View Full Version : [WIP] The Dominions of the Monarchy of St. Peter (fantasy)

10-11-2011, 05:46 PM

Well, I seem to have time to burn recently and little enough to do with it, so I've been fiddling around with my campaign setting and my hand-lettering. The area in the map-to-be is basically a region colonised by immigrants from across the vast steppes to the south, some of the features are older (like the "straight road" to nowhere). The kingdom has regular problematic run-ins with steppe nomads, hence the large number of ruins along the southern edge.

This is basically a straight scan, so I check how the ink looks on a screen. I've still got to get rid of the pencil lines, add some other information and names, probably a small legend and stipple the water edges. Then it'll be over to the computer to add county border shading, some colours to everything, clean up some of the ink lines and finally texturize everything.

10-11-2011, 06:19 PM
Lukc! That map just rocks! I would love to see that as a Cartographers' choice map. It's absolutely beautiful!

Unfortunately I cannot give you any rep right now, but I invite everyone else to. This is some of the finest hand drawn work I've ever seen. Your letter-work in particular is amazing.

10-11-2011, 07:57 PM
I also agree, the feeling is very near to an autentic map of such an era.

10-12-2011, 03:44 AM
Yup. That there is a very nice map. :)

10-12-2011, 04:31 AM
That is beautifully done!

10-12-2011, 07:26 AM
Wow, thanks for all the positive comments! :) They really make a difference for motivation, no two ways about it!

Anyway, here's version 2. I've erased the pencil marks and added stippling for the water edges as well as the name of the ocean (somehow I completely forgot to add that!). The next step is to digitally fix a few of the letters where I missed lines or missed the horizontal (oops) and at one point I accidentally turned what was intendet to be a point of interest into a church (oopsie, again). Having a digital finishing stage makes such mix-ups much less tragic. I remember the old days, when I'd draw a map and then get a few strokes wrong and blam, I felt like I'd ruined the whole thing.

After that - wind rose, legend, title and borders - but I'll do those on a separate page, scan them and add them to the map digitally.


10-12-2011, 10:16 AM
Looks magnificent. Many, many years ago, before computers were freely available to all, I spent a lot of time doing calligraphy. For the last 20 or so years I've barely touched a pen since I use a keyboard most of the time, but seeing your map really makes me want to have a go at doing a hand drawn and lettered map. And as you say, mistakes need not necessarily be fatal.

10-12-2011, 11:35 AM
Lukc - that's really, really good. The finishing touches like stippling the water do make it >pop< even more.

The last handdrawn map I did (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=390&attachmentid=30812) I was so scared of lousing up the lettering that I did all the labels on mylar, and digitally composited the two layers. Good thing too - I'm better at making decent letter forms than at arranging them.

I don't need to wait til you're done to add my smidgen of rep - bravo!

10-12-2011, 02:13 PM
Thanks for the rep ... I fear I'm so new here, I'm just slowly realising it has something to do with the little sherrif stars on the posts and such :D. Also thanks for all the nice comments, they really give some much needed motivation ... for example when you plan on spending a few hours ... umm ... stippling. For example. :P

I have to admit, my thumb is starting to cramp from all the details and stippling, fortunately that's mostly all done. I scanned in some extra details at 900 dpi so I have enough resolution to work and resize at will (the original is app. 10,000 x 7,500 pixels) ... and realised I'd left far too little room for the legend, the title, the compass and fings like that. After some fiddling, I gave up and expanded the canvas, adding a few hundred pixels more at the top (which also meant I had to draw a bit more coast, but I cheated a bit and did that on the Wacom). I had to fiddle around a bunch of the texts as well and added a few digitally, just to make it seem like I didn't forget some things.

Next step: colour. First I'll probably colour natural features a dark green-brown and water features a dark blue, to differentiate them from political features (black) and give each of those its own level. Then I'll add a wash layer to get basic terrain colours and another layer for the water. Finally, I'm going to add shading to the political borders. I'll probably go for flat coloring for those with a lightly feathered inner edge and use some old-school pinks, yellows, sky-blues and light greens ... or something. Let's see how it goes ...


10-12-2011, 03:06 PM
Does it need colour? Looks good as is to me.

10-12-2011, 03:11 PM
I think it looks great in b&w but am curious to see how the colour would work on it too!

10-12-2011, 03:59 PM
Of course it needs colour! Plus, it doesn't cost anything - it's just a few extra layers. Anyway, I'm calling it a day, since my eyes are going to fall out from staring at a screen so much. I've coloured the texts and laid down the basic colour areas. Then I went to town on the little helmet thingy and realised I'm too tired to continue, since I'm wasting time on rather unessential details instead of working bit by bit. So, to wrap off tonight, I made a few backup copies of the "ink layers" (i.e. the black and whites), another one of the coloured version, then slammed the layers together, resized, plastered a few quick textures, ctrl+E'd again and saved for web ... and the colour version still ended up at 1.77 MB :(

Anyhow, here it is ... the rough "concept" coloured version.


