View Full Version : The Green Havens - Fantasy commission

- Max -
01-21-2013, 12:16 PM

I was recently commisionned for making a map for a fantasy tales book project and I figured I'd share the steps of this work. It's a standard A4 size (3508x2480px) showing a regional area: The Green Havens.

here we go.
First step: land mass and border first step (some little issues with it but nothing's wrong as it's WIP, this will be cleaned on next steps). Sounds unusual to start with the border but I wanted it done at first to set the ambience...Currently working on coloring/texturing it. Update very soon!


01-21-2013, 12:53 PM
I like the shape of the continent. Looking forward to seeing this progress, Max!

01-21-2013, 01:02 PM
I like the shape of the continent.

I have to second this, it looks very nice!

Do you know anything about the book? I'm really interested in fantasy novels. Or perhaps you're under an NDA?

- Max -
01-21-2013, 01:16 PM
Thanks guys. I can't say much since the book is still in project but it will be a french book (A4 size) with fantasy tales (more than novels). Some illustrators are currently working on drawings and a few maps too. Each tale will feature either some drawings or a map. Hope it will come to the end :)

- Max -
01-21-2013, 01:33 PM
Alright, done with color and texture of the creepy thingie and the scale border aswell. Also added the green background around it.


*edit* Hmm just saw I didn't put the shadow on upper right creeper :/. I'll update it on next step

- Max -
01-21-2013, 02:52 PM
So fI finished the border for now (added shadow on creeper and leaves, colored and textured foliage, added bottom corners and upper left parchment). There will probably have a little more things on it though.


01-21-2013, 03:18 PM
You're off to a good start.

- Max -
01-21-2013, 03:31 PM
Thanks, yea time to serious business now :D

01-21-2013, 04:24 PM
This should be interesting! :)

- Max -
01-21-2013, 05:41 PM
I hope :P So new update: worked on sea, added land base background, worked on waterlines/coastlines... Now it looks greenies Havens :D


01-21-2013, 06:46 PM
It's serious business he says.
Worked on it a little he says.
Looks decent he says.

So you made that in 5 hours? Took me several weeks to make Gandaria fairly decent!

Your maps, Sir, is a splendor to behold.

- Max -
01-21-2013, 06:54 PM
:D haha Thanks a lot Thordred. By the way I did have worked on the land shape and borders shape before ;) But yea I'm kinda satisfied of how it's going for now. Currently working on the compass. That b***** takes more time than I thought :D

01-21-2013, 07:11 PM
I'm sure you'll make it more then good enough Max, I suppose I'll find out soon enough ;)

- Max -
01-21-2013, 07:35 PM
What about now? ;) Finally done with it and done with Green Havens for today *tired*


*Edit* freakin' jpeg makes yellow too saturated :sad:
* Fixed a bit*

01-21-2013, 08:34 PM
Wow, that's just beautiful so far Max. The decorative border work and the compass rose are just fabulous!


- Max -
01-22-2013, 02:51 AM
Thanks arsheesh, glad you liked it so far.

01-22-2013, 03:53 AM
After staring at this for a few minutes I noticed something and stopped drooling.

In the top-left corner of the frame is a slight color-problem. It's blue instead of green. And the corner itself looks like it needs to be fixed slightly.

*Childishly proud to have found a tiny issue with an otherwise perfect WIP map*

- Max -
01-22-2013, 04:18 AM
True Thordred I know right but i don't really deal with it since this corner will be hidden by another element ;)

01-22-2013, 04:22 AM
I figured as much :)

Freehand 5.5
01-22-2013, 05:46 AM
Just another map of yours I instantly fell in love with. And I guess you didn't even really started yet. ;)
The colours are amazing.

How did you do the texture of the sea? It looks a bit like slightly broken oil color.

- Max -
01-22-2013, 06:09 AM
Thanks freehand. That's what we talked with the tale's writer: colours and... Green of course. But yea it's just the start though i have most of the areas located on map and already made some hand drawn brushes ( mountains, hills etc.) this last week end. I'll show them tonight. So next steps are putting all areas, drawing rivers, probably do some more brushes, coloring the whole map, adding labels and a few more elements...
I made the sea using a mix of 2 textures layers made with several soft grunge brushes then added a little touch of a filter on one layer, add the wavy touch (though I didn't want then too obvious) and adjust a few color/contrast

01-22-2013, 06:28 AM
Nice looking map so far.

