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Justin Raven
08-02-2011, 02:05 AM
Greetings, everyone,

My name is Justin D. Russell. I'm an illustratour, cartographer, and writer of fantastic themes. I'm a young freelancer with many questions I hope you all will have at least some of the answers to. In any event I am pleased to make your acquaintance.

For starters, I attended the University of Cincinnati's D.A.A.P. (Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning) program before diving into life at the Columbus College of Art and Design, in Columbus, Ohio. I've always been fascinated by fantasy. First, it was comics, of which I was at least mildly interested for most of my pre-teenage life. I was never content to sit idly by and read my favourite stories. I would frequently write and illustrate my own.

My true calling arrived when a few friends invited me to join their gaming group after I spied the DM's personal campaign folder drawing of a wizard stuck into the clear sleeve of his binder's cover. It was Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition. I cannot begin to explain to you how this turned my world upside down. Larry Elmore's illustration of the dragon slayers at the beginning of the book stole my breath away. I remember begging my Mom to take me to the local Border's to get the book (then new on shelves). When I read the example of play, I remember thinking, '... People [I]play[I] this!? This is [I]awesome[I]!' I drew our characters, filled out lots of character sheets that never got used, and generally had a blast. Like comics, only more so, I was soon dissatisfied with just playing. I began writing my own campaigns, making my own unique worlds and races, and I haven't left Middle Earth, since :)

cartography is a chief love of mine. I've been doing it for a very long time, but only seriously within the last few years since embarking on my professional career. I'm new, and need some assistance. Do any of you make a living, or at least sell, your map making skills? Have any of you had any luck with illustrating other people's worlds? How did you go about it? I plan on reading many back posts to get some of these answers and learn more about you all (and, of course, look at amazing maps. I perused the featured work, and was completely blown away by what I saw. I believe joining this forum will be a wonderful experience), but I would also very much enjoy any feedback any of you would be willing to give. I'm eager to make some new friends and talk shop, here.

If any of you would like to see a sample of my cartography, I have many on my Facebook page: Epic Werkes Studio (the name of my business). There is a photo album entitled: 'Maps'. I'll also upload at least one sample of my work, here. It's the world of Rassilon, the land of Triple Ace Game's Hellfrost setting. It's about a year and half old, maybe two. I'm currently working on the other 'half' of the world.

37480

I do all maps by hand, only a little computer editing. I am fascinated by traditional media. I do all my own lettering, now. Putting those expensive typography classes to use :P

Any feedback, 'hello's', and just general hoopla, is very much appreciated. Nice to meet you all! I look forward to becoming a regular part of this forum :)

Many regards to all,

JDR

Website: www.justinrussellart.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Epic-Werkes-Studio/119899774705847
Blog: www.epicwerkesstudio.blogspot.com

NeonKnight
08-02-2011, 02:22 AM
Welcome to the Guild!

And I LUV the Map!

ravells
08-03-2011, 07:15 AM
Absolutely superb work. Great to have you on board, Justin and looking forward to seeing more. In terms of getting paid work for fantasy cartography we have a number of luminaries as members, Jon Roberts and Mike Schley among them. We have a (largely dormant) sub forum for professionals like yourself as well.

best

Ravs

Justin Raven
08-03-2011, 08:13 AM
Thank you, very much! That sounds great. I've already looked around, some, but what I saw was mind boggling. I can learn quite a bit from you folks.

ravells
08-03-2011, 08:20 AM
You're welcome! You will find this is an incredibly friendly community which gives constructive criticism and shares methods and material openly. I'm sure you'll feel right at home here!

Steel General
08-03-2011, 08:57 AM
Welcome Aboard!

Justin Raven
08-04-2011, 07:33 AM
Thanks, everyone! :)

jfrazierjr
08-04-2011, 07:53 AM
Great stuff Justin... glad to have you aboard... keep posting up any works you can based upon client license/copyright restrictions as we would love to see as much of it as possible!

krasimir
08-04-2011, 10:05 AM
Welcome! This is a really nice map (for traditional media that is).

Moe
08-04-2011, 10:26 AM
Welcome!

That's the kind of 'traditional' work I really love - nothing creates a style like this one but a deft hand and some pens.
Want to see more ;-)

>Moe

Justin Raven
08-05-2011, 08:49 PM
Thanks, everyone. I am mostly a traditional artist. An up-and-coming illustratour. I'm working on a majour project right now with a friend that will be sold via a gaming site. I'll keep you guys informed when it comes out. A product full of illustrations and maps by yours truly :)

I am going to take a gander, here, at more of the maps you guys have to offer. I just finished a big (personal) project for a home brewed campaign setting. I'll upload the map, here. One of my first photo shop maps. Just a quick thing to send to my gaming group to see if they are interested in gaming on this place :P

Thank you all for being so welcoming. I appreciate it. This is a wonderful community. My best friend actually informed me of your forum. We were going over some options and ideas for how to get connected (he's an illustratour, too, but I like the maps :P

37572).

Thanks,

J.

Justin Raven
08-05-2011, 09:00 PM
I've been stuck on the 'Krull' soundtrack, for awhile. There's just something about that movie, man... I wanted this map to be a representation of a very whimsical place, to carry an atmosphere of classic adventure and gaming. That is usually the look I am going for in my maps and art. Also the reason I use traditional materials. I love the ambiance of gaming from the 8o's through the early nineties. I strive to capture that 'light' feeling of adventure and questing. But it's not always about 'light'. There is darkness. I guess, the easiest way to sum it up is: epic adventuring. I like the Tolkien-style high fantasy created by him and his contemporaries, like E.R. Eddison and (cringe) C.S. Lewis. This world is a place where the geography doesn't quite make sense. But that is okay. I was striving for something whimsical. Any feedback is welcome.

