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View Full Version : So I have just landed a book deal and needed to make a map....



T.B. McKenzie
05-12-2011, 07:10 AM
And after a little searching I found this place, and then an excellent tutorial you all know about -- Ascensions' Atlas style.

Anyway, I tried my hand at it and here is the result. Would love to get some feedback from the pros.
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Thanks again for taking a look.

T.B

Eilathen
05-12-2011, 08:57 AM
Congrats, man!

I really like the basic map style and the mountains are very nice. Not sure about the forest, though. It took me some time to even see the forests! And I am not sure if the forest-style mixes well with the rest of the map.
Also, this kind of "bending the letters into form" you have going, for example with the Crystal Mountains, is kind of distracting to me.

Anyway, hope that does not sound too harsh. Just my first impression and my two cents.

Oh and please tell us a bit about your upcoming book!

T.B. McKenzie
05-12-2011, 09:09 AM
Congrats, man!

I really like the basic map style and the mountains are very nice. Not sure about the forest, though.


It took me some time to even see the forests! And I am not sure if the forest-style mixes well with the rest of the map.
Also, this kind of "bending the letters into form" you have going, for example with the Crystal Mountains, is kind of distracting to me.

Anyway, hope that does not sound too harsh. Just my first impression and my two cents.

Oh and please tell us a bit about your upcoming book!

What would you suggest for the forest? more of a linear render like the mountains? I was going for something more textured, but It kinda gets lost.

I agree again about the curvy labels, but I needed to differentiate between land feature titles and place titles... I guess I just got photoshop happy.

No no, not too harsh at all. this is what I wanted to hear. Everyone I show this too around me just says its looking great, and I need some harsh internet objectivity.

Yeah.... okay. here goes.

The basic premise is a world of ubiquitous magic and we follow the story of one boy who has no magic at all. Turns out that having no magic makes him quite important.

Can't really say too much more at the moment. In the middle of editing and cover design. I'll be making a shout-out to this place though when it gets printed.

T.B

jtougas
05-12-2011, 10:26 AM
Looks really good. I think if you added just a hint of color to the forests that would make them stand out a bit. The curved text isn't bad at full resolution but I can see it getting hard to read as the image gets smaller. All in all a great piece. :)

Katto
05-12-2011, 12:04 PM
Nice map! As mentioned you should work on the forest. You should also think about how large the map will be printed and at which dpi and how many colors are used. Details could get lost and as JT pointed out the labels will be hard to read.

Dygash
05-12-2011, 03:17 PM
Hi TB, as one writer to another, congratulations on your book deal! I hope you have great publishing success. Your map looks very good, reminds me of 'The Hobbit' map.

T.B. McKenzie
05-12-2011, 05:41 PM
Thank you for all your comments.

The ratio of the current map is the double page spread of a paperback, and I think they print in 200 dpi. No colour though after the cover, so have to play with greyscale. The original file was much darker and the forest stood out more, but I played with an adjustment layer of levels, to try and make it all a little more vivid, but I think i've lost some detail.

Thanks again for your thoughts, I'll post a few more variations soon and see what you all think.

T.B

jbgibson
05-12-2011, 10:30 PM
Well, you get unhelpful comments like "pretty good"... because it looks good. 200 dpi at paperback size -- I bet a lot of the beauty gets lost. The fine forest detail will probably turn to mud. One thought - the reason for your light water, dark land is to immediately tell the two apart, right? Well since your places of interest are mostly on land, why don't you flip it? Dark lettering and symbology against light land would get you better contrast.

A further possibility would be to make two versions. Go simpler, starker for print, and indulge yourself with color and additional detail in a version of any resolution and complexity you like, online. Annotate the in-book one with your URL, promising 'additional detail at the website'. A side benefit would be a modest stream of readers hitting the site on into the future, where they can of course find out about further books by you :-). Heck, make it a community, where the readers' most frequently asked questions get answered in future stories.

Ymmv - I am neither a publisher nor a published author. But I would sure hunt down added info online ... in fact I have. :-)

T.B. McKenzie
05-17-2011, 05:21 AM
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Thanks for all your comments.... Have finally had a minute to make some changes....

The idea of having a bigger, more detailed and coloured version online is excellent.... And I think i'll add one to my blog when more time comes my way.

Sheesh, I thought having a job, wife and kid was hard; but you add an editor and a deadline to the mix and things get complex. Soon I may have to give up my quest to get all the gold stars on angry birds.

Thanks again for your insights... any more are always welcome.

And for those that are interested, I started a blog about my book a little while ago, back when I had no agent, and no book deal.

http://magickless.blogspot.com/

T.B

Clercon
05-17-2011, 06:06 AM
I say that the forest looks much better on this version. But I'd prefer to have the sea dark and the land light. But that is just my opinion.
And congrats to the book deal.

Eilathen
05-17-2011, 06:39 AM
Much better with these trees! Some trees look like they're washed out (color-wise) or something, but i guess that's because of the font overlaping it (same situation on some of the mountains). Not sure if this can be fixed?!

And i will take a look at your blog as soon as i find some time.

Flegel
05-23-2011, 12:36 PM
I love your map!

If I'm allowed to give some suggestions (I am not a very experienced Cartographer):

Looks like you have different Layers for River/Road and multiply them each with Parchment-layer to make it look like drawn on parchment. Maybe save the map and try to combine River- and Road- Layer (Place Road on top). After reducing to one layer, you'll get rid of the river shining to your Roads when multiplied.

Some of your roads are drawn on mountain, or over sea.

Would be great to see bridges crossing the river (place them on Top in the same Layer as Road/River).

T.B. McKenzie
05-23-2011, 04:30 PM
Ahhh... these are both excellent ideas. I had thought about the bridge thing, but was worried I'd have to make em too big so that they'd be seen, and then it could all get a little messy. But I will give it a go.

From your ability to see exactly how i'd made this too the comments on how to fix it, I'd say you're a little more than an inexperienced Cartographer.

Thank you.

T.B. (http://magickless.blogspot.com/)

Schley
05-25-2011, 03:29 PM
Nice map! My only suggestion would be to think about how you could bring the various elements together stylistically. For instance, you have some smooth Photoshop glows and surface effects going on the clash a bit with the hand inked style of the mountains. Not too big of an issue for readability, but it does seem a little visually confusing. Just keep in mind how your creating the image. If you have too many tricks going on in too many styles, it can hurt the image overall. I would be careful using elements cut from the web as well. You want to give the piece your own flavor. That's where the magic is!

Keep up the good work!

Mike

T.B. McKenzie
06-01-2011, 08:46 AM
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So I finally got around to doing a little update based on all the suggestions I have received so far. Still a while away from publication day, so will be able to make more fine tunes.

Not sure if I haven't jumped the shark with this map. I made my own compas rose after someone pointed out that ripping one from the web, even from a free clipart gallery, can be awkward and spoil the magic a little. Also, have made 2 landscape overlays of desert and farmland. This only adds to one of the comments that I already have too conflicting styles at play here; realism and sketch. I tried a more stylistic render of the farmland, but it looked stupid, as did wavy lines for the desert.... any suggestions?

Thanks again for all the comments. The more specific the better!

TB (http://magickless.blogspot.com/)