View Full Version : Time for critique and hello!

12-13-2007, 12:25 PM
Well, I've been hanging out reading the board for about a week now. I would first like to say that this has been an incredible resource. From the tutorials, to reading the discussions, there is enough inspiration to go around!

So, after a good 2-3 year hiatus, I jumped back into the good old fun of D&D. Not wanting to spend the money on it that I did as a youth, I decided to I was going to develop my own campaign setting. I started off with a map of a region that I was writing my adventures for. After completing that one, I decided I wanted to:

1. Refine my abilities as a fantasy cartographer
2. Rekindle the joy of developing a fictional world
3. Create an environ for myself and my friends to WANT to save week after week, dungeon after dungeon

So, here I am submitting three maps for your critique.

The first is the original map I did for this project. It is of the region labeled Northern Aethorium on the world map

The second map (which comes in two varieties, one with text and one without) was completed about 2 weeks after the first, finished this morning. It was painful, as well as aggravating. I studied the tutorials over at Zombie Nirvana as well as looking at others work on the boards...and reading just about every tutorial here.

Hope you all enjoy, I am not that great at illustration, I'm a photojournalist by trade. Also, I understand some parts of the maps may not be realistic...but it's fantasy...sometimes looks trump "reality".

Thanks for any input you guys can give and thanks for all the inspiration!!!

12-13-2007, 12:28 PM
Welcome to the Group!

I love your maps. There are a great many people who will gladly give you tips to refine your maps.

12-13-2007, 12:34 PM
Glad you enjoy them! I plan on redoing the regional map this week and bring it's style in line with the look of the world map. I'll keep everybody posted when I get it done.

12-13-2007, 12:36 PM
Welcome to the Guild, nikonguy! What a great first post.

As for critiques, I would start by reducing the size of the fonts and the size of the road lines. That would reduce the initial "clutter" in the maps.

Next, would be some more visual clues as to the sources of the rivers. I'm a little confused about some of them.

12-13-2007, 01:04 PM
Hi, nikonguy! Welcome. I think you must be fibbing about being a beginning cartographer, for these maps are just great, both of them. Very, very impressive!

There are a couple improvements I'd suggest to the regional map. First, the river in Salifanfax is backwards: it runs from the plains to the mountains. The river in Rinstorm also seems to run into the north ice expanse, which seems odd.

Also, stylistically, the fonts are a tad too large, and the different styles and colors detract from the unity of the map. I am also not fond of the mountains, for they appear too bloblike for my tastes: much like they are large slugs. (But this, admittedly is my personal opinion & tatste; feel free to ignore it.)

The world map is very well done: rich and interesting. Perhaps it could use more geographical features, but only if it wil be used for some such purpose.

Again, great job, and welcome to the Guild!

12-13-2007, 01:13 PM
Thanks for pointing out the river oddities..

As for the world map, it is going to be use as a more "general" world map that will act as direction to the more localized and detailed regional maps. The features on the world map are more of an abbreviation for the overall terrain, where as the regional map will provide more specifics.

Thanks for the input, keep it coming!!!

12-13-2007, 01:28 PM
Well, I looked at the river stuff, and boy am I rather shocked at my flawed logic on this one.

What I thought: I was looking at the rivers from the perspective that the rivers start in the mountains and then break off into smaller rivers.

Reality: The opposite, as I'm sure most of you know. Smaller rivers will flow to create bigger rivers.

I looked the Mississippi River, the Rhine, and a few other ones in google earth, and boy was I suprised.

Thanks a lot for pointing that out!

12-13-2007, 01:41 PM
Thankfully we caught it before RobA saw them. :o ;)

The Cartographist
12-13-2007, 02:35 PM
nikonguy - welcome to the guild. I think your world maps are fabulous. Vrey nicely done.

You've definitely come to the right place.

12-13-2007, 03:01 PM
Welcome, welcome, nikonguy!

Lovely maps! I like the way you've used blue on blue for the ocean labels. Not so sure about the size and alignment of the labels in general though!


12-13-2007, 04:37 PM
Well, I looked at the river stuff, and boy am I rather shocked at my flawed logic on this one.

Don't be surprised... many, many, many, many people have thought the same. It is one of those things that 100 years ago everyone would have known, but is a foreign concept to most urban people!

Like the overall layout of the map, and most of my comments follow others' (the rivers being the big one for me). You can fix that river in Salinfax by rotating it 180 degrees to still hit both towns and run into the Al-Hassar bay, btw.

I'd also question some of the city placements. The one at the North tip of the Isle of Mordel (can't read the name) should probably be at the river mouth. Shaledin on the edge of a swamp? (but maybe they mine peat)...

The mountains.....ah, the mountains. I personally don't like this style, but then have no better style to offer up :) You are using isometric symbols for the hills, however, so might try similar styles for the mountains.....one where you draw in the ridgeline, then fill in the slopes isometrically?

and lastly the fonts. Try to make all the fonts readable at the same scale. I have to squint and move close (and still can't make out) the small ones then glance over and get scared by the big ones ;)

Two questions back at you... what software are you using, and what is your preferred rig for the photojournalism?

-Rob A>