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Lingon
05-13-2013, 02:41 PM
That's the plan, anyway!

As I did't like the way my last map turned out, I decided I need more practice. So I flipped the paper over and began drawing something new on the other side. ("Recycling?! Are you kidding me?!" – my dad when he saw it.) And my portfolio is really thin too, so hopefully this'll turn out good enough to add to it. I've got no story or anything to accompany this map (though I'll have to come up with a little when it's labeling time), so I'll just go straight to the first WIP:
54537

For inspiration I've looked at maps from the 1800s, and I got the feeling there was some competition going on between the cartographers about who could place the most rivers on their maps. Which seemed fun, so I added a lot. My idea for mountains is to make them a lot less prominent than on my previous maps, just highlights and shadows and no inked lines, so that's why there aren't any there yet. I did draw them in faintly first though, to get the rivers and fjords right.

What else, what else… It'll be a watercolor painting, again, and my first try at a politically focused map. Thinking of using those fading colored borders I've seen so often. And a steampunk feel, which I'll try to achieve with color scheme and border decorations.

I'm working on a commission at the same time (no experimenting on that one, sticking to what I know!), so updates may be a bit slow until that's done.

Deaghaidh
05-13-2013, 03:01 PM
Very interested to see this one progress, as I'm kinda-sorta working on a steampunk themed project myself.

If I may make a suggestion, a good way to suggest the steampunk theme might be in the symbols you use for cities, lots of smokestacks and steel. Adding in railways might help as well.

Diamond
05-13-2013, 05:29 PM
That looks pretty darn cool so far! I really like the way those rivers and fjords look. Very 18th-century cartographic.

Chashio
05-13-2013, 06:30 PM
The rivers look awesome, though I'd not want to label all of them. This should be fun to watch grow. Is the commission a watercolor as well?

Battlecat
05-13-2013, 06:31 PM
I like what I see there so far. Love the look of the rivers, it's very detailed already!

lostatsea
05-13-2013, 06:59 PM
Looks interesting so far! Waiting to see how you do the mountains that spawn all those river-lets !

Lingon
05-14-2013, 12:10 PM
@Deaghaidh
Thanks for the suggestions! I don't think I'll be able to do that detailed city icons and keep them a reasonable size, but railways are a must!

@Diamond
Thank you!

@Chashio
Thanks! Labeling will be annoying, yes :lol: The commission is watercolor too, with a small amount of digital work. It's sort of an evolved version of the style of my first map, this one: http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/21413-watercolor-continent.html

@Battlecat
Thanks!

@Lostatsea
Thanks, I'm a bit curious about the mountains as well because I don't know exactly how I'll do them. Hopefully I won't mess the map up entirely :D


Here's a small update, just drew a box for text, a little steam ship, and inked the border. I plan to do one of those striped borders, but I haven't decided what projection this map is in (:oops:) so I'll wait with the actual stripes until I have the graticule done. The text box will get more decorations too, thinking of the swirls that surround practically all map titles from the early 19th century but I'm not sure yet. I took a higher resolution scan this time, 150 DPI instead of 100, as the first was a bit pixel-y.
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Deaghaidh
05-14-2013, 04:15 PM
For another "filler" image that screams "Steampunk", perhaps a cool airship of some kind.

Lingon
05-15-2013, 03:11 PM
Airships are a bit cliché though, aren't they ;) And I don't think there's space for more fillers, actually. But I appreciate the suggestion!

I began coloring the map, looks like this now:
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The ink bled a little, not to bad I think but a few rivers will need some redefining. I'll do the nation borders first though, as a lot of them will follow rivers and would mess up the inking again. I left the mountain areas white at this stage, but they'll look a lot less snowy when done ;)

Edit: Don't know what happened to the attachment, but it seems to work anyway…

Deaghaidh
05-15-2013, 06:28 PM
One man's cliche is another's established convention of the genre. :D

The attachment isn't working for me, but I've been having trouble loading the forums in general today.

- Max -
05-16-2013, 01:13 PM
Same here but it's an invalid link attachment

Lingon
05-16-2013, 02:46 PM
I guess it was the server problem yesterday, then. But there was nothing on yesterday's WIP that you can't see on today's :D
54646

I began painting the mountains here, the southern range, and… I don't know if it looks ok or if I hate it. I mean, it looks sort of like it did in my head, except it's ugly :| I don't know if I can save it either, or if I'll have to print one of my scans and restart the coloring. My printer can't handle A3 paper, and not heavy aquarelle paper either, but it's maybe the best option still. Does anyone have an idea of how to improve the mountains, or should I start over?

priggs
05-17-2013, 10:55 AM
That looks really good. Nice smooth color with texture.

