View Full Version : WIP Middle-Earth

12-15-2010, 05:12 PM
I've decided to make a map of Tolkien's Middle Earth. A little ambitous, I know ;). I wanted to try out the colourfull style of my last map some more, and since I love Tolkien's woks, decided to give it a try.

It's going to be quite huge, since the massive amount of names which have to fit on it ;). I'm using an original version of Tolkien as base.

So far, I've only got the land & sea colours, the rivers and the forest (there actually not a lot of them, I'd never noticed before...)
Next are the mountains.


12-16-2010, 02:59 AM
Good start! Some of the rivers could be refined (the transition from thinner to broader parts seems a little bit abrupt in some places), some parts of them are covered by forest.

12-16-2010, 07:54 AM
Looks good. I like the watercolor effect of the land and the tree color variation is very nice. Are you using your own brushes?

12-16-2010, 07:54 AM
I refined the rivers (it's things like this that make my wish I had a tablet ;) ) and redid the forests. The trees are a bit bigger, and they don't cover the rivers anymore.
Some of the other 'gaps' in the forests are meant for roads & mountains.

@Hohum; I used Ramah's tree brushes as a base, the colouring & shading is my own. (I did use his TreeThing application to create the forests, It's a bit difficult to get the open spaces for the rivers in the right place, but it beats putting the trees in one by one ;) ).

12-16-2010, 09:09 AM
Hi Saule, I am part of a little group which makes a big version of ME map as well. In one of our challenges we finished off one version of it which you can find here:

It will be interesting to see yours progress.

12-16-2010, 10:27 AM
Looks better now!

Steel General
12-16-2010, 11:14 AM
Progressing quite nicely.

12-18-2010, 07:44 AM
Hi Saule,
I know what you mean by "huge". My original map (started in Illustrator) was 200 in x 200 in. I finished it in InDesign with thoughts of publishing it as an "interactive" map with bookmarks. The final result was dictated by computer hardware & software limitations for my targeted output. The map in now an iPad app (see the images in my gallery — if interested). I am currently working on the Second Age where the "Fall of Beleriand" and the rise of Númenor are shown. The map is available on the iTunes App Store...


10-07-2011, 07:58 AM
Thanks for all the comments :). It's been a while since I've worked on this. I'd started on the mountains, and found out there are actually quite a lot of them. Because my method of creating mountain basically consists of copy-pasting all the individual mountain pictures in place, I realised it was going to be a lot of work. I actually tried using Ramah's tree-thing for the mountains, but they came out too small. I didn't really feel like working on it for a while because the task seemed endless, but I've started again. 2 mountain ranges are now in place. I'm hoping to be able to start copy-pasting groups of mountains more and more as I get on, hopefully not having to put in every single thing by hand ;). (The lowest mountain range was how it would've come out if I'd used the tree thing for the mountains...)

For some reason the forum is not letting me upload the file, so here's a picture with a link to my DA gallery. The 'Download' butten at the right will give you the original size... (Does anyone know why I'd get a 'not a valid image file' error for a .jpg? )

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/Eowyn_Shieldmaiden/WIPME2.jpg (http://eowyn-saule.deviantart.com/art/WIP-Middle-Earth-262135717)

10-07-2011, 02:58 PM
Looks good so far Saule, and it's good to see you back at the Guild again! Hm, I'm not sure about the error message, I would guess it had something to do with the size of the image, but then that wouldn't explain the "not a valid file" message. Shrug.


Blaidd Drwg
10-13-2011, 02:22 PM
Looks good so far Saule, and it's good to see you back at the Guild again! Hm, I'm not sure about the error message, I would guess it had something to do with the size of the image, but then that wouldn't explain the "not a valid file" message. Shrug.


A bit late, but hey... Is this the one you mentioned on DA, Saule? (I'm Dwylaw there, or Dagnal on Skwuig ;) )
And I had the same problem with uploading just a few minutes ago. Decreasing the size solved it.

10-13-2011, 02:27 PM
It is, (and I figured ;) )

I'd have to try decreasing the size next time, it is pretty huge... Takes my computer a couple of minutes to save the thing, and I really need to not forget to merge all the seperate mountains into one layer, otherwise I have to wait forever.;)

Blaidd Drwg
10-13-2011, 02:32 PM
I suppose there is a kind of limit beyond which having a high resolution just isn't that useful anymore. Unless you want to use it as wallpaper in your living room ;)

12-12-2011, 11:18 AM
I might actually do that, hang it on my wall ;). But I'll see once I'm finished.

