Here is Part I
Not a rule really, just what I'm using:
- assorted mechanical pencils.
- a couple of rulers.
- Japanese plastic erasers (the ones that remove anything without smudging and ripping)
- anything I can to make a shape. Coin edges are good, a stencil would be better but I don't have one.
- home-made graph paper using this site's tools. I managed to convince my cheapo HP4400 series printer (came free with a PC) to print it edge to edge with no margins, so I can put multiple sheets together if I want. I have some 8 1/2" x 11" and 8 1/2" x 17" paper with 8-squares-to-the-inch. That's the right size for me.
- a pad of graph paper at 4-squares-to-the-inch for "zoom in" maps of special areas, ala the Slaver Series of modules.
Label and Erase
Label broad areas of the map lightly in pencil - "storage rooms." "Wizard's labs." "Goblin warrens." Then you can go and erase them and fill in the details. This will help visualize the level before you draw it. You can also back-fill from those places to the known areas and vice versa.
Corallary: Labels keep you on track.
Having labeled areas helps you keep a theme. You can even grab whole blank sheets of paper and write labels on them. "Prison Level." "Warden's Apartments." "Escape tunnel." "Gladiator Pits." "Gladiator Prep Areas." That sheet alone is inspirational, even before you start drawing corridors and rooms on it.
Map in Pencil, Play on a Photocopy
What I've been doing is creating a photocopy backup of my map after I do big sections. Then I realized the map really "pops" on the photocopy. The lines are a bit darker and clearer, and they won't smudge. I can also use the copies to create progressive destruction by PCs or monsters, add or remove bits, and put on temporary notes - knowing I have a master copy elsewhere. Scanning it into the PC isn't a bad idea either.
That's it for now. I hope this helps.