View Full Version : Mini world building mentoring

02-06-2013, 10:29 AM
As has been mentioned in the past we have a lot of registered members, but only a few truly active members. In order to increase participation of those inactive members I’m going to try something here. This is to be a Mini World Building Challenge so to speak. A lot of the new registrees ask for help or for someone to make a map for them, well its time for their pencil to hit the paper.

Here’s the plan of attack and I’m going to use Socks as the test subject as he seems willing to participate and he has some ideas about his world but doesn’t really know where to start. All you new and inactive beginners may participate ( I actually want you to participate) but I’m going to mentor Sock only atm from a logistic stand point. I’m going to try and help him develop his world map, a mini skill building exercise where we will ignore the more complex issues of world creation (many of which I truly don’t know myself) and focus on the basics. Time frame is open ended, maybe something like torstan’s assorted tips and tricks thread. Or I may run this for the month of Feb/Mar and then if I can get other members to mentor another member we’ll see where we can take this. In either case this is going to lag a bit at the start on my end (I have a kitchen remodel project in progress ;) and the wife likes water LOL )

Objective: Develop pencil / paper hand drawn overall world of the members choice in Pencil / Ink
Required Tools: .5mm HB lead mechanical pencil, copy paper, eraser (the most important tool), triangles, ruler, ball point pen, a .005 micron ink pen, something to use as a drawing board, tape and a window, yes a window(for tracing, more later on). Oh good light!!
Map Brief: A 5 continent world map with island chain, border and compass rose. We are going to try to hit a 70% water area to 30% land mass area for this work (close to earth’s distribution so you have a reference point). Here’s a copy of Sock’s brief with a bit more detail.

Sock's Brief:
"What I'm going to need is 5 continents. With a string of islands (both individual islands, and chains) going from the south of one continent to the western part of another continent.

Continent 1:
A long, thin country. It is more north-south oriented as opposed to east-west. So think the Americas vs. Eurasia.
• A snowy, mountainous region to the north
• A densely wooded region with rivers running through it, ponds and lakes within, etc. Very wet region I'm thinking.
• Another region with a lot of coastal land.
• A region good for raising a large population of horses and perhaps growing things as well.
• A region which is on an oddly shaped peninsula with a large mountain-barrier between it and the main continent. Also a small island off the coast of this peninsula.
• A desert region with a river, or a few, running through it to offer the life it needs to grow things. Similar to how the Nile is for Egypt.
• A dead wasteland on the western side of this country-continent.

Continent 2:
A roundish continent. Think Australia when imagining the shape perhaps? And scale as well. It exists to the west of of Continent 1.
• Highlands (hill-y) region
• Flatland (plains, etc.) region
• A swamp region
• A mountainous region
• A desert
• River lands
• An island off the south.

Continent 3:
A wide continent. Think Eurasia.
• A double-peninsula country. Western end of this continent.
• A good region for a nomadic culture. Just a large swath of land I was thinking. To the east of the double-peninsula
• Another peninsular country. To the south of the nomadic country.
• Another country to the east.
• A large island between the two peninsulas with mountains on it.

Continent 4:
A continent to the south of Continent 4. It is wide as well and it is mostly a desert continent. With rivers and some lakes running through it. Oases as well for life to exist.

Continent 5:
A deserted country. Nothing on it. But the idea I want is that it would look really great for population so lots of lush forest, rivers, lakes, etc. But it just has no civilization.

Island String:
My idea was that the string of islands would be trailing from the south of continent 1 to the western edge of continent 4."

Assignment #1: on the copy paper (“landscape orientation”, short vertical- wide horizontal) in pencil:
1. Draw a single line border 1/8” +/- from the edges, this is a reference to keep you from drawing your continents into the final border area.
2. Draw a horizontal line for your “equator” through the middle of the sheet (to seperate hemispheres)
3. Bubble diagram in your land masses for all continents. What we are after here is not to worry about how the actual continents are shaped, but relative sizing so they fit on the paper :D, within the border and show their relationship to each other as outlined in your brief. Keep in mind the 30%land mass.70% water mass in your bubble diagram. Ok what's a bubble diagram :) lets take Socks continent #1 as an example. this will be an oval shape (ie the bubble) standing vertically. I want Socks to do this first then I'll "redline" his work to further refine this. (Sock’s you have previously skirted around this and drawn only portions of individual continents, this is your refinement assignment).

Get Crackin Socks LOL If you have questions on what I'm talking about Socks post em here so anyone else with the same question can follow along.

02-06-2013, 11:04 PM
You meant like this right? The blue is because I followed a friend into his art class and started playing with their paint.


02-07-2013, 10:32 AM
Yeah Socks this is basically what we want at this point, an overall world visual reference. It put the continents in their perpective locations, with a little more shape than I planned but OK none the less. Remember our brief stated this was to be a pencil and ink map. By using pencil we end up with a map that can be modified, yours is a good example of what I call a “destructive map” as we can make no refinement to it as a “final map”as it was inked in too soon. We can draw more info on the map but it quickly gets unreadable because of the ink “overlines”. A non destructive base map allows us to use our most important tool, the eraser, which will get a workout. Also keep in mind the base map will become the final drawing, you are starting and finishing on a single sheet of paper.

