View Full Version : First map, try not to laugh

06-21-2012, 02:29 AM
ok, so I've just been playing around with gimp (just got it, no idea how to use it) have a partial map, kinda want to add a few things but, since i've never really done this using a program and never really shown anyone outside my circle of friends my maps i'm kinda shy about it, even though it's just a map. i'm just so.... confused on what to do next. any idea's and helpful criticism?


*CaspieBadKid buries her head like an ostrich*

06-21-2012, 03:25 AM
I like it!

06-21-2012, 04:25 AM
Hi CaspleBadKid and welcome here!

It's a good start. Maybe you could first think a pen in hand and do some sketches about what you want to put on your map: other mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, different kind of forests, think about the scale too, etc. You can also make this sketch directly with the app you use...

After this first and I think quite important step - because you'll have to answer practical questions that will rapidly make the map - you can go and work out your map with a program like gimp. You'll find in the forum many tips and advices for this particular program that will be usefull for you. I put some basic link for you:




Then you'll just need practicing and patience... Good luck!

06-21-2012, 11:16 AM
That's a fine first map for playing around with an unfamiliar program! Sadly I am not overly familiar with Gimp as I've been playing around in Photoshop but as mentioned above, tutorials abound!

06-21-2012, 05:47 PM
Well the compass rose doesn't really match the overall style of the map. Also, I think the rough edges of the map could use a little TLC. I'd recommend browsing through the tutorials section and having a look at some of the old-map style tutorials. Might give you some ideas for how to improve on the style you are working with.


06-21-2012, 08:32 PM
There was a thread recently (in the last month or 6 weeks?) that had some hints on making hand-drawn mountains like this look more 'rooted'. The gist was to *not* saw off your symbols flatbottomed, but include some ridgelines stretching toward the viewer, meaning they'll extend below the left and/or right edges. Does that make sense?

The ragged edge could be sharper, somehow. The way you have the shadow works if it's being cast on a layer of clouds, but not on a table. Or on a sheep - that's it; are you saying the world rides on the back of a giant sheep? That's genius! The parchment texture isn't working for me - looks a bit more like veins on a slab of marble. Which would be a very interesting substrate for a map, but again, the ragged edge would kinda clash. On the other hand that would make the compass rose work better - kind of 'shiny' it is...

Go ahead and try some rivers 'n vegetation 'n human-features 'n labels 'n stuff.

Uhhh, you do realize that ostriching one's head constitutes waving another part of one's anatomy high, right? :-) Which would be a far more tempting "kick me" target, IF we of the Guild rolled that way. But no, we are a classy bunch, never taking cheap shots, always trying to be supportive. I'm with the others - fine start, just keep going. Tackle some of the Gimp tutorials - even if they don't lead to styles exactly like you want, the techniques they show you are multipurpose.

<goes off mumbling to self: the world is a slab of marble on a universe-sheep, why didn't I think of that??? >

06-21-2012, 09:18 PM
thanks guys, i appreciate the help, basically i've just been trying to do things on my own so i remember them. i mean, of course i'm going to have to have help to figure out more complex things, but for now i'm just working on learning how to manage simple things without having to have everything spelled out for me so it'll be easier to do it from memory. idk, i'm kinda independent that way. and stubborn :/ but i appreciate the comments.

@jbgibson i cried while reading your comments. next time i laugh that hard i'll have to remember to breathe.

06-21-2012, 09:32 PM
Oh and for the record, i like my mountains!!!!! LOL basically this map isn't suppose to be top of the line realistic. as i've been playing around with the story behind the map. it was given to the character by his father, who was an adventurer(of some sort, havent nailed done the deets on the dad yet) and the father created the map himself. this is going to be a secret, magical map, which i intend on making 2 versions, the second being more detailed and alot less shabby. it is one of 5 magical items in my story. a pair of boots, a cloak, a sword, a wand. and this map. the map is going to be similar to the marauders map from harry potter, except that the only foot prints shone on the map, come from the boots. basically this is going to be in place in order to tell your EXACT location. the map is also going to have a zooming option and searching option to the character once unlocked. it's basically going to be like GPS on an ipad .... except more precise, less technological, and definitely less annoying.

