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TimL

Guidebooks....Best Way to Design Topos

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I'm thinking of jumping into a guidebook project here in Spain, and I'm not exactly sure how to begin in terms of how to draw the designs for the topos. I'm sure there are programs out there, but I have no idea what they are. Any beta on programs, easy/best designs would be awesome. Also, any tips or ideas would be awesome as well!

 

Thanks.

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I am working on one here in Rwanda. What I have chosen to do is to take photos of the cliff and draw in the lines for the routes. Myself I have always liked guidebooks that have real pictures of the cliff, I've thought it was much easier to find routes in the past.

 

My favorite guidebooks are The Gunks by Paul .... and the Cathedral and Whitehorse guide by Ed Webster. They start each section with an overview picture, then do detail pictures with routes drawn in. Ed Webster, did the best job though with great commentary; history, funny stories, and/or commentary with a theme that matched the route name. He would also include pitch grade, seriousness and length for each pitch, very useful I thought, some might think it was a bit too much info, but it made me get on some 5.10R climbs cause I new the R section was only 5.7. Still he managed to condense all the info into a small book that I actually drilled a hole into it and would clip it to my harness. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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Create an ink or pen illustrated image first (or scan a photograph and work above the first layer) into a pixel based program such as Photoshop at 900-1200ppi. Clean it up till it looks sharp. Then pull it into a vector based program such as Illustrator to add the color. By keeping both the vector color file and the original pixel file distinct from each other you can change the colors easily to find the perfect color combinations. Link the 2 files though. When placing it onto your book page place it as a vector graphic file.

Another good alternative is to build your entire image in a vector based program such as Illustrator with a locked photo underneath. If you need to see an idea of a finished product to see how this looks let us know.

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Drawing topos for publication is a pretty heads-up undertaking no matter what methods you use. Recently an Alpinist magazine had an article called: "The Art of the Topo'" It was a great article about a seldom considered subject and I think there were even a couple of Iberian climber/artists featured.

 

There will be plusses and minuses to everyones approach, including mine, because as they say, "One man's ceiling is another man's floor." Whatever sorts of choices you make its always good to show them to as many of the area locals as you can and really listen to what they say.... sometimes its difficult for people to express succinct comments about "artwork" without having had some background.

 

How you use combinations of topos and photos requires some insight and even with lots of it you still can't please everyone. European audiences are lots diffent than american ones so unless you are personally a european artist I would take my first style ideas from other spanish or european circles... photocopy them.. show them around to others... yada yada

 

I've been an illustrator and teacher and have drawn a good number of topo's for a good number of years... If ya want any more technical advice or specific opinions (I have lots!)... PM me, I'd be glad to help. Good luck in any case!

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check out the topos Mark Allen drew of Burgundy Spire and of SEWS for the Mojo Rising route. Those were fantastic hand-drawn topos.

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Funny, I was just about to weigh in here that David Whitelaw makes the nicest hand drawn topos I've ever seen. They are in his guidebooks published by the Mountaineers. David posted a post or two above me. Damn good looking and useful drawings.

 

Hey Dave if you're reading, I need my Painters Painting tape back for inspirational viewing. Weren't you gonna also give me the drawing for the Dirt Circus topo for helping with the D-Town guide?

 

grin.gif

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Photos work if it is easy to get the same angle when you are looking for the route or crag. If it is a jumble and you can mark clear landmarks then I think drawings work best. I like the drawings for Icicle for instancec. City of rocks would be better with photos because it is spread out. Part of JT should be photos but there should be drawings to back them up. Long canyons tend to lend themselve well to photos.

Just my .02.

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