For ideas on mountains, here are two:
Erwin Raisz mountain symobls (http://www.decorative-maps.com/articles/map-symbols-raisz-mountains/)

Heather Child mountain symbols (http://www.decorative-maps.com/articles/map-symbols-child-mountains/)

The current symbols seem to be the hairy caterpillar style seen in the Heather Child symbols. If you want to get really into this, see Cartographic Relief Presentation by Eduard Imhof (http://www.amazon.com/Cartographic-Relief-Presentation-Eduard-Imhof/dp/1589480260/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368798852&sr=1-5&keywords=topographic+swiss)

Chashio
05-17-2013, 12:49 PM
One question, because I'm not sure, and I like asking questions... would a steam engine produce a black cloud or a white cloud, or does it depend on the cleanliness of the pipes?

I like the colors and the shadings on the mountains. :) You might look at Google's satellite map imagery of Iceland for more ideas too, if you're not convinced of the direction you're going. I was running into a similar feel with the inktense map I started not so long ago. Part of it, I learned, is adjusting the contrasts, light and shading so that not all of the rivers and streams appear to be the same depth within their respective watersheds, and the hills between them don't all look to be the same shape and height. If that makes sense :?:

Diamond
05-17-2013, 04:09 PM
I actually like those mountains just the way they are. I may have to steal your technique...

Lingon
05-17-2013, 06:51 PM
That looks really good. Nice smooth color with texture.

For ideas on mountains, here are two:
Erwin Raisz mountain symobls (http://www.decorative-maps.com/articles/map-symbols-raisz-mountains/)

Heather Child mountain symbols (http://www.decorative-maps.com/articles/map-symbols-child-mountains/)

The current symbols seem to be the hairy caterpillar style seen in the Heather Child symbols. If you want to get really into this, see Cartographic Relief Presentation by Eduard Imhof (http://www.amazon.com/Cartographic-Relief-Presentation-Eduard-Imhof/dp/1589480260/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368798852&sr=1-5&keywords=topographic+swiss)

Thanks, glad you like it. Interesting links too.


One question, because I'm not sure, and I like asking questions... would a steam engine produce a black cloud or a white cloud, or does it depend on the cleanliness of the pipes?

I like the colors and the shadings on the mountains. :) You might look at Google's satellite map imagery of Iceland for more ideas too, if you're not convinced of the direction you're going. I was running into a similar feel with the inktense map I started not so long ago. Part of it, I learned, is adjusting the contrasts, light and shading so that not all of the rivers and streams appear to be the same depth within their respective watersheds, and the hills between them don't all look to be the same shape and height. If that makes sense :?:

I'll pretend I'm smart and try to answer the steam engine question: It'd give both white steam and black smoke, as coal is burned to boil the water. Actually, maybe I should add some white streaks in the cloud to show that?

Thanks for your thoughts on the mountains, very helpful and encouraging :) I've taken a look at Iceland, and Norway and Himalaya as well when I was at it. Google Maps might be the second best thing to use the Internet for (after discussing nerdy things on friendly forums). Mountains can look really strange from above… Anyway, I'll work some more on the contrast and variation. Thanks again!


I actually like those mountains just the way they are. I may have to steal your technique...

That'd make me very happy :D


So, to summarize: Thanks, all of you, for convincing me to not start over :lol:

jturner
05-17-2013, 06:58 PM
Wow. This is beautiful. Usually Photoshop-users want to achieve a watercolour effect, but you've managed to use watercolours to achieve a Photoshop effect! (That's meant to be a compliment, by the way :))

Chashio
05-17-2013, 07:12 PM
I'll pretend I'm smart and try to answer the steam engine question: It'd give both white steam and black smoke, as coal is burned to boil the water. Actually, maybe I should add some white streaks in the cloud to show that?

haha, thanks for the answer :) I'd not add white, myself. Maybe leave it alone for now and if you think it needs it when everything is near completion, add it then.

Lingon
05-18-2013, 03:49 PM
@Jturner
Thank you! Interesting thought :D

@Chashio
Yup, good call. I'll focus on the actual map before the smoke!


