View Full Version : Tolkien Inspired Hand Drawn Map (WIP)

12-17-2012, 01:53 PM
So here is my first "finished draft" of a part of an as-yet-unnamed world. I am hugely inspired by and enamored with Tolkien style maps, and I think it is pretty clear that I am emulating this style. This is the first map I've ever drawn like this, at least in any sort of serious way. It took maybe four or five hours of work over a couple of days to finish this draft.

The medium is plain ol' number two pencil on a sketch pad. I then scanned in it, did a bit of cleaning up of eraser smudges, and applied a parchment'ish texture to it. The texture was more of an experiment than anything, and I'm not entirely happy with it, but I still think it looks pretty neat.

A bit of preliminary information about the world, for those so inclined:

I envision this as a definite high fantasy world, full of magic, wizards, and the like, also plenty of rudimentary manual technology, although nothing akin to electricity or combustion engines. To the north east is the great desert Thrum (inspiration for my user name), and Zosha, a small settlement at the easternmost tip of the Lost Mountains. Heading south we see Trysis Peaks, which is known as "The Three Sisters" by the locals of Longshore. Far to the west, we have The Dead Fields. This is the site of an ancient battle, which locals insist is still haunted by the spirits of the fallen.

My eventual plan for this map is to expand on it and draw it out on a large'ish sheet of thick paper, maybe watercolor paper, and ink in some splashes of color here and there. I also intend to include a border, title block, legend and so on.

I would love any critique or suggestions that anyone may have!

Master Rahl372
12-17-2012, 06:32 PM
Great job, it definitely looks like a Tolkien map which I really like the style of. All my maps are hand drawn on paper too so I know the effort it takes to do one. I think the mountains are well done, but in some places the forests get sort of lost because of smudging? You said you scanned it and fixed the smudging on computer, but it looks like to me some of the forests could use a bit of clearer detail. Overall I think it's a fantastic map.

If you're interested in my style just check out my profile.
In fact I have Work in Progress thread right on this forum sub category (WIP) Durvrön Niras if you want any inspiration.
My fantasy world is more of a mix of magic and technology, maybe closer to steampunk.

12-17-2012, 07:17 PM
Thanks Master Rahl! The forest did indeed fall prey to the scourge of the smudge. I didn't even bother trying to clean that up in PS, it would have taken hours! Had this been a "final" map, I definitely would have cleaned up or, or hopefully not smudged it in the first place. I'm not entirely satisfied with the way I drew the forest, and plan on experimenting with some other techniques for conveying the woodlands on my next draft. This preliminary draft was more of a trial run than anything, and some of the names may be subject to change as well. (But maybe not.)

I'm also probably going to look into some other ways to "texturize" the map, as the more I look at my first attempt at "parchmentizing" it, the less I like it.

I also checked out your WIP thread for your maps. Very inspirational stuff, I like it a lot! A lot of nice detail on all your maps. I've been sketching a bit on some ideas for continent shapes, and even worked through one of the photoshop map tutorials on this site (with relatively nice results for my first go), but haven't decided exactly how I want it all to look yet.

Again, thanks for the kind words, and I will be keeping an eye on your thread!

12-19-2012, 05:48 PM
I've started working on the digital version of my global map. My current idea is to do the global map in photoshop, and do the more local, region sized maps by hand on paper. Attached in the image of my world map so far. Obviously, it is nowhere near complete. The area in the small red box reflects the location of the hand drawn region at the beginning of this thread.

Looks like I've got a big project ahead of me :)

I've done some work on the mountains, particularly in the middle area of the upper side of the main continent. Still working on tweaking the mountains and general elevation.

(Also, I am guiding myself using the Saderan tutorial, in case the style isn't immediately apparent :P)

Again, I'd appreciate any critique or suggestions anyone may have!

Thanks for looking!

(Does bring up the question, since this project looks like it will wind up being quite a few maps, should I keep them all in this thread, or split them up?)

12-21-2012, 07:02 PM
Worked on elevation some more and started working on the rivers. I'm only somewhat satisfied with the rivers. After a fair amount of experimenting, I found that just using the brush tool manually, with the fade control applied, was much easier and got much better results (for me) than using the pen tool and "stroke path".

I will be diving back into the hand drawn maps tonight.