View Full Version : First (real) map...

02-04-2011, 10:59 AM
Hi everyone,

after seeing all the gorgeous maps on this forum, I decided to put my big project (a "flat then round" world (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?13220-Flat-%28and-then-round-%29-world)) aside for a moment, to think a bit about a decent style. I had already doodled some maps on paper, and basically switched to computer drawing because I was fed up with scanning (graphite pencil-drawn maps...) and such (also, I wanted to mess a bit with layers). For now, my computer-drawn maps are little more than contours for coasts and inverted red chevrons for mountains... So I'm trying to draw a new map, just to "train" myself and experiment a bit. For now here's the result (just the relief and vegetation, geopolitics will come after):


What do you think? comments and advices are most welcome, especially since I'm doing this map basically to improve myself.

02-04-2011, 11:11 AM
Quite awesome stuff here. One think I don't like is the black rivers. The thing that really strikes me is that tapered width and especially the swamp delta make the black look really out of place. The rest is quit good, especially the mountains which I really dig.

02-04-2011, 11:45 AM

Indeed, I forgot to soften the rivers (and the coast, by the way). I just edited my post with the correct (?) version. But still, I'm not happy with them. I did try to draw only the banks and have the sea go up all the way, but they are too small.

02-04-2011, 01:52 PM
I actually like the rivers. The whole map is very good. One question: Did you use a "distort" on the coastlines? I also use GIMP and sometimes the distort can leave little odd pieces around the edges. It seems you have a few of them :)

02-04-2011, 03:18 PM
I love the style; just a couple of suggestions from me: What about thickening the coastline a bit to balance the rivers? Also, I love both the mountains AND the forests, but due to the blurred look of the mountains they don't seem to mesh as well with the forests as they could. Is there a way you can either sharpen the mountains some, or else blur out the forests slightly?

02-04-2011, 04:04 PM
My biggest impression from the map is one of varying scales (and not in a good way). For example, the detail level on the coastline is much, much, much higher than the detail level on the rivers. Similarly, the deatil level in the forests apepars much higher than the detail level on the mountains (I suspect in this case it's a matter of the mountain symbols being scaled up but the forest symbols were either not scaled or scaled down).

The composition is good and the style of the elements seems to fit well together with the slight exception of the forests (shading on the trees or a slight fade on them from full black might be a good option). One thing that you might try is to make the ocean black to match the rivers in the manner of http://www.decorative-maps.com/map-analysis-raisz-nile.html if you can. The heavy, smoothly-stroked rivers running into the high-deatil thin-line coast and stopping is the most jarring element of the map, in my mind.

This is going to sound odd, but I find that this map looks more balanced at lower resolution because the coast detail smooths out and the river width and coast width start to approach the same apparent width.

02-05-2011, 05:38 AM
I love this piece and have no ctriticism that hasn't already been mentioned. Great job!
Have some rep.

02-05-2011, 12:58 PM
thanks everyone!

As for the coastline, I can answer to both jtougas and part of the critisism: yes, the coastline is way too detailed, because I was messing with the `make ragged coastlines' tools (displace pixels, blur, threshold) to see the result. I don't think I'll keep this method for further work, so...

As for detail level of trees/forest, I can perhaps blur the mountain somewhat less (since I add a slight blur to basically everything). The main problem though is that I don't have outlines for the mountains (I had them to draw, but I found them horrible and tried just deleting them, and liked the result). On the other hand, no outlines for trees is reaallly ugly, and, well, I still didn't find any acceptable solution. As for the scale, I just can't draw trees smaller, and make bigger mountains seems... well, too big for this scale. I'll dig this comment nonetheless.

As for the sea, since I still didn't add any texture to it and plan to, well, I'm just comforted in my opinion.

I'll try to apply your ideas and suggestions in some days, and post the results.