View Full Version : [WIP] The Middle Kingdoms

05-04-2013, 02:30 PM
This is a work in progress map for the Middle Kingdoms, called such because they sit perched between the two major Imperial powers of the day. It's lacking a legend at the moment and needs some refinements, but the details are pretty much finished. The cities and mountains are in the right places, and I don't believe any of my rivers will earn me more than a minor citation from the River Police. This map is part of a larger work in progress covering the whole continent, which my planned series of novels spans. This section is merely the setting for the first novel, which I have finally begun writing in earnest. Please give me your comments and critiques.

Credits here go to Quabbe for his mountain brushes, Gidde for the ink bleeding technique, and Harold's Fonts (http://www.haroldsfonts.com) for the Dominican fonts I used for the labels. This map was made primarily in GIMP, with the labels made in Adobe Fireworks and copied over.

- Max -
05-04-2013, 03:21 PM
Looking good but the mountains and labels are way too blurry.

05-05-2013, 05:28 AM
I like the landshape a lot. Almost Diamond-material :D But i have to agree with Max, the mountains are way too blurry. And a bit too big, imho (i don't know the scale of your map, but it looks like quite a big region).

05-05-2013, 07:46 AM
I'm not quite sure if the mountains are too blurry, or the coastline/rivers are too blocky. But there is a distinct difference between these two features that contrast too much for me to really appreciate this nice map.

05-05-2013, 08:37 PM
So I stroked my rivers and coasts again with a different brush (I love my Bamboo) to try to get them a little more in line with the mountains. I also messed around with the ink bleeding to get the look I liked but with a little more clarity. I'm still not completely satisfied with the rivers and may need to go back through them again, but I feel like the coasts are pretty good now. I also added a 10px kerning to the city labels to keep the letters from mashing together when I bled the ink. I think it's an improvement, but still some work to do. Any suggestions for solving the river problem are much appreciated :D

As for the scale, I feel like my mountains are appropriate in size. I'm not putting scale in this map because I simply don't prefer it aesthetically for a fantasy map, but my rough calculations have the land area of this map at slightly greater than the size of South Africa. So, it's not a particularly large area.

- Max -
05-05-2013, 08:52 PM
I really saw mointains blurry. they're better but still blurry a bit. Did you use them at higher or smaller size that the brushes are set?

05-06-2013, 06:10 AM
Still blurry, i agree Max. I really hope you can fix that, because this map has great potential.

As to size - well, to each their own, i guess. Southafrica is more than 1000km east-west and as much north-south. I still think these mountains are out of proportion.

05-06-2013, 06:03 PM
You guys were right. Somewhere along my process (I'm not sure where) my brushes went really blurry. I dropped the original on top of the map (pre-bleeding) and it was a massive difference. So, I guess I'm going to have to redo my mountains, but that's not really all that time consuming. Thanks for prompting me to look at that. And while I'm at it, I'll look into the mountain size as well. Maybe the Alps as a reference, as that's kind of the closest RW parallel. Are the labels better though?

05-07-2013, 07:56 PM
Sorry to double post, but I think my biggest problem is fixed.

I finally think I fixed the blurriness of the mountains. I compared the map from the last post to the one from this post side-by-side and the difference is incredible. Might not be perfect yet, but it's massively improved.

- Max -
05-07-2013, 09:16 PM
It's better yea but it's still blurry :/ Shame because Quabes mountains are looking great and they don't deserve that blurryness :p

05-08-2013, 05:57 AM
I agree with afters, it's a lot better than before. But still not perfect ;)
We don't want to nit-pick, mind you. But it still looks a bit blurry.

As to the size: sure, look to the alps. Again, this is all a matter of taste in the end. But for me, proportions matter and it just detracts from my enjoyment of a map if i think the mountains are too big in relation to the scale.

05-08-2013, 07:06 AM
I think what we may be encountering here is something of a difference in style. Here's my map in print size (1/2 size). On the left is the map before bleeding the ink, with the mountains just having been placed (no modifications of any kind). On the right is the map after bleeding. Which is better in your opinions?

Also Eilathen, I'm starting to agree with you on the mountains. The more I work on it, even though their true scale is not disproportionate, from an aesthetic standpoint I think they're too big. I may try removing some of the smaller mountains, especially the ones west of Hiemmet, and seeing how things change

05-08-2013, 09:41 AM
I like the one on the left a lot more. It looks crisper to my eyes.

05-11-2013, 09:00 AM
One more update, this time with the mountains reduced somewhat, though much of the southeastern spine remains intact due to its critical importance in the story (it begins there and that divide sets up much of the later action as well). But I do think it's an improvement. Since I'm purposely going for a simple map style that can be easily converted to print should the need ever arise, I think this map is nearing completion.

05-12-2013, 07:22 AM
I'd very much like to see the rest of the world map.

Are you willing to tell us a bit about the region you mapped here?