View Full Version : Alithan, the White Land

07-29-2011, 06:42 PM
New map for a very old project I still love very much :) I started building this world when I was about 12 years old. Alithan is the smallest continent and not even as big as Europe. A bit bigger than Great Britain maybe; I'm not sure about it myself.
I used old (2005?) hand drawn mountains for this and added anything else in Photoshop. I'm not quite satisfied how these elements fit together. The mountains look too much hand drawn, everything else too digital.
A big island in the east is still missing.

I'm thinking about using individual hand drawn icons for each city/village (or at least about 4-5 different ones) like on Clercons map of Armadien (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=36389&d=1307521347)


07-29-2011, 06:50 PM
river anomalies.... bad... real bad....really really bad.... mountains good.. need a higher res version though to be able to give more details.

07-29-2011, 07:08 PM
The overall shape is rather reminiscent of Great Britain actually. As for the rivers, well actually you may be OK. If your landmass is a couple of hundred miles across, like the UK, then most of the river islands are plausible sizes. You have an unusual number of them, but not impossible I think. I would reconsider the island at the junction halfway up the westernmost river, that does look odd, and the large island downstream in that same river should perhaps only have one channel around it active, and the other silted up.

07-30-2011, 03:41 AM
You may be right, jfrazierjr, but "bad... real bad" does not help a lot ;) What exactly is bad? I remembered pictures like this (http://www.quagga-illustrations.de/Media/Shop/h0015988.jpg) when drawing them, as those rivers are not straightened - so I thought those river anomalies would be plausible then.

Yeah, cantab, I invented the shape several years ago and then wasn't aware it looks so much like Great Britain :D I won't change it now, though I'm not happy with it. Thanks for your suggestions :)

07-30-2011, 04:19 AM
I can see JFrazierJr's point. Sure rivers can have islands, but your rivers (especially the central one) actually splits and depending on actual scale, the split runs for miles - creating a huge island really. Which is not realistic at all. Also the river to the south, while there some highlands nearby it is actually fairly close to the sea, yet the river runs clear to the other side of the island. Realistically that river should go to the sea close to the origin and not run to the opposite side. Being that I am the 'river police' - I'd suggest you fix those rivers.

In fact, not knowing the scale, but guessing at Britain sized or larger, river islands should be imperceptable at this scale - there could be dozens of islands, but at the viewing distance should not even be visible.

I hear the excuse, oh the gods of the rivers are doing that, and perhaps one's fantasy elements can alter the realities of geography sometimes, yet I have never seen evidence that such an excuse is justifiable. You'd never have an overwhelming reason to do such a thing, and it would have to be plain in the backstory to be so. Really, saying so (which you haven't) is just a poor excuse.

There is a real world river in western Asian that has an island that is 25 miles long, still the split in the river - this island is hardly a mile wide. Its the only such gigantic island on a river on Earth. It is hardly an exception. Your river island is just too big, way too big and much too wide.

Mountains are nice though.

For such an otherwise excellent map design - I would fix those rivers. It would do the rest of the map justice.

"Just a warning ticket for now - fix those rivers!"


PS: the guild has a 'river police' for a reason, you know.

07-30-2011, 04:31 AM
Regarding your mix of hand-drawn elements and digital - I do that a lot in my maps. However, all line work, including mountains, rivers, coastline should all be done as hand-work. Keep the digital aspect to color only and this would look a ton better. I know you started this when you were 12 - and at that age, this is an excellent quality map. Now that you're no longer 12, its time to fix the rivers and create a truly artistic masterpiece. Don't you think?

07-30-2011, 05:34 AM
It's not that I am not willing to fix the rivers - I just didn't know what is wrong with them ;) I have to admit that you're right about not visible river anomalies at this scale... I did not even think about that. I'm not a fan of "gods doing something" against physical laws, at least when it comes to such profane things as rivers.

I thought about the river in the south, too... I will add some mountains/hills and change it's flow because it's quite important that it runs roughly like it runs now.

I'll work on it! :)

07-30-2011, 11:11 AM
I'd have to look for it, but there are two threads on rivers specifically in the General Forum and I think, the Mapping Elements Forum, however I couldn't find them, though they are a couple years old. Perhaps one of the CL's can find it and link it into this thread. These discuss rivers and all the various anamolies that could exist and those that could not, along with why. They are worth reading for general knowledge and future river designs for anyone.


07-30-2011, 12:17 PM

Like the others have said, it's all about scale. The map at the link above shows the Brahmaputra river, which flows through India and Bangladesh, and has some of the largest river islands in the world. The largest river island in the world (Majuli) is actually that river as well (163 sq mi) - you can spot it just above the 'R' in Brahmaputra River.

07-30-2011, 03:16 PM
Essential River Guidelines for Mapping (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2927-Essential-river-guidelines-for-mapping). The other thread is linked from the most recent post in that one.

07-30-2011, 05:25 PM
You may be right, jfrazierjr, but "bad... real bad" does not help a lot ;) What exactly is bad?Sorry for being so short... I only had a few seconds.. Bottom line, rivers don't do that, or at least rarely and never permanently(in cosmic time scale). Eventually one branch or the other will win out and the other will dry up since liquids will always take the path of least resistance.

07-31-2011, 11:26 PM
I actually love those mountains.

The forests look pretty decent as well, except for a couple spots, like on the southern coast, where the forest stroke outline (?) rests right on the shore, creating a really heavy coastline. I'd maybe trim that forest back away from the coast 3 or 4 pixels.

Overall, looks like a really good start.