And speaking of the map… I know I said I was going to keep the caterpillar mountains, but when I began painting the second mountain chain and just laid down some darker grey-brown to give a bit of pre-shading before the details, I realized that maybe no details are needed. So I finished the second chain in the most simple way possible, and it looked like I wanted it to from the start without knowing it – or, well, it felt like that anyway. And I just had to have the first chain in the same style, so I ripped a piece of paper from a new sheet and glued this over the fat southern peninsula, and redid it. This is when I see the benefits of painting digitally… But the extremely simple mountain style is really fast, so I finished the whole surgery today. It did give an ugly scar though (this metaphor is completely improvised as I type, promise) and first I thought I had ruined the map completely. FUBAR. But then I saw that the edge of the glued-down piece actually made a rather nice shelf for the coast, so I tried to copy the look of that along the other coast as well. Now, I don't know if shelves could be mapped in the 19th century, but, you know, steampunk!
54688

Chashio
05-18-2013, 04:01 PM
Love it! Next you'll have to try a torn paper elevation map in watercolor. Could be interesting. Could be wonderful.

I have been curious about something else... did someone sit on your scanner cover? because there's that odd, darker, sort of fuzzy patch in the middle there, and it's rather distracting.

- Max -
05-18-2013, 04:15 PM
Yea but your coastlines should follow the land shape and that's not the case in the lower portion you re-did so it looks odd :/

Chashio
05-18-2013, 04:24 PM
Yea but your coastlines should follow the land shape and that's not the case in the lower portion you re-did so it looks odd :/

Think continental shelf.

Lingon
05-18-2013, 06:36 PM
@Chashio:
Thanks! That's an awesome idea about the torn paper. Soon I can make a complete map using just your suggestions :D About the scanner… I have an A4 scanner and the map is A3, so I'm scanning half at a time and piecing them together in the computer, which makes a vertical fuzzy line in the middle, and sometimes it gets darker as well depending on the mood of my scanner… I really want to buy a new one, but they are so expensive!

@-Max-
Well, the coastlines sort of define the land shape, don't they :P Just kidding, I know what you mean and you are right, the shelf should follow the coast better. Didn't know the paper edge would end up being a shelf when i tore it though, so I had to improvise, and, you know, sometimes it doesn't work out perfectly (or in my case, most of the time it doesn't), but at least I learned something from it.

- Max -
05-18-2013, 06:42 PM
True. And I guess it's kinda hard to work without be able to make mistakes cause you can't go back on them :)

Chashio
05-18-2013, 08:21 PM
Doesn't have to follow every coastline. You're allowed to have shallow seas. And oceans rise and fall. Look at England's shelf area.

Ah yes, the curse of the little scanner. What I'd do... What I do to work around that is scan it three times... left, right, center. Then stitch them together. The lighting should improve and it won't be fuzzy. It does look a bit like someone sat on it, as it is. :)

Diamond
05-19-2013, 01:38 AM
I'm sad that the fuzzy caterpillars went away, but this look is interesting too.

Lingon
05-19-2013, 11:53 AM
@-Max-
Actually I don't think it's harder per se, depends more on what you are used to I think. But yeah, you only have one chance to get it right when hand-painting, and I guess that can be stressful sometimes!

@Chashio
That's true about the shelves, and good scanner trick, I'll give it a try with the next wip! Thanks!

@Diamond
Well, hurry up and use it on a map of your own then :P Thanks for your support!


I began working on something small for the lite challenge today. Maybe I can do some multi-tasking, painting on one map while the other is drying… we'll see :)

- Max -
05-19-2013, 11:54 AM
You only do water colors work?

Lingon
05-19-2013, 12:31 PM
Pretty much. Sometimes I use acrylics too, if I need higher opacity, and usually I label digitally. I haven't been in this hobby for very long so I'll probably find other techniques I like, but I love how watercolors work and look :)

Diamond
05-19-2013, 03:58 PM
I love how they look too. I've never used/thought about using them - is it expensive? Messy?

Chashio
05-19-2013, 04:29 PM
I love how they look too. I've never used/thought about using them - is it expensive? Messy?

Only messy when your cat jumps on the palette, right Lingon? If you do decide to dabble, the quality of the tools and supplies matters a great deal in the quality of the final picture. But it is worth it... very much so. You can mimic the look of watercolors in a digital format, but the traditional medium is precious, I think, in a way that you can't mimic with pixels and printers.

