Here is a fairly old scan from a rough sketched drawing from my moleskin notebook. I have a few that are dotted about at home and in the studio to capture ideas for parts of environments, platforms, objects and characters that I am pulling together for interactive apps and games.
Being a simple sketch, I spruced it up a bit with some digital paint. I made some simple custom pencil and paint brushes in PhotoShop to retain the hand-made traditional art look.
Here is a demo screen capture video I made of the hand-drawn demo game level drawing from above. It’s got a rusty acoustic guitar riff I played over the top just to add a bit of atmosphere to the demo footage.
First of all I came up with a really rough concept level design on a scrap of paper. Some tweaks were needed, but this concept contains the basic ideas for puzzle mechanics within the level design.
After I was satisfied with the level design, I planned it out a little more accurately on an A4 piece of squared paper. Graph paper has too many squares. In fact it is worth getting hold of squared paper that is as feint as possible, so that there is more contrast with your drawn design.
This step helps to ensure that the player character can make certain jumps up to platforms, and across gaps. You don’t want to player to find it either impossible or nearly impossible to access certain areas, unless that is intentionally part of the level design.
The draft level was adjusted in places on squared paper, then tested in the game engine, playing with the character to ensure that the various areas were the right height and widths etc. This squared paper version was then photocopied for use as a template when drawing the final level.
The final level was drawn using tracing paper, masked to a photocopy of the squared level drawing, so that there was an accurate guide for where the platforms, walls and ceilings should be placed.
The drawing was done starting at the top-right of the image, across and downwards, to minimise smudging. The rough details were placed with 2B pencil, and then filled in with extra detail over the course of the drawing.