View Full Version : How can I improve this map?

Sophia DeLuna
05-01-2012, 04:04 PM
Would anyone be so kind and give me some advise, please?
I made an attempt at a simple map. (I need this map for my novel, which I intend to publish as an ebook by the end of the week.)
I'm not totally happy with the map. I guess I used too many trees.
Any other suggestions as to what I could change to make it look better (and to enhance the readability for ereaders)?

Katto pointed out in my introduction thread that the trees are too big in relation to the mountains ... but when I make the trees smaller they are not really recognisable as trees and making the mountains much bigger produces a space problem with the names and it looks odd ... hm ... any suggestions how to solve this?

Another point was that there's too much black ... well, I guess if I use less trees that might help. What do you think?
I mean, using a lot of different colours doesn't really help if the ereaders are only b&w. Although, I will publish on Smashwords, so there are many different formats to choose and readers could download a copy for their computer to look at the pictures ... and since I have a lot of paintings in the book anyway ... hm ... I need to think about that ... Initially I would have loved to do a map according to ascension's atlas tutorial or something similar, but I couldn't manage that (only have Micrografx Picture Publisher), and I really want to finally publish this novel, so I opted for a simple map.

I'm not sure, Katto, what you meant by "give your islands/continents a bit more space." I'd love to make the map bigger (more water on all sides), but since it is meant to fit into an ebook it's already a bit too big, so how would I add more space?

Any other suggestions?
Here's the map again:


05-01-2012, 04:32 PM
Hi, using less trees may help (make sure they dont overlap) but I'm afraid they may look like black dots. The problem imo is that the trees are just too black and look to much like 'real' trees compared to the mountains. I suggest you use a more 'iconic' tree symbol in stead of these realistic brush. When looking at the mountains, these brushes (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3195-Gimp-image-hose-Tree-Brushes&highlight=tree+brush+set) may fit well. cheers, DJ

Sophia DeLuna
05-01-2012, 04:40 PM
Ah, that's a good idea! Thank you!
I can make simple tree brushes like that myself, just as I did with the mountains. It won't look as cool as the realistic brushes, but you are right, it would fit better with the mountains, and also with the simplicity of the map in general.
I'll try that tomorrow and will post an updated version when I'm done. :)

05-01-2012, 04:46 PM
Yes, Djekspek is right. Those outlined trees will look better I think.
If you have one of those ebook readers, convert it to a format it knows and you will see the result. I know they can show 8 to 16 grey shadings, so it is worth to experiment with it.

Sophia DeLuna
05-01-2012, 05:00 PM
I don't have a 'real' ebook reader. I use Calibre to check the formatted versions of the manuscripts. Smashwords automatically converts the .doc files into different formats and one has to check them. Calibre did the job fine so far. But I don't think it truly resembles an ereader as the book (or image for this matter) is still displayed on the computer screen. Thus, I have no way to experiment with an ereader. :( But I'd like to at least do the best I can, and I can only hope that it will work, or that people will download another format version to look at the images on their computer.

05-01-2012, 05:09 PM
I don't have a "real" ebook reader either, but I'm an avid reader of ebooks on my phone, so I checked out your map on the phone. I agree with Djekspek that the trees are much too dark, I'm looking forward to seeing your new brushes :) The size problem, at least on my phone (and I think it will also apply to kindles/nooks/etc) is not as much how big it is but the aspect ratio is making it hard to see the whole map. If you check out TheRedEpic's latest map (here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?18551-The-Lands-of-Tormay-The-Red-Epic)), that one has a perfect aspect ratio (as in pixels wide divided by pixels tall) for my phone and I would bet it's good for eInk readers too.

Sophia DeLuna
05-01-2012, 05:31 PM
Wow, that map looks cool!
Unfortunately I can't imagine any way to change my map into portrait format, as I don't want to change the look of the continents.
What I could do is, make the map even smaller, so that it horizontally fits the small screen (it would have to be 500 x 375, right?) Though that will certainly add difficulty with regards to legibility :(
I like the trees being green on the linked map! I'll definitely try that.

05-01-2012, 06:54 PM
Landscape is ok, it's the ratio that's key. So 500x375 would be ok, but so would 1000x750, or 1500x1125 ... you get the idea :)

Sophia DeLuna
05-02-2012, 04:13 AM
I'm sorry, Gidde, but I don't get it. If I remember correctly, I read in a thread here about ebook maps that 500x666 is the preferred size. So, 666x500 should be the landscape format. Also, when I upscale, 666x500 is 133% of 500x375 ... ok, it's 665x499 ... but does this 1 single pixel each really make a difference? Shouldn't it still be the same ratio?

I tried to downscale to 500x375, but then the names of the towns get awfully blurry, so I left it at 666x500 for now.

I think it looks a bit better now. Any other suggestions, or could I leave it like this?


05-02-2012, 08:34 AM
Maybe it's my phone with a funky aspect ratio ;) Looks much better with the green trees!

Sophia DeLuna
05-02-2012, 12:40 PM
Thank you, Gidde! Well, if it's not your phone and I should change something, then I hope someone will explain to me to what exact size I should change it.