How do you create layouts for towns/villages without it being the typical rectangle shape?
Think about how the town came about. Think about how most towns come about. They don’t start as a metropolis. They typically grow along one or two main roads, or perhaps between a road and a water source. They can be shaped by rivers or cliff-sides, plateaus, or other land forms.
(My drawing tablet is on the other end of the house so excuse my laziness for not getting up to go get it and, thus, the crudeness of the following illustrations.)
If you’ve ever driven through a tiny little town that’s nestled on a highway, then you’ll notice that it sort of dwindles in and out on either side. A town starts out because the local people need a post office, groceries, a church, etc. Sometimes that’s all they ever need. Sometimes, people start moving in and from there, the town will grow.
Now, with a larger, expanding town, you’ll find yourself needing a power plant (that and other such industrial plants will be outside of town, most of the time), a hospital, schools, lots of houses. While developments will sometimes happen in rectangles, they don’t have to. And when you stick a bunch of rectangles together, the final product will often look nothing like a rectangle.
The growth will happen in waves, so development won’t always be one road at a time, they’ll add big parts in sections. But there will always be the edges of town that kind of fade away, whether because of shrinking or growing.
(Sometimes, that old part that was the original town will remain untouched or will be preserved so that it’s always got that history thing.)
You can also google search “aerial views of small towns” and get an idea of how real-life towns are shaped.
Also, and this might be a silly suggestion, but play SimCity. See what happens when you have to build a functioning town. It’ll help you brainstorm, at the very least!