06-22-2012, 02:22 AM
Any better?


i'm thinking i may take out the color but i kinda like it.. idk, it was just a test thing... idk, tell me what ya think

06-22-2012, 07:48 AM
thanks guys, i appreciate the help, basically i've just been trying to do things on my own so i remember them. i mean, of course i'm going to have to have help to figure out more complex things, but for now i'm just working on learning how to manage simple things without having to have everything spelled out for me so it'll be easier to do it from memory. idk, i'm kinda independent that way. and stubborn :/ but i appreciate the comments.

Best advice I can give to pretty much any mapmaker: learn to use and love both layers and layer masks. There are very, very, very, very, very few times when an eraser should ever come into play as your building a map(IMHO.. but then again, I am a layer mask snob), especially on a layer with some type of texture(not that you have that specific issue here, but just a general note to all.). I lover layer masks so much that I created a short (crappy) tutorial for them(link in sig.) On a side note, most of the tutorials on here will use layer masks, so the sooner to become comfortable with them, the easier most of the tutorials will be.

06-23-2012, 11:53 AM

i'm new here, and i really shouldn't be critiquing anyone yet, but that is a really nice improvement. i actually kind of like the color. however, i did see that on the west side of the main landmass, the green looks like it was colored on using a crayon :). if it is possible, i would try to fill that in a little more. also, the inkblots. are those part of the texture that you used for the background? i feel like they detract from a really nice looking map, but then, that's just me. if those are not wanted, and are part of the background texture, then i would be willing to share a very nice parchment background that i found a while ago. just let me know if you want to see it.
anyways, that is a VERY nice looking map for a first map, and i guarantee that my first map (and only map, i guess...) did not look that nice. i really like the smooth look it has. keep up the good work.


06-23-2012, 05:39 PM
@Vorn, Actually the spots are indeed the background but they are intended since i made the back ground myself using a tutorial by RobA. my map doesn't look as amazing as his but i do have to say i like my new paper texture better than my old one. but since they are there by design i may lighten them, if that would keep from being as distracting. Sharing the background texture would be awesome, because being a newbie and trying to run tutorials in a program that you've never used before is indeed quite frustrating and the texture may help. As for the green, in my newest additions it is one of the things that i've already fixed and i didn't notice how drawn on it looked until i posted it here, but thanks for noticing, because it took me several times looking at it to find any mistakes that needed correcting. Thanks again for the advice.


P.s. Here is the link to the tutorial i used in my second version of this map

06-23-2012, 07:12 PM
i had an idea. if you wanted to keep the inkblots - because it does give the map a kind of well-used feel, then maybe put them on the right side of the map, where it wouldn't be covering parts of the continents, and if you wanted you could make them a bit darker, so it looks more like a stain - to me it looks like water spilled right now. of course, these are just my ideas, and its your map, so do it how you want it. as for the texture, here it is.
unfortunately it isn't very big. also keep in mind how it gets darker near the edges. you may need to crop out the edges if you wanted to tile it as a background. anyways, i look forward to seeing how this map turns out! oh, one more thing: does the continent have a name?


06-23-2012, 08:14 PM
I could move the ink blots, that makes more sense to do it that way anyway. i didn't do that in the original creation because i actually wasn't sure if i was going to use the paper as my map. i like the texture, it looks like it was used but not too worn and i like the various lines in the texture, will consider using this in a future endeavor. And yes, my continents name is Se'Lania.

06-24-2012, 08:00 AM
The second map looks better in my opinion. The coastlines look blurry in contrast with the mountains though. You might want to change that to get a more consistent look. If you are searching for great aged paper backgrounds have a look at this thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?7564-Make-your-own-Aged-Paper-textures) started by Coyotemax. He has included there some awesome hand-made textures. I keep using them in my endeavors into mapping time and again. (Not that I finished anything yet. :P)

06-25-2012, 02:54 AM
basically, the inconsistency is there because i sorta want it to look like the continent was drawn and then someone used watercolor or some other sort of way for the paper to soak up pigment and then the other details were added. i appreciate your advice though :D and the link is very much appreciated.


06-25-2012, 05:24 AM
Well, now that you provided an explanation I buy it.^^ It's nice that you think about the "history" of the making of the map. Very creative approach. :)

06-25-2012, 07:56 PM
well, along with this map i'm creating a world that i hope to turn into a book, or maybe just something to run a D&D campaign in, but i have different parts of the civilization planned out. i'm creating religions, history, myths, my own creatures. i truly want this world and this map to come alive and be something more than just a drawing.

06-27-2012, 05:51 PM
I think that you are close to achieving just that. :)