Justin Raven
08-06-2011, 03:28 AM
Actually, I apologize if I offended anyone with the way I mentioned C.S. Lewis. I should clarify. That was a pretty sweeping remark. He was a very intelligent man, and I respect him greatly, as a writer and a thinker. I've read many of his books, philosophical, theological, and fictional. I just don't like some allegory.

Redrobes
08-06-2011, 06:24 AM
Welcome, nice maps. If you post that map in the finished maps page and read the sticky there then it might get nominated as a featured map and get on the sites front page. I think its a great map and easily worthy. There is a facebook page for the guild too (tho I am not an FB user).

tilt
08-07-2011, 04:18 AM
welcome to the guild - and cool maps - and you'll find a lot of good info in here I'm sure :)

Justin Raven
08-07-2011, 06:53 PM
Thanks, again, everyone :) I posted in the 'Finished Maps' section, Redrobes. Thanks for the recommendation :)

jfrazierjr
08-07-2011, 08:19 PM
Thanks, everyone. I am mostly a traditional artist. An up-and-coming illustratour. I'm working on a majour project right now with a friend that will be sold via a gaming site. I'll keep you guys informed when it comes out. A product full of illustrations and maps by yours truly :)

I am going to take a gander, here, at more of the maps you guys have to offer. I just finished a big (personal) project for a home brewed campaign setting. I'll upload the map, here. One of my first photo shop maps. Just a quick thing to send to my gaming group to see if they are interested in gaming on this place :P

Thank you all for being so welcoming. I appreciate it. This is a wonderful community. My best friend actually informed me of your forum. We were going over some options and ideas for how to get connected (he's an illustratour, too, but I like the maps :P

37572).

Thanks,

J.

I like most of this map...my one complaint is the forked river which happens fairly rarely and never lasts over generations of time.

Justin Raven
08-07-2011, 10:05 PM
Thank you for the critique. To be honest, I didn't even think about it. It makes sense. A river only ever wants to flow in one direction. Hence the ox-bow will eventually either become a lake or straighten out. Thank you :) Now that I'm looking at it, it is rather odd, logistically. A large oversight on my part. That's weird angle for a river to flow. That particular watercourse would not last very long, I think. For now, I am going to leave it. The world itself is whimsical. I very much respect your input. It's an important consideration (one I am a bit bothered I missed). Thanks, again.

J.

Coyotemax
08-08-2011, 03:02 AM
I must be missing something - I don't see any problems with the rivers, though maybe it's the way I'm interpreting the flow.

The way I see it is this:

Harper's sorrow flows into the Sea of Astyra, which is connected to the Middle Sea.
Dragon's Throat (tongue?) flows south and joins with South Run to become the Otterill (sp?)
Middle Sea empties northward through the South Run, and joins up with the Dragon's Throat to become with Otterill.
Dem Song joins the Otterill
Otterill becomes R. Orc which empties into the Eastern Sea.
River flowing into the Sea of Idd looks fine, not connected in any way on this map.

The only concern I can see is if the South Run actually is intended to flow southwards... If that's the case and it's not written in somewhere with specific details already, looks to be an easy fix with the flow mentioned above :)

jfrazierjr
08-08-2011, 10:23 AM
The only concern I can see is if the South Run actually is intended to flow southwards... If that's the case and it's not written in somewhere with specific details already, looks to be an easy fix with the flow mentioned above :)

Yep... that was my thought...My brain took the liberty of seeing the middle sea empty into an ocean, which may be totally false... If the middle sea empties to the north into South Run(but then why is it called South Run instead of North Run??) then this is fine....

Justin Raven
08-08-2011, 10:54 AM
:) Yeah, lol, the South Run is a southward moving river. The Middle Sea DOES empty into an ocean. So, as it stands, the Otterill is a completely ridiculous formation :P You know, to be honest, the only reason the Otterrill is there is because I liked the shape of the river and the direction it created for the map :P It was a completely design oriented decision, not a geographical one. I still get hung up lookiing at that line-shape the river makes and how it complements the north coast shape of the Middle Sea, lol. Blame my arts training :P

Justin Raven
08-08-2011, 11:28 AM
You know... upon further reflection, there could be some water spirit living there, directing the flow of water ;) Maybe, once, long ago, the Tongue actually curved around to become the Otterill. Over time, the river changed, or was forcibly redirected in another way, but the spirit was unwilling to give up her river. Could happen? It could also be that the island makes a small opening for the South Run, forcing the majourity of the water East. I'm grasping at straws :P

jfrazierjr
08-08-2011, 12:46 PM
You know... upon further reflection, there could be some water spirit living there, directing the flow of water ;) Maybe, once, long ago, the Tongue actually curved around to become the Otterill. Over time, the river changed, or was forcible redirected in another way, but the spirit was unwilling to give up her river. Could happen? It could also be that the island makes a small opening for the South Run, forcing the majourity of the water East. I'm grasping at straws :P

And in the absence of science, magic explains everything.. so don't worry about it to much..just know to think about if for next time.;)

Justin Raven
08-08-2011, 09:59 PM
Indeed. One of my favourite parts of mythology is how land features are explained by extraordinary events. Ireland's tales are full of such stories. 'The Tain' is amazing. I've always been fascinated by the mythic imagination. In fact, that is one of the coolest and most enriching aspects of Tolkien's works, the way places derive their names, or may have more than one, depending on the culture. So, for this little bit, a fun narrative will be involved to explain the extraordinary course of this river. Thank you all. I love hearing your comments and recommendations :) Good map making to you all!

jfrazierjr
08-09-2011, 08:57 PM
I just looked around and found your DA profile and I love your cavern map... that is one seriously cool piece of work!