View Full Version : Ukelmo - first map of the Elvish kingdom

10-10-2012, 11:01 PM
Hi everyone, I've been a member for a while but not posted yet really. I've read around some tuts and tossed about some ideas to produce this my first map.

Ukelmo is the first region I've mapped in detail but it is part of Arnalath a single continent world. I'm esentially writting fantasy tales to keep myself amused but the mapping helps organise my thoughts and structure the world I'm creating from scratch. I'm currently working up how Elves came into existence and this region represents the place of their 'creation'.

The map isn't fully labled yet as I'm still working through the finer detail and names but I thought I'd share this for comments. The aim is to create somthing that looks ancient, I'd like to have some wrinkles/ tears in the end map but it's hard to know were to place them until I know what everything else is.

Any comments, thoughts or advice are welcome.


10-11-2012, 05:08 PM
Hi there pengod! Overall I think the map looks very nice, but there are a few things that I would critique. First of all, I noticed that there is a bit of inconsistency in lighting direction in your map: while the hills all have shadows on the eastern side, the houses and towers have shadows facing north-west. Second, the border sort of looks a bit odd to my eye, and is a bit distracting. I'd recommend either only having one set of neatlines, or, if you prefer to keep both, making both sets of neat lines the same width. I'd also recommend perhaps turning down the opacity of the border layers a bit, so it's not quite as bold. Otherwise, I think the map looks really nice. The colors are fabulous to BTW.


10-11-2012, 05:25 PM
I would agree with arsheesh's comments and add that some of the labels are very faint (specifically the ones in the water)They are hard to read. I really love the feel of this map. I can see the story in it. I also LOVE that fabric texture. Great job keep it up !! :)

10-11-2012, 06:22 PM
I really like the script and the hand drawn look of the mountains, but by comparison it makes the forests look flat. If you need them I have lots of name gennies on my blog. Hope you find what you're looking for.

10-11-2012, 07:54 PM
Thanks for the advice I hadn't even noticed the double border.

10-12-2012, 03:25 PM
I would work on the lettering placement, as well as the fact that in some areas, the lines of your map extend past the border. (look on the right side).

10-12-2012, 03:35 PM
If I may add my own point of critique: the border is too clear, too digital for such a nice handdrawn map. You shoudl replace it with something more in style.

Overall though: a wonderful map!

10-12-2012, 09:22 PM
Here are my observations/suggestions:

The contrast is all over the place, particularly some of the labels that are barely noticeable.

Try to think of how the map was made and let that guide how you present things. Was it drawn with pen and ink, painted with watercolours, stamped with woodcut blocks? Think about the physical properties of those media and try to replicate them where they are used. If there's something on the map that is just 'there' without any any particular medium behind it, it will make the map look artificial. The nealines are a clear example of this, but so is the overly clean boundaries of the background colours which look like they were meant to look painted. It would look more convincing if it didn't line up with the drawn elements quite so perfectly. For instance, along the coast, the blue could cross over onto the land slightly in places (can conversely the brown could cross over into to the sea.

The neatline and scale really don't fit. Besides the way they look rather obviously not drawn, they just don't mesh stylistically with the rest of the map. They are far too modern.

The mountains/hills are problematic. The look like they were scaled at different factors from each other which makes them look different from each other in an artificial sort of way. There are also some odd white artifacts on some of them.

Your label placement could do with some work. You should try to avoid placing labels across other features like rivers, roads, and coastlines. If it's completely unavoidable, try to adjust the glyph placement/kerning so that the label has a gap to "let the symbol through" without touching. You might also want to try putting labels for linear and area features on paths.

There's some pixelation on some of your rivers and coastline. It looks as if you upsampled the map before adding the other features. It'd be a good idea to smooth these out.

10-23-2012, 11:01 PM
I'm not really a fan of this map.

The color scheme is drab, and I find myself wondering why this supposed Elven map, or map of an Elven land, is so lacking in enchantment value.

I like it better when it is not zoomed in, compared to when it is zoomed in - particularly in regard to the visual appeal of the mountains are concerned.

The font is not one that I particularly care for, but that would likely be a less glaring issue for me, if you had also bothered to sub-title the various Elven place names in English. In essence, I yearn for a common frame of reference, so that I can better grasp and better understand the land that I am looking at.

The key, itself, is barren. It's bare. It's bereft of interest. Why isn't there a visual Elven touch, there? The font, alone, does not the map make, and neither does the font, alone, make the key. The distance bar in that key imbues the map with a rather sterile impression on the visual sense. Surely, this is a crime against Elven humanity. Which makes me wonder, what is the Elven equivalent for humanity, anyway?

The trees strike me more as groups of trees, than as forests. I think that the map needs more detailing, more fleshing out with small details, in order for the forests that you've populated this world with to take on a life of their own.

In a nutshell, this map is unworthy of the Elves.