For now, I've finished placing the mountains to the north. On to the rest... ;) Still a slow-going process, but hopefully I'll be able to start copy-pasting more now.

(The attachment is at scale 50%)


01-25-2012, 10:04 AM
Yay, mountains are finished! Glad to be starting on something different now ;). Next up are marshes, town icons and probably more variation in the land colour. Picture shown is 60% of the original size.


01-27-2012, 12:33 AM
This is starting to look really nice.

I look forward to what you ill do to set Mordor apart.

02-14-2012, 11:00 AM
Marshes done and land colours changed a bit. I'm wondering if I should make bigger changes to the land colour, contrast is always good, but I don't want to make it too busy. Next up should be the towns.


03-14-2012, 03:12 PM
Placed the towns. Icon outline was done by Ramah, I coloured them myself. Also made a start with the labeling, (Gondor) in Dutch so far since my base map is Dutch, but I'll change the language-dependent names to the original English.

Always happy to hear thoughts :)


03-14-2012, 03:23 PM
I know this might be a bit late, but I would suggest some use of the smudge tool to get the mountains to blend into the ground a bit more. Some of them are a bit hard. I am not sure about the towns, I think a few are a bit large. You might want to try to play with a slight bit of blur around the very bottom of the icons to "set" them into the layers underneath.

All in all though, it's an admirable project you got going on here.

03-15-2012, 05:52 AM
Thanks for the comments :). I'll try to set everything into the background a bit more. I'd already added a coloured layer underneath the mountains, but I think I can adjust them a bit more. As for the Icons, I think that if I make them any smaller they'll won't be visible at all if you fit the map in your window, so I'll keep them the same size.

03-15-2012, 07:37 AM
re size: ah, I was viewing at full scale, so most of my comments came from that.

On a side note, you have(and create) some great photo's over on DA...

03-28-2012, 03:39 PM
All names are in! It's suddenly a lot fuller now ;) So far, all names are the Dutch versions, since my base-map was in Dutch. Also, Tolkien was personally involved in the Dutch translation of his books since it was one (if not the) first translations made. So I'm confident he would agree with these names ;). I am planning to do an English version, but as that would take more research it's for a later date.

Also added the roads and bridges.

I tried to incorporate the towns into the 'ground' a bit more by darkening the colour of the green below, but it just looked even more like they were floating and had a shadow... Anyone got any tips on how to 'insert' them a bit more?
I also noticed that if you look at full scale, the green of the background seems a little too even, so I might try to get some more details in colour and lightness in the background. Any thoughts on this?


Next up are probably the compass rose, the border and the scale.

03-28-2012, 03:50 PM
It looks lovely! :) Coming along very well.

Not perfectly sure what would solve the floatiness ... that's always a bit of an issue with fantasy icons on a background. Maybe drawing in a bit of the ground the towns are standing on?

03-28-2012, 08:42 PM
Looks just great. Were putting in the names on our map right now as well.

05-16-2012, 08:04 AM
The border, schale and compass are in. Still thinking about making my towns less 'floaty', and wondering what else I could do at this point. I might play around with overlays a bit... As always, suggestions are welcome ;)


05-17-2012, 06:48 AM
that looks fairly awesome!!!

05-20-2012, 02:15 PM
Wow! Nice work, I envy you. It looks pretty good.

05-20-2012, 02:23 PM
A really nice version of Middle Earth, quite the task and well done.

Blaidd Drwg
05-20-2012, 07:47 PM
I'll keep following you, of course. Looking good!
Maar waarom eigenlijk in het Nederlands?

05-20-2012, 11:23 PM
This is looking great! One way to stop the features from floating is to give the base land a little texture, and/or give the features a bit of a shadow.

05-21-2012, 08:09 AM
Nederlands omdat de kaart die ik als basis heb gebruikt in het Nederlands is, en het dus veel makkelijker is om de juiste namen op de juiste plek te krijgen als ik die gewoon overneem. Die Nederlandse basiskaart was simpelweg de meest gedetailleerde die ik kon vinden ;). Ben overigens wel van plan om een Engelse versie te maken zodra de rest klaar is.

I've worked on giving more texture to the ground, this helped with the floatiness as well. Also added a slight filter to the colours on top. I think it's almost done... Time maybe to start on the English names ;)


05-21-2012, 10:39 AM
That took less time than anticipated... So here's the English version ;).