Can I just ask though, did the client ask for a border in a similar style to my Unknowne Lands map? Not that I mind, it's quite flattering, but it is very similar in style.

Looking forward to seeing this one progress. :)

01-22-2013, 07:02 AM

Great work in such a short time... !

I was just wondering if it is my screen that displays the map "too green", or is it wanted ? Maybe the upper left element is a bit too bright, but as I say, it may comes from my screen (ou du .jpg baveux, in French in the text).

- Max -
01-22-2013, 08:18 AM
@Ramah: no it's my own idea. When we talked about it the writer suggested maybe some foliage or vegetal ornament. I remembered your map and thought i would do something in this kind of ambience ( probably with less talent, your map was a real jewel to my eyes) I hope you don't mind I got inspired by your work. Btw the map will be quite different at the end.

@ mornagest despite the map is overall in green tone yes some kindof green and yellow green is more saturated because of the rgb and jpeg size. But this is intended to be print on .tif cmyk so it should be ok

- Max -
01-22-2013, 11:30 AM
First working day is done I guess I can start the second one :D So here are some of the moutains/hills brushes I drawn this last week-end that I'm gonna use on the map...right now.... (personnal use only if someone pick them)

01-22-2013, 03:06 PM
nice mountain brushes :)

- Max -
01-22-2013, 03:16 PM
Thanks :) I'm currently testing them with colors, seems that's going to be ok.

- Max -
01-22-2013, 06:34 PM
Phothoshop issues and personnal stuff made me work less than I expected....Currently buildings mountains. And did a color test a while ago to see how the moutains would look. here it is:


- Max -
01-23-2013, 09:31 AM
Hmm....Seems im kinda stuck with forests for now since I can't really make my mind about the right way to do them here. My first try surpinsingly didn't work well so I tried a few things more but I'm not really convinced aswell. well, maybe I need fresh look to it. what you guys think about those styles?


Freehand 5.5
01-23-2013, 10:11 AM
Try to let go your vision of size.
I think the third woods is best, but they have to be bigger, in order to look nice. Perhaps double size?
It is difficult to really know without seeing colors.
And after all it is a childrens' book.
So I'd say it is absolutely okay to go with a more iconic approach showing nicely drawn big trees.

Btw, I like the colours of those mountains. Very neat.

- Max -
01-23-2013, 10:22 AM
Yea colors will do a lot at the end. And well it's tales but not necessarly for childs ;) But maybe I'll try with more size to see how it looks. Thanks for the comment Markus :)

- Max -
01-23-2013, 03:44 PM
Some others thoughts on the forests anyone?

01-23-2013, 04:06 PM
Its hard to evaluate the forests without seeing how they look within the context of the entire map. But....while I like the concept of the first 2 pics you posted (i.e. strong tree outline) I don't think its quite there yet...but i'm also not sure how it could be improved. Maybe once they are colored in, it will all come together. The third picture is the most traditional and out of the 3 its probably the safest bet, but it strikes me as probably being too thick (especially once you zoom out)

So, my vote would be to see you continue working in the direction of the first 2....

BTW....this map is awesome

- Max -
01-23-2013, 04:52 PM
ok thanks for the comment, I guess I'll have first to make a color test on the strong tree outline ones to see how it goes....

- Max -
01-23-2013, 06:00 PM
So, after a quick coloring test on forests, could be more or less looks like that. Your thoughts?


01-23-2013, 06:05 PM
I vote yes...

- Max -
01-23-2013, 06:09 PM
:) yea I think I'm gonna go forward on this way.

01-23-2013, 06:38 PM
Just getting back around to the forum after a LONG hiatus. Found this thread. I really like the forest style you settled on. It has a nice balance of form and function going on. Forests are notoriously tricky. Too dark, too busy, to clunky, too big, too small... lots of eyeballing and personal style has to go into it.

