View Full Version : [WIP] The World of Alhenkell

05-06-2013, 03:55 PM
Hey everyone !

I joined CG a while ago and have been lurking and enjoying all your incredible maps. They all served as inspiration to me ! And now that school is over I've finally started a project of mine. A dear one. I've been working since I was a kid on a fantasy world in which I'm writing my novels and I always wanted to do a huge world map of it.

The world is called Alhenkell (although by morpholy of languages certain cultures do use variants like Eldendel or Al'an'al). It's a huge fantasy world which the map here only represent a part of. Although I know inside of me that there is still countless kingdoms and unknown lands beyond this map, I decided for my own good that for the moment I would focus on this part of the world that is already big. General tone of Alhenkell is really based on it's inspiration. It's dark and grim, but not as much as other fictions like Game of Thrones, Mistborn, etc.

Now for the map, this is just a WIP of the first step. I've never done a map in photoshop before (always on paper with a pencil) so I'm not sure what steps I should be taking in what order. Anyway, I drew a sketch of the map on paper, scanned it, assembled it in photoshop in a 10,000x10,000 pixels file and started to draw the outline of the coast on the layers above. So that's my first step. If anyone wants to give me tips regarding what to do in what order that would be appreciated.

I do it with my intuos5 small size tablet in Photoshop CS5. Coast are manually drawn.

So here's the first WIP. It's downsized from 10k/10k to 3k/3k for viewing.

05-06-2013, 04:40 PM
i really like what you have down here, will enjoy keeping up with this as far as anything to do with mapping on a computer i know nothing. though there are plenty of tutorials, maybe you can find somthing there, o9r some one will be nice enough to point you to a more specific direction

05-06-2013, 05:02 PM
Your coast line is already very detailed! I like it a lot and can't wait to see your progress on this map. I am also interested in the replies you get regarding which order to work on things. That seems to be what bogs me down at the moment. However I suspect learning the order of steps is catered individually to one's style, and is something learned from trial and error over many months and years of working on self-made maps.

05-06-2013, 05:43 PM
You have a nice and interesting coast!

05-07-2013, 06:41 PM
So I finished the coast, I'm pretty happy with the result. Now I'm thinking of going forward and I've defined a few things to do.

Draw mountains, draw rivers, draw hills and forest, draw settlements,add color, add labeling and informations, and add finishing details.

I'm not too sure of what order to take for this. I know finishing details and labeling will be at the end. I'm also aware that rivers depends on mountains. Actually I got a feeling I should start with the mountains. What do you guys think would be a good next step to take ? Also would you add from flat color background at this stage ?


- Max -
05-07-2013, 07:40 PM
Looks pretty nice so far :) I use to draw mountains/hills first then locate rivers/forests. Color isn't really needed yet but it's up to you, I like to have land/sea colors to start.

05-07-2013, 09:15 PM
Nice start , Interesting land form . Looking forward to the development !

05-08-2013, 04:32 PM
So here we continue. I'm using my week off-work to be effective ! So as said the other day I've finished the outline of the coasts. I've put in placeholders paper texture and basic colors. And I decided to start with the mountains as most geographical elements depend on them. As you'll notice, I'm using the Brush taken off Ramah's maps which are simply gorgeous ! Thanks again Ramah for being such an inspiration ! So at this point I think the mountain ranges do look good. Of course they don't mix with the ground very good yet as I didn't do anything with the ground but it'll come. I've only done the first third of the map so I still have a good day of mountains placement ahead of me. Once they are done I'll do the same with hills.

Also, I'll remind everyone that I've downsized this to 3000x3000 as the original is 10,000x10,000. Also, it seems it's started to get too heavy for CG upload, time to use IMGUR ! :)


05-19-2013, 12:05 AM
So here's an update after a short while without news.

I've finished placing mountains and hills. I've started putting color into mountains and you can see that I'm not finished with that. I've also started to put down rivers. I think I like them for the moment but I think I'll need to add some. My next steps will be to finish the mountains and to work a bit on the rivers to make them smoother. After that the ground color will be next... and I'll be honest I have no idea on how to approach that. After ground is done I'll have to do the water.

Once again, downsized. 5000x5000 instead of 10000x10000.


Please tell me what you're thinking.

- Max -
05-19-2013, 12:18 AM
Pretty good job so far. The colored mountains needs more work on shade/lightning though. But for now, with the overall blue, it gives the map a night ambience...Interesting

05-24-2013, 11:59 PM
I'm in a big period of doubt right now...

I like what I've done so far but I don't think I'm happy with the overall shape of the landmass. I feel like I need to start over at the basics and work my landmass. Gosh I always do this !

05-25-2013, 12:57 AM
I feel like I need to start over at the basics and work my landmass. Gosh I always do this !
You're not the only one. :D Don't beat yourself up about it; if you feel like you painted yourself into a corner sometimes the worst thing you can do is try to continue with it no matter what. You'll just get even more discouraged and not want to do anything to do with mapping at all. Sometimes it helps to start another map that has nothing to do with your current project, just to give yourself a break while still actively mapping. Works for writing too.

06-04-2013, 12:11 AM
So after a short while of indecision I decided to keep going with the current state of my world. I can always change stuff later and even if this is not perfect it will serve it's purpose of being good practice for me, being something esthetically pleasant and of course to help me in the writing of my novel.

So since last time (it's been a while !) I decided to put mountains coloring aside for a while as I'm fed up. So I started by giving the finishing touch to rivers. Then I added a parchment texture, ink splatters and borders. I then built a compass rose and I'm pretty happy with it !

You'll also notice I started to add some subtle textures here and there. I'll keep them very subtle. I still need to balance them but they'll become useful when I'll add in the ground color.


I'd like some criticism or tips or anything really. Thanks !

- Max -
06-04-2013, 03:12 AM
The compass you built is nice! :) I'd decrease the opacity of the rhumb lines abit though. Also for the colored mountains, you should try to add some highlightning on the left sides to avoid the full flat brown mountains and to keep the nice shading job Ramah did on them. The border looks cool, maybe abit too clean (and the bevel and emboss effect on the corners looks too much digital and really clash with the overall map). Hope it helps.