View Full Version : Fantasy World - Continent Map - Feedback/Crits

02-11-2013, 09:56 AM

Here is a map I have been working on for a fantasy world I have created for a novel (or more) that I am busy writing (my true passion).

Originally a handdrawn map, I have recently converted it using Photoshop CS2 (now free from Adobe) and it is scaled for 300 dpi A3.

It represents a continent that is part of a larger world map including 3 other relatively similar size landmasses and 4 other 'smaller island' size areas. This landmass is central and slightly north of the equator with the uppermost coastal region in the west getting close to earth like Alaska in climate and the lower regions becoming more and more temperate and fertile.

While I am relatively happy with the style, it still needs a lot of work and there are things I (as a beginner) already know I need to fix e.g.

more ragged coastline with small islands and isthmus's etc.

double check rivers and water sources for cities / towns etc.

better colouring for things like the colder north and greener lush regions

general beautification all around with shading and cosmetics.

What I really would appreciate is feedback and comments from those of you who have already been through this process. It's a fantasy world so I am not overly concerned with plate tectonics and getting things 100% accurate for a geologist or climatologist but I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have in that regard. General impressions - does it look like a plausible world? Is it visually attractive, could it benefit from something else?

Appreciate your time.


ps. Yes, I do have names and locations but these are fluid and dictated by my writing so I have left them out for now...

02-12-2013, 02:12 PM
i like the look of this one. the rivers could do with a bit more 'randomness' to them (ie: not so simple) though other than that I'm liking this one

02-12-2013, 02:23 PM
Thanks... that's just the kind of feedback I am looking for... Had not even noticed, but now that you mention it, they are far too 'smooth'. Thanks...

BTW. Your Elyden Map is brilliant. The attention to detail that you have included from a world-building perspective is astounding. I am in the early stages of the same process - mapping it all out for my writing (and in danger of losing myself in the process), hence the lack of towns/names etc. I have them, but I need to be sure of the locations based on my narrative before I can confirm them to the map... Sort of a catch-22, I need the map to find out where my characters are (and are going) but I need the writing to confirm it. I have already realised that my scale and distances in the book don't match up to practical possibilities - I'd need magic portals available at every corner for my characters to get where the story says before they die of old age... ;-)

- Max -
02-12-2013, 02:58 PM
Yes rivers probably need more work and curves. Also some of them doesn't really makes sense since they seem to flow down from nowhere. In my opinion, the map need some additional colors work. For example, since you added colors on mountains, hills should get some colors aswell. Some trees seems to overlap and I'd have made more dense forests but I guess it's kind of hard with Starraven's brushes.
Btw looks pretty good :)

02-12-2013, 03:02 PM
I too like the look of this map. The overall style is attractive. I agree with V about the rivers, but that's a minor detail. I think you are right that the coastline could be a bit more ragged. Still, overall impression is that this is a fine map. Great job.


02-12-2013, 03:20 PM
@Max - Thanks. I will check the origins of the rivers a little more carefully. Colours, yes, as mentioned, I want to work more on the colours and shading. Overlapping trees, Yes, starravens brushes dont do well - I wish the 'inside' of the brushes were not transparent. I am considering not using the tree brushes (they are not as good as the mountains) but I have yet to find a style for trees that I am happy with...

@Arsheesh - Thanks. Lots more to do.

- Max -
02-12-2013, 03:26 PM
A solution would be to build some forests blocks with the individuals brushes to be able to use them as patterns that you can overlap. Some job but it worths it. Check this tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/21587-%5Btutorial%5D-handdrawn-mountains.html) it may be useful;)

02-13-2013, 02:33 AM
Thanks will do... building a height map version and about to redo the rivers... then I'll see about the trees... fun fun... and I should be writing! guilt.

02-27-2013, 01:29 AM

Ok... Here is an improved version of the original WIP... I got so many suggestions and after reviewing the tutorials and other links I decided to redo the map entirely.. So, here is a more rugged (= interesting) coastline. More random and varied rivers. Improved heights and hills - if I ever do another map (lol, I need to do at least 5 more) then I will start with the height map - it made so many things far easier to do and figure out. I have also coloured the hills and generally improved the detail... As you will see from the above update *apologies its such a high res* I have left out the trees... I realised that the suggestions were right - my original trees sucked, only problem now is redoing them with proper overlaps and shading is taking forever, even with the 'clone' tool (thank god)... so for now, the map is sans trees...

Oh yes... colour - I changed the colours but I am not sure if this was a good idea - will have to see.... and the rivers now fade into the mountains (too lazy to upload that change)...

Thanks again for everyones help...

ps. When I finally finish, I'll post a completed version in the appropriate forum.

- Max -
02-27-2013, 03:27 AM
I prefered the colours on the first map. Those new ones are too bright for me but it's a personnal taste. I'm looking forward to see where you going on this map

02-28-2013, 01:36 AM
Lol... I agree with the colours... I have made some changes this side but I still think I need to wash out the colours a lot - I also liked the original colour scheme more... but lets see how it goes... I have created the .psd with layers that will make it very easy for me to entirely change the colours to whatever I want. I actually like a plain black and white version that I use as a reference for my writing....

02-12-2014, 01:00 PM

I really like your work and more specifically the style of your map
I was wondering if you could allow me to use it for a tourney on Age of Empires

for more details, I started a thread here :

thank you