View Full Version : The Knotted World

07-12-2010, 01:57 AM
This is the beginning of a map for a small-scale world build project I just began. The world history is fairly loose at the moment, little more than a collection of vague ideas and some recurring imagery, the most important being that of knots and rope-work.

At this point, most of the terrain features are fairly fluid at this stage but I'm rather happy with the coast lines at this point.

This is supposed to be a temperate to sub-arctic type area which hopefully explains the fjords.

I've never really done a map of a culture that doesn't have a long-established history of cartography or large political divisions and states. Any pointers on how to map things like cultural regions or town-states would be very much appreciated.


07-12-2010, 11:57 AM
It looks very good so far, everything looks superb.

as to political divisions, kingdoms and such usually grow along rivers (eg Egypt) or other bodies of water (Rome), and mountains make conveniant barriers to enemies. Of course, however, sometimes the divisions are completely random, so do what looks right, no one is really going to criticize you for your placement of borders.

go through the tutorial sections, Im pretty sure there is some stuff in there about such stuff

Steel General
07-12-2010, 04:23 PM
Looks like a fine start

07-17-2010, 10:54 PM
I've been working on trying to create a mildly interesting forest in the rough style of the mountains I've drawn. This is only a test of the idea, as I think it might need more variation; still, I'm please with the progress.



I've looked through the political tutorials, but most of them seem to concern the mapping out kingdoms, states, and the like rather than very small polities. I can treat them visually in the same manner, but I'm afraid that would clutter the map too much.

And thank you sir or madame for your input.

Steel General,

thank your sir or madame for your kind comments.

07-18-2010, 12:04 AM
I love how the shading on the mountains is brown; maybe add some green shading to the trees to match?

07-18-2010, 12:24 AM
Well, here is the same segment of map with a greenish cast to the forests.

It does make them stand out more, but I am wondering if it might make the thing too 'colorful' or something.

07-18-2010, 01:20 AM
I'd recommend looking up a great little documentary called "Germs, Guns, and Steel". There is also a book of the same name. In there you will find what you're looking for and more.

07-18-2010, 08:55 AM
What Gidde was referring to was the mtns have shading on the right side so maybe put some green shading or just a big blob of green under the trees to help designate it forest instead of just the tiny shapes. Personally, I think the brown line forests from post #4 look just fine. The only thing to look out for is the weight of the line...the forests are drawn with a thinner line than the mtn shapes. You might want to try making the forest lines thicker to match the mtns so that it looks like the whole thing was drawn with one pen tip or maybe just do so with a tree here a tree there etc but not all of them. The thick and thin lines will give the forest even more character than they have now and the thick parts will help give them more weight and attract the eye.. The easiest thing to do would be to make the mtn lines thinner.

07-18-2010, 09:43 AM
For me the difference between the trees is very subtle. The mountains however, I liked better with black lines and brown shading. I think if you use a different color for the lines of each element then I would say it's too much color.

07-19-2010, 02:09 AM
Another test of the forests.

I've added a green drop shadow to the forests as the way I made the brush for them makes it somewhat difficult to change the shading. They're just little black lines really.

07-19-2010, 03:29 AM
Everything seems to be rightplaced. The colors are well chosen. I like it, well done.


07-19-2010, 06:38 AM
City states are hard at small scale.
When I've had to deal with them (though usually it's a more modern look), I make a two-part thing. Assuming you have Photoshop and Illustrator, you can make vector borders (I like dotted ones, but it's all preferential) in Illustrator and then pull them over. I've never tried it, but I'm pretty sure the pen tool in Photoshop could work. If I have to deal with stuff on the coast, I tend to make a new layer with the borders imposed on the flattened image (On the mac: command-option-shift-E, I believe PCs: ctrl-option-shift-E) and use the magic wand.
Afterwards, you can use the stroke option. At such small scale, you want to use low pixel size.