View Full Version : The Land of Onin

A Lost Cartographer
04-11-2011, 07:22 PM

This is my first attempt at a map. I'm currently working on a series of fantasy novels and drew this up for myself to get a better grasp of the world I'm creating.

I did this in photoshop using brushes and got a lot of help from the various tutorials on this site - so I felt it only fair to give back as much as I take and post the product here. The coastline here is loosely based on the SW coastline of Great Britain. That will likely change with subsequent drafts, as well as a few place names, I'm sure.

I'm open to any input anyone may have. Thanks in advance.


Ryan K
04-11-2011, 08:48 PM
Good first post, and an excellent first map :) Had you not mentioned it was based on the south coast of England, I might not have noticed, but now .. Aw heck, it's still beautiful. I would love to see if you experiment with a different coast line done in the same style, so I will be watching this project with great interest. Duly repped :)

And of course, welcome to the Guild, you will be a great addition to our motley crew.

04-11-2011, 11:26 PM
*WeeeOooo-WeeeOooo* Please Pull Over! This is the River Police and you are direct Violation of Section 1.1.1 of the River Act!

Seriously. It is a very beautiful map, very well done, and quite stunning in its simplicity. Unfortunately, you have a few river violations in the southern portion(do not feel Bad, I did a lot of them myself years ago too.

Basically the tennents of river formation are that water flows downhill following the path of least resistance. That said, a Lake may have many rivers feeding into it, but only one river egressing out. Additionally, a river will only fork when flowing downstream under very specific situations: To form an island,or in a river Delta.

Welcome to the Guild, and a very nice map once again!

Ryan K
04-12-2011, 12:09 AM
Uh-oh, River Police! I gots to hide my stash!

04-12-2011, 10:21 AM
Nice map. Although sorry to say, my first thought when I saw the title was, "The land of onanism"?

04-12-2011, 10:58 AM

Now I feel bad about myself.

Dude, that looks freakin AWESOME

04-12-2011, 12:22 PM
Excellent job. I am a huge fan of this style of map,especially if its for a novel. Readers like to be able to look at the place their reading about and this map is perfect for that. Have some rep. :)

04-12-2011, 10:53 PM
As NeonKnight meant to say, the rivers south of Lake Shehezar are a little implausible in terms of gravity-based physics. Also, the river flowing out of Sarloch would be at least the same size as the one flowing in if there isn't any underground outlet and the lake is roughly at equilibrium with its surrounding hydraulics systems.

That said, though, the composition is clear and the line treatment on the rivers is very well done. I like the use of multiple sizes of mountain symbols to give a sense of depth. Overall, I rate this map highly. It's certainly better than the stuff I come up with.

One thing that you might want to consider is the addition of a scale bar to help us understand how large an area we're looking at. The classic labeling technique is in distance units of the realm, but some folks prefer to describe their distances in terms of days. When time-based units are used, then those units might end up alongside the roads themselves rather than having an overall scale bar for the map.

04-13-2011, 03:28 AM
Also in the river violations category: Crosshatch river running sea-to-sea.

04-13-2011, 03:30 AM
Nice map. Although sorry to say, my first thought when I saw the title was, "The land of onanism"?

I did consider an "Oninism" joke, but what threatened to cause immature giggling was when I then saw Riker's Knob.

A Lost Cartographer
04-13-2011, 03:54 AM
Thanks so much for all the feedback! I'm pleased to hear that you all enjoyed the map. Cartography's always been a sort of silent fascination of mine (I tend to collect maps of the different cities I've lived in and display them prominently on the wall). I can look at maps for hours - it's almost like taking a little trip. I really enjoyed inventing one for myself because of this. It's an immense help toward immersing a person in a fictional environment. As Jtougas mentioned about readers liking to be able to reference the maps, this is exactly why I created it, if even only for myself. So much of the story revolves around the fictional histories of this world that it was becoming hard for even me to keep it straight without having a reference. And as I create this fictional history, creating the map for the world as well almost makes me feel a part of it in some way, you know? Like a participant rather than just a creator or spectator. That's hard to explain but I assume you guys understand.

While this is my first map, I should add that it's not exactly my first run-in with photoshop (so don't feel too bad, Murcu).

There are a lot of aspects to this that I obviously still need to learn. Thanks to NeonKnight and Waldronate for the input on the rivers. This was one thing I wasn't exactly sure about so I sort of just went at it as best I could. I'll try to look up some more guidelines for this for my next attempt. For some reason I was thinking about it in terms of the waters flowing inland from the coast (if only to work from a design aspect to draw out the points of the coves), which doesn't make a whole lot of sense in the real world. Incidentally, Waldronate, there is actually an underground outlet to Sarloch around Teuhn that coincides with the Pit of Sarnath. Teuhn is a kind of waterfall city on the edge of a canyon. The water flows off into the pit and through a cavern underneath the White Mountains, coming out the other side as the Wandering River (at least that was my plan). It's written into the story but with this simplistic map design I didn't have much of a way to enphasize this.

Good idea, also, about the scale bar. I like the concept of labeling it in terms of days because most of the traveling here is done on foot and that would be helpful roadside. Also, it would help me gauge a timeline for some events in the story.

A Lost Cartographer
04-13-2011, 03:58 AM
"Onin" is actually a reference to the Japanese Onin War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ōnin_War.

My wife is Japanese and I've spent a bit of time studying Japanese history.

04-13-2011, 04:11 AM
Yes, I'm familiar with the Onin War, I wasn't sure that was what you meant by your title. OK then. I am half Japanese (my mother is full blooded, born and raised in Japan.) You might not realize it, but I am working on a dark fantasy setting for Pathfinder (having already published some supplements already) called Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story.

Nice work so far. I will need to follow this.

Michael "GP" Tumey

04-13-2011, 02:38 PM
Very nice map. And as the others said before a very impressive first atempt :o
In my opinion the colors don't fit. Altough I like the limitation to few colors I think it would look better in a "two color old map style" (don't know how to discribe) a bit like in the Map of Karpentor.