View Full Version : Style Experiment - big undertaking

07-24-2010, 06:37 AM
Well, I have really enjoyed doing maps over the past six months, and I finished up a commission not long ago. I have been hoping to pick up more (to pay for my cigar and scotch habits), and one thing I noticed is that the client always wants a demo sample in their desired style--fair play. Since I'm new to this, I haven't built up a very big portfolio yet, so my idea here is that I am going to take a set geographical layout and do it in all the major styles I can think of: hopefully it will make me push myself and also function to land me more commissions.

So, this is the island country I've come up with. No name yet, just a general 'fantasy continent' shape. I am thinking it is roughly 800 miles across at the widest point. I'm thinking three different countries, I'd like to include as many geographic features as possible, given the scale. So, I'll have mountains, a marsh, volcanic islands, forests, and whatever else I can cram in without it looking unnatural (wish I could get tundra AND desert...maybe if it is just a demo is doesn't matter).

Hopefully I'll do the following styles:
Tolkien ISO-ish 'drawn' look, Atlas, Satellite, 3D, Helecopter-view, Cartoony, Medieval, Pirate treasure map... if I think of more, I'll probably do those too.

Images: These are going to be the quick and dirty versions at first, but once I get most of the styles present, I'll go back and edit them until they actually represent something I'd be happy to have in my portfolio.

Basic Continent Layout

Satellite "Google Earth" map

Forgotten Realms-inspired coloring/terrain

Tolkien Inspired

07-24-2010, 07:53 AM
Don't forget the ASCII style, dude. ;)

No, thats really a major undertaking. I am looking forward to see your map(s) finished. :)


Steel General
07-24-2010, 08:16 AM
Interesting and ambitious project - good luck! :)

07-24-2010, 08:24 AM
I've been thinking about something like this as well. Mainly just to keep on practicing techniques. I'm not sure I have the customer service skills necessary to take on commissions. I'll be interested to see how this goes.

07-24-2010, 08:27 AM
The customer service thing takes some time to get used to. I was a complete hermit when we opened our glass business 13 years ago but within a few months I was a Chatty Cathy and dealing with people became easy. So the more ya do it the easier it gets...much like mapping.

07-24-2010, 08:46 AM
Great Idea! Looking forward to seeing all those different styles come together!

07-24-2010, 09:48 AM
Ahh, ASCII--how could I forget?! The 'ol Dwarven Fortress style.

Okay, have my rivers laid out, I think. If the river police are going to bust me for an oversight, best it happens early!

07-24-2010, 11:57 AM
Rivers look good so far. Now, on your way citizen :) Nothing to see here. Move along. Keep going. Heh heh.

07-25-2010, 10:21 AM
Thanks Ascension--it's always good to have an expert's input! Okay, first up is the Satellite-image style. The intention was to make this look like it was taken right out of Google Earth (only, of course, clearer and more consistent textures.) The names are, er... placeholders. Let the criticism for Phase One begin!

07-25-2010, 10:54 AM
It certainly is ambitious!
The "google view" is impressive.
Might I comment that Slartybartfast might have something to add on the "crinkly edges" theme, down south?
Also, of the places I have visited I'd say that you could take a fair amount of inspiration from New Zealand? For a small island (OK yah, bigger than GB where I am) it has a good variation of climates. You can watch parrots flapping about in the North and look at Fjords in the south. OK, so you can also look at parrots and fjords in the far south too - I saw Keas in the mountains near Milford Sound so - ok the world's only alpine parrot. Go figure.
Anyway, yes, NZ, it has fjords, glaciers, volcanicky stuff, plains, mountain ranges, almost tropical forests, and here and there, even the occasional human!
So, good luck!

Radu Vlad
07-25-2010, 12:02 PM
Imba names, love those the most so far :) And go go with the further details.

08-17-2010, 10:40 PM
Okay, this is late, but tundra and desert aren't as impossible as it sounds. Case in point, the Canadian tundra eventually cedes to the Canadian prairies, which are devolving into desert. They won't be hot deserts with ancient camel riding civilizations, true, but I thought I'd just put that out there as a tid bit for later use if it's too late to be of use here.

Other than that, the 'google view' is impressive, and the naming is great.

08-17-2010, 11:02 PM
I love the names (Empire of Awesome! Wonderful!)
I Like the look on this variation, I've worked on and off to get mountains to look right without resorting to beveled layers, and I just haven't been able to. These look just like I was trying for, only successful :) Especially impressive in the thumbnail!

08-18-2010, 08:20 AM
cool RE, and you've got your work cut out for you I'd say :) ... looking forward to seing it progress :)

09-02-2010, 01:23 PM
Thanks for all the kind words, guys. I haven't had a chance to work on these in a while, but I am in a bit of a lull between other projects, so I am loading these back up. I think what I am going to do is try to get all the base styles to get the volume, then go back and edit and update and perfect each style. I'll keep the updated versions in the front-post. Anyhow, I whipped together a forgotten-Realms inspired (http://www.dwarfmine.com/blog/images/4efrmap2fr6.jpg) version, and I am now working on the Tolkien-esque version, making liberal use of Ramah's awesome mountain brushes (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?7573-Mountain-brushes-from-Ramah-s-Aronbor-map).

Like I said, these are currently the "quick and dirty" versions. I know there are tons of flaws currently (including sloppy brush-work), but I thought I'd post what I've started on anyhow

09-02-2010, 01:36 PM
That's an amazing mountain brush, it really sets the mood for that map. I think I prefer the Tolkien-esq version, but I am biased. Either way, they're both beautiful.

09-02-2010, 02:43 PM
"Land of Free Healthcare"? Now I know I'm looking at a fantasy world. :D

Anyways, keep up the excellent work; I'm really enjoying looking at all the variations.

09-02-2010, 02:56 PM
of course there is free healthcare - what civilized land wouldn't have that? ;)
nice maps RE - keep them comming :)

09-03-2010, 12:54 AM
Diamond - I appreciate it.
Tilt - Thanks, I plan to.

Latest "tolkien," going to move on to a different one now...