View Full Version : My first big mapping project

Dark Umbra
09-25-2010, 01:39 PM
Iīm really excited! This will be my first big project here - and the map for my fantasy story... I havenīt got a name for the continent yet, but Iīm sure I will find one soon.

I want to document my steps, maybe I will get some advice from you.;)

These are my resources:

Used programs:
(- Paint.NET)
- Photoshop Elements 8

Used tools (so far):
- Tapered river in GIMP by RobA (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3011-Award-Winner-Tapered-Rivers-in-GIMP)

Used tutorials (so far):
- Making maps in Photoshop by jezelf (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2557-Award-Winner-Making-maps-in-Photoshop)
- Tapered river in GIMP by RobA (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3011-Award-Winner-Tapered-Rivers-in-GIMP)

Image 1: First draft, edited per Paint.NET (before I bought PSE).
Image 2: Editing coastlines (beginning of the first tutorial by jezelf-> with PSE). Comparison: Old and new version.
Image 3: Outcome.
Image 4:
Draft: Vegetation zones.
Actually I donīt know how to place them on the map or if I forgot some... I need your help here.:?:
Donīt ask me which proportions I will choose... Anyway the continent should be big.:D
- Black: Mountains.
- White: Snow.
- Dark green: Forest.
- Brown/green: Lowlands, fields...
- Light green: Veld.

In progress: Rivers (-> with GIMP, PSE doesnīt know paths and I havenīt got a graphic tablet:roll:).

09-25-2010, 04:41 PM
Not to shabby. Looking forward for more.

09-25-2010, 06:21 PM
Nice shape so far. I will watch how it develops :)

09-26-2010, 10:03 AM
waiting for more ... looking good so far

Dark Umbra
09-26-2010, 12:34 PM
Thank you! (bzw. Danke!;))
Iīm looking forward to post my developments... It could take some days until I can show you my rivers.

09-26-2010, 01:02 PM
Tag auch :)

The shape looks really great so far. I would probably try to get the upper part of the large continent in the north completely onto the map, so that the land masses are surrounded by water (in the north and the east).

Do you already have a style in mind, you would like to go for? Or are you just trying out this and that? :)


Dark Umbra
09-26-2010, 01:19 PM
Hi, Quabbe.:)
Thanks, I will put this continent completely onto the map.

Yes, I already have a style in mind (something like Aronbor (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?7707-Aronbor&highlight=aronbor) or Vaniya (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?5556-Vaniya-by-Ramah) by Ramah, I really love his style). But I donīt want to imitate him, I want to find my own style.;)

09-26-2010, 01:26 PM
We are not so different. The Aronbor map is also my absolute favourite map here. :)

Trying to find your own style is a good thing! I'm looking forward to see how your work developes. :)


Dark Umbra
10-07-2010, 10:26 AM
Sorry, it took quite a long time until I get on, but here are the rivers I sketched so far. Of course there will be more of them and I will change their style but what do you think of their position?
I edited the northern coastline and added some isles.;)

10-07-2010, 12:32 PM
The rivers are to .. wiggly? I think they should be .. straighter :P

Wow, my english is poor...

10-08-2010, 04:34 AM
Agree with Marken4. For me it is best to add a rough sketch of the mountains on a separate layer to get an idea how the rivers will flow. Zoom in to about 200-300% when drawing them.

Dark Umbra
10-08-2010, 09:29 AM
Why are the rivers too wiggly? Rivers in our world are as wiggly as mine... for example a rough map of Germany (http://www.stepmap.de/landkarte/deutschland-stumm-fluesse-112845.png).
I know where mountains and hills will be and I pay attention to that while Iīm drawing the rivers.

10-09-2010, 07:53 PM
I don't think that it's that they're too wiggly, it's that the wiggles are too regular, too even.

10-09-2010, 09:07 PM
It's all about scale and slope.
In general, rivers up in the hills and mountains have been cutting their way down a steep slope creating valleys. Real world valleys up in the hills and mountains tend to be straight-ish. Certainly 10's of miles during maybe turning 180 degrees, for example.
Further down hill the rivers and rains have deposited the flat lands using silt. Being flat the river has no real incentive to go anywhere but there's still a slope to the sea somewhere. The river meanders about and can turn 180 degrees in just a few 100yds or less.
In the hills the river is flowing fast and has a tendency to erode the corners out making the route shorter. In the flatlands, it reaches a speed that is slow enough that instead of cutting the corner down, it deposits silt on the inside of the curve (where it flows slower) and cuts out the outer side of the curve (where it flows faster) this increases the wigglyness. At some point it can go so far as to create an oxbow lake which I'll have to ask you to look up on the web somewhere.
In general, straighter "up in them thar hills" and wigglyer "down in the lowlands".
You might get tight little wiggles in a flat bottomed valley (like one created by glaciers/ice age) so the general course is straight, but it wiggles along it. This appears to be what you have so when you do your mountains, bear that in mind, I guess?

Dark Umbra
10-13-2010, 07:53 AM
Thank you. I see what you mean.
I think at the moment drawing with my mouse is my biggest problem. I ordered a graphic tablet yesterday. It will be easier to fix and draw this map with it... and other things too, of course.;)

Dark Umbra
10-23-2010, 12:02 PM
Sorry, there were some problems with the delivery so I got my tablet on Thursday.
The rivers are less wiggly than before I hope. Where the lines are the other rivers will be. When I have sketched them, I will enlarge them near the sea. Sorry for my English. I hope you understand what I want to say.:)
I also coloured the sea, the land and the borders.
I donīt know how I should draw the mountains. Realistic or by brushes? If I use brushes, how big should they are?
I think the whole map should be about 300 miles wide. What do you think?

Dark Umbra
10-24-2010, 06:01 AM
Okay, they were still too wiggly.
Here is a new version.

What mountain type should I use? :?:

10-24-2010, 08:10 AM
I wouldn't go for a satelite style, neither brushes. Although I like this style: http://www.brodt.dk/peter/mount.html (The one at the bottom)

(The Rivers look a lot better now btw :))

Dark Umbra
10-24-2010, 08:45 AM
Thank you, Marken4!
The style you showed me is great! I think this will take much time but I will try.

01-17-2011, 01:15 PM
Excellent job, I agree with Marken though, the rivers should probably be a bit straighter unless the whole region is extremely mountainous... very nice keep it up!