Lets proceed to refine the bubble diagram here:
1. Your gonna have to redraw this in pencil. Take another piece of copy paper, place over the map, hold on window and trace the border lines only. You can use masking tape to tape the maps to the window to work with both hands free if you like. This is a good time to practice free hand straight lines, trace the “single” border line, trying to stay as close to the mechanical line underneath. We don’t need the short stubb lines on the border atm. Make sure you keep the margin the same consistent width on all 4 sides.
2. You have grouped the continents more towards the top of the paper (this could happen in rl but we are also keeping visual appeal in the back of our minds). In your brief you had a variety of climate / terrain types you wanted. To help accomplish this position the new overlay so that the continents are lowered to more or less center them on the sheet vertically. This will place the bottom of your #1 Continent closer/on the equator, retrace all the outlines in pencil.
3. At any time your mind starts to wander, walk away from this. Good practice atm, because when you start to ink this in, as you know, its there for good!!

Ok let me think over the next step now that I see what you have proposed.

02-07-2013, 11:49 AM
Ok now on to a little refinement. I inked the sketch as my scan was so poor, I want you to do this in pencil LOL do as I say not as I do ;) Lets can the continent numbering and go with your naming convention from your other posts. Bring in some thumbnails here of the continents you've previously drawn.
We want to start making your continent size conform with your bubble layout, this is where the eraser will come into play.


In pencil:
1. name the continents
2. match up the bubble diagram with each one of your concept continent sketchs, roughly matching sketch outlines to remain in the bubbled area or smaller
3. While matching up sketches to bubbles you may decide that they need to be closer together / farther apart etc. This process is going to take you awhile, don't rush it, if you don't post anything for days, no problem. I want you to think how these are all going to fit together.
4. I added a simple tectonic plate layout, you may or may not wish to refine your continent profile to match each other in similar profile to indicate plate movement.

02-07-2013, 02:15 PM
Anyone else following along and trying this?

02-07-2013, 08:32 PM
This is cool. Can I join in?
(I'm a bit busy with a city map for art class right now, but i'll follow along)

02-07-2013, 08:50 PM
I have been watching this tutorial and will continue to follow. When I get a chance I will follow these steps as well.

02-07-2013, 09:44 PM
I accidentally blew up a few of the continents over sized. And I found out that I need to move a few of these continents I think.


As you can tell I blew up continent 1 and 3 too large. I'm going to work on that. But I'm having issues in trying to scale down the sizes while still keeping the shape.

02-07-2013, 10:18 PM
Ok now on to a little refinement. I inked the sketch as my scan was so poor, I want you to do this in pencil LOL do as I say not as I do ;) Lets can the continent numbering and go with your naming convention from your other posts. Bring in some thumbnails here of the continents you've previously drawn.
We want to start making your continent size conform with your bubble layout, this is where the eraser will come into play.


I'm not sure which map you wanted me to look over but I assume it's this one.

To have any chance of making sense of tectonics, you have to know what projection your map is in, and even then it's still going to be hard as tectonics is really dependant on the geometry being spherical rather than planar. If you have a real physical ball you can draw on, you might want to try that and then try to transfer the result to a map.

Assuming that's meant to be a cylindrical projection of a whole globe, there are some obvious problems. Your faults should line up across the "date line" at the east and west edges of the map, and you need to remember that the entire top and bottom of a global cylindrical map represent just a single point. So you have a single plate wrapped around the north pole, with a fault that runs up into it to exactly the pole, and then just stops.

I'm not really an expert on geology so I can't give to much help there. If you really are concerned with getting it right, you need to be aware of the different shapes you get from convergent, subduction, divergent, and transform faults. Divergent and transform faults tend to meet at 90 degree angles for instance. Looking at some real world maps like File:Plates tect2 en.svg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plates_tect2_en.svg) might help there (Keep in mind that that map is in Normal Mercator projection and has the poles cut off.).

02-08-2013, 08:39 PM
Hey all gonna be outta pocket for a few days, have to take care of grandson, full time job LOL

02-10-2013, 06:51 PM
Takoyakikonran - sure you can join in, just remember I’m only working on Socks’ map atm, as I said logistics are difficult, just post up your progress. I’m sure everyone will like to see what you have and how you plan to finish er up.

JediKnight83 – give it a shot, you’ve got nothing to loose :D

Socks what you can do with this is resize anything you need on a copier, reposition and use the window to retrace everything once you have it completed. Play around with it a bit until you get something you’re pleased with. Socks lets ignore the tectonic plates atm, until you get the continent layout you like. Then we’ll readdress this. My intent with the tectonic plates was to help you work out mountain ranges if you had any problem with location of them.

05-26-2013, 03:54 AM
I realize that this is a little late. I disappeared but I got swamped with school work and enlisting and stuff and sort of forgot all about this. But I really hope to get back into it if you're still willing to work with me.


I'm thinking that this seems pretty close to the continent size and orientation stuff that I want.