map of the game area which was perfectly geographically correct. From this I placed over a blank sheet to work that I would place the "in-game geography. Through the surveying of the game itself, I was able to make adjustments based on any changes in the game. Which brings me to my next point.... I think the public will greatly impressed at the amount of work the programers at FLS have done in attention to detail in keeping real geaography a priority. The map you will see in the final product WILL be the actual game geography.
What will be included on the map ? Will we see sea monsters and other drawings ?
Of course, what old map wouldn't be complete without illustration? Its actually very historical for a "Portolan" style map to include these illustrations. Again, the illustrations I use will be more "Game Pertinant" than fictitious, but will be there none the less.
Probably everyone interested in PotBS likes the looks of those old maps used during the ages of sail. How do you plan to make the chart as authentic as possible ?
Well, first of all.. We're going to be printing diectly onto parchment paper. Makes for a higher production price but will increase the quality of the map dramatically. The style of lettering and placement is all Historically Correct and will be the layout of the map. Basically speaking, this will not look like a game map. It will look just like a map made in the 1700's but for the world of "Pirates of the Burning Sea".
There used to be talk of a cryptic language to be used on the map which will be part of the game, which would include hidden clues for missions... Is that still the case ?
Absolutely. There will be aspects of the map that will be criptic in function. This will add a twist to gameplay in a number of aspects that I cannot go into detail about. Fortunately, because of the work that I do and my rescources, I have a number of diffrent way to accomplish this. Unfortunately, other than those directly involved in the production of the map, the public will see nothing of coding, hidden information, or secrets untill the map is released.
When will we see the final product ?
This is actually going to be discussed more in my next meeting with FLS. No date can be givin at this time.
I'm sure a lot of people will be wanting the map. Where will we be able to order it and what will the prices be ?
Port Royal Trading Comapy (www.portroyaltradingco.com) will be the order and distrubution point for this product. There will be links from the Burning Sea website as well as my own, not to mention any fansites that wish to carry the banner for the link. The Price is already set at $29.95. We want to make this affordable to to everyone possible. A comparitable print of this size in any art store could run up to $100.00+. But keeping in mind that our player base will be made up of many budget minded people, we do not want to exlude them from being able to own it as well. The shipping will be apprximately $8.00. And from what I hear, that will not change much for international as well. More definative information will be provided later as things progress.
Any tips for the people who want to become a professional cartographer themselves ?
Be an artist first. I work with many people, mostly teens and young adults that have similar interests in my work and promote anyone pursueing what makes them happy. I have no problems offereing help and assistance to anyone wanting to get into historical work, all they have to do is ask. I leave all of my direct contact information on my website not only for clients but others who are looking for assistance and direction. I will be completely honest. My work, compared to traditional art is very tedious and precise. It requires hours of calculations, research, and it is not uncommon to make mistakes that require completely starting over the entire project. However, on that note I do not want to dicourage anyone from making maps if thats what they want to do - I promote it.