What's next??? Show us more. :)

- Max -
01-23-2013, 06:50 PM
Thanks much Kewlpack and welcome back:) Next is a lot to do : first finishing drawings all forests, moutains and several terrains, then rivers and lakes, then towns/icons and special locations (though I'll maybe add them along the terrains depending on where they are located), then coloring the whole thing (which is gonna be a long work ), adding labels and a few elements to add on border and so....Long is the road....:D
But sure I'll show more on next updates, it's a WIP thread ;)

01-23-2013, 07:21 PM
Nice work, I like the mountains.

- Max -
01-23-2013, 07:44 PM
thanks Bogie, somehow reminds me a reminiscence of Blaueu brushes on Empire of Lorn ( I was probably still under influence :) ) but I'm pretty statisfied with them at the end :)

- Max -
01-24-2013, 06:15 AM
Well, some fresh update. Here's what I got so far. Mostly drawn and added terrains and a few towns/locations. Some few overlaps here and there but no worry this will be fix later. To be continued...


Freehand 5.5
01-24-2013, 06:49 AM
I like the forests, too. In colour it's very neat.

... and those little towers, how cute ...

- Max -
01-24-2013, 07:41 AM
Yea finally forests looks nice. The 3 towers are some magician's towers (except the one of the east which is kind of cursed dark tower)

- Max -
01-24-2013, 10:51 AM
Some minor progress : added missing towns, cliffs, main roads, a few terrains more...


01-24-2013, 02:00 PM
Looks great, I can't say more really :P

Looking forward to the next update, this is like candy to me right now hahaha

- Max -
01-25-2013, 02:30 PM
Finally some time to work : finished most of drawn things and colored all the mountains


01-25-2013, 03:16 PM
wanted to say that i really like your forests, i used to use a similar style when i did hand-drawn maps, many many years ago. it's going to be a fantastic map.

- Max -
01-25-2013, 03:21 PM
Thank you Drow :)

it's going to be a fantastic map.

I hope !

- Max -
01-25-2013, 05:33 PM
And forests colors done....


- Max -
01-25-2013, 10:10 PM
Some progress: Going on with colors on terrains and finished town icons, rivers, coast cliffs and hills. I also re-worked on coastlines highlights.


Freehand 5.5
01-26-2013, 02:18 AM
Oh, what a lovely map.
I like that style very much.

01-26-2013, 05:43 AM
My first reaction was "Oh my Godddddd, that's so pretty!" I'm inclined to stand by it. The style is elegantly childlike and deceptively simple. The colour scheme is really striking, the details most impressive. This is looking like turning out to be a very fine map.

- Max -
01-26-2013, 06:41 AM
Glad you like it guys

The style is elegantly childlike and deceptively simple.

Yea that was what exactly what i planned to do :) :) :)

- Max -
01-26-2013, 09:06 AM
Minor update : added missing lighthouse, colored towers and ruins, fixed a few issues. I also additional towns icons (not sure yet to keep them at the end though). Think I'm done with the drawing/coloring. Next step will be labels tests I guess....


- Max -
01-27-2013, 08:57 AM
More progress on the final rush : fixed minor issues and labels done. I started with curved ones but for some reaon I didn't find it was fitting the map so I came back to horizontal ones. I also added special highlightings for the special locations of the tale.


Freehand 5.5
01-27-2013, 09:11 AM
Nice design to enhance those points of importance.

There's a bird over the "r" of tour aux corbeaux. But despite that little point the design seems to be solid as rock.
Horizontal labels are absolutely okay because there's enough space. No problem here at all.

- Max -
01-27-2013, 09:22 AM
Thanks Marcus. And yea right for the "r". I'm going to clean it ;)

01-27-2013, 09:26 AM
Beautiful. Not much else to say.

01-27-2013, 10:18 AM
Love the style you decided to go on for this map.

- Max -
01-27-2013, 02:13 PM
Thanks guys. I'm now done with it and you can find the finished thread here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/21970-green-havens-fantasy-map.html#post206245.
Comments are welcome there!
Again, thanks to those who helped and encouraged :)

01-29-2013, 06:23 AM
Amazing colors, texture, feeling...

01-29-2013, 06:48 AM
Simply amazing