Now to take a bit of a break, since tomorrow there'll be some actual "work" to do ... when I get to play with this next: painting in a bit of vegetation, water shading and some political boundaries. Hm. And then it's done I think, except for a wee bit of fiddling with the title and legend. Cool ... I actually suspect I only have about 3 more hours to work on this thing.

Note*: hmmm ... the more I look at this, the more I like the colours as they are ... maybe I'll skip the vegetation shading and just lightly indicate some political boundaries. I might even first do the border and then see if I feel like adding anymore colours. >:)

10-12-2011, 04:51 PM
OMG...that looks yummy!

10-13-2011, 08:23 AM

Oh goodness! What happened?

Ah, the first draft of the political boundary layer ;)

10-13-2011, 10:39 AM

Well, here's a few more layers. Political boundaries and some shading for the land, water and details. I might tone all those layers down a bit more, though. Not sure yet. Next I have to decide whether to add a border (probably) and then ... well, then it's done. Just resize this mammoth (the full size .jpg is currently 50 MB while the .psd is 600 MB), slap on some "ageing texture" and it's good to go.

What do you all think? Too much shading?

Anyway, the big black bitch* is letting me know it's time for her walkie, so off I go.

(*female black great dane)

10-13-2011, 11:04 AM
The shading looks perfect to me. Might be worth trying slightly more desaturated colours but maybe the ageing texture will have that effect anyway. Beautiful stuff!

10-13-2011, 11:39 AM
You know, that's exactly what I was thinking. Kill the saturation by 20-25% ...

10-13-2011, 01:39 PM
And ... it's done. I'm just not sure which I prefer - the horribly aged version is probably better for display:


While the somewhat "younger" version is definitely better for gaming use ... not to mention the black and white original.


The textures that went into this included old paper, concrete and scraped canoes.

Now to decide which of these goes into "Finished Maps" - or does the thread get moved?

Blaidd Drwg
10-13-2011, 01:48 PM
I first thought the map didn't need colouring (and I stand by that), but the coloured version is just awesome. I prefer #1, but you're right about what's most useful for gaming purposes.

Anyway, this deserves a reward. I'm drooling on my keyboard here.

10-13-2011, 01:52 PM
You know, you're right. The bw is also great ... which gives me a thought ... since I have all those layers stacked together it should be a matter of five minutes to do ...


And here it is, in glorious black and white, lightly textured (I couldn't help myself), with bordure and little fiddly bits.

10-13-2011, 02:20 PM
Just saw this on DA. It looks great! I think I prefer the 'oldest' version, it fit's the style (which I love btw), best.

10-13-2011, 02:56 PM
The text in the cartouche of the glorious black and white version is in need of some shading.

As for the coloured versions..... I am glad you can't see me drooling into my keyboard.

10-13-2011, 03:30 PM
This is an absolutely wonderful map.

10-13-2011, 04:25 PM
I love the colour versions, but the bw is still my fave, especially now you've got the paper texture going. Repost the final map in the 'finished map' section....I would not be surprised if this became a featured map.

10-13-2011, 04:30 PM
I also realy like the last B/W version most out of the other versions. The colour distracts me from your beoutiful linework.

10-13-2011, 11:59 PM
This is beyond gorgeous. Probably one of the best maps I've ever seen.

10-14-2011, 12:21 AM
Stunning! Really lovely work - especially all the hand drawn flourishes. This is a map that oozes character.

10-14-2011, 04:35 AM
Wow, I'm overwhelmed. Thanks for all the really nice comments, they really made my morning coffee :D. Anyway, Freodin, I agree the cartouche could use some embellishment ... so ... here it is: the final bw (now ALSO available in it's original 90x70 cm glory, but I'm not uploading that).


Now I'm going to wander off to the finished maps section and repost 'em there.

10-14-2011, 06:23 PM
I've been wondering why this map just pushes all the right buttons for me. I think it's because it gives the illusion (and believe me it's an illusion) that I could draw it. It looks like something a Victorian explorer would produce in his notebook using just a crowquill pen. It also has a really retro 80's RPG feel about it. It walks a perfect line between amateur and professional (even though it's utterly professional). It's just perfect.

If I was an RPG game publisher and wanted a Victorian or Retro 80's RPG map, I'd be breaking your door down about now.

It's almost the antithesis of mapping by software. Just incredible.

I love the fact that you used a computer font to do the copyright...it just highlights that the rest of the map is hand drawn....

I think I'm going to throw away my computer now and pick up my pens.

This is one of the most inspiring maps I've ever seen posted here.

10-15-2011, 12:21 PM
Ravells, thanks for the lovely post. Could I cite you on it on my DA page?


10-15-2011, 12:24 PM
lol sure! I'd be honoured!