Jaxilon
05-19-2013, 05:01 PM
Going great, keep it up. I've been busy in RL lately but I'm with you on the love of watercolors. I've been experimenting with them a lot lately myself.

Lingon
05-19-2013, 06:28 PM
Haha, good thing I don't have a cat I guess!

The price was a little shocking when I first looked, but then one of those small blocks of paint lasts for ages. I have a Winsor and Newton set that has sort of passed down the family, I'm the second generation to use it anyway and I don't think any of the colors have been replaced (though some are almost gone by now), which says something about the quality and life of those paints. W&N are pretty much as expensive as artist supplies get, and if I had bought my paints new I would never have looked at them, but I'm really glad I could inherit a set. When I eventually need to replace some color I'll try a cheaper brand, though there's a risk I've become so used to these posh paints that I won't be able to use anything else!

Brushes stay good for a long time too if looked after well, cleaning them all the time and storing them with bristles up basically, and then there's just the palette left, which is dirt cheap if you buy plastic and can be cleaned and reused for all eternity.

So all in all, there's a start-up cost, and it's rather high if you want top-end stuff, but in the long run it's not an expensive side of the hobby.

@Jaxilon
Thank you!

AMXPariah
05-20-2013, 02:43 AM
Have any of you coloring artists used prismacolors?

Lingon
05-20-2013, 04:26 PM
I haven't, though I've seen some maps here drawn with colored pencils, so someone else might have. Do you ask because you recommend them or because you want opinions on them, by the way? :P

arsheesh
05-23-2013, 05:47 PM
Wow, I love the way you've captured the light and shadows on the mountain range. This is going to be a lovely map indeed. Can't wait to see the next update.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Lingon
05-28-2013, 02:18 PM
Thanks Arsheesh!

My multi-tasking plan sorta failed, I haven't put a single brush stroke on this map since I started the challenge entry, but the deadline is approaching and however it goes with my entry I'll continue working on this one soon :)

Lingon
06-08-2013, 01:57 PM
I did a little bit of testing today. First I used G.Projector to draw me a graticule in the equidistant conic projection and laid this over the latest scan, then I painted in some nation borders digitally to see how it would look (I needed the grid first as I wanted some borders to follow latitudes and longitudes). So the below is just a test and will probably change, I'm not happy with all the colors and unsure about the borders, if they seem realistic or not. I'd love to get some opinions on it.
55198

By the way, this area is a colonized region, so the borders are meant to look like they were drawn pretty much all at once by a bunch of negotiating kings sitting around a desk (or something). I'm thinking, maybe there should be more borders drawn along a ruler to give that feeling, like it looks in North Africa and North America. I'd also like to get rid of some borders following mountain ridges, as they sort of hide the mountains I'm so happy with… And finally I don't really like how colorful the map became. Do you think it would be confusing if I just used three colors, and let some countries have the same if they have a different colored country in between?

Lingon
06-09-2013, 05:50 AM
A variant:
55211

rdanhenry
06-09-2013, 05:02 PM
I like the variant better. Looks more like arbitrary imposed borders. Modern, with more straight lines, it emphasizes that this is not another pseudo-medieval or faux-Renaissance map.

Lingon
06-13-2013, 04:49 PM
Thanks! Hopefully the setting will be clearer yet when I add symbols and railroads.

I'm really torn about the borders though. I want the colored style, but I can't get it to look right. I've made a couple more attempts but they aren't turning out any good. Either they become too colorful, or not steampunky enough. Three colors are too many, two are too boring. I'm considering doing something else entirely, like dotted lines, though I'm not really a fan of that kind of border for some reason. Does anyone have some other idea, or perhaps a suggestion for color combinations that would look better than what I've tried?

Lingon
06-15-2013, 08:29 AM
So, I tried something a bit different. This version focuses on only one nation. The others would still be detailed, but their borders wouldn't be defined. Maybe stupid, but I'm trying everything I can think of… I have also sketched some alternative border designs, including chains, barb wire, gears, victorian swirls, and other stuff, but they were all too decorative. I can post them if anyone wants to see, but I don't think I'll use them. I'm leaning towards this one actually (though I might move the eastern part a bit further west, more above the ship):
55385

- Max -
06-15-2013, 09:27 AM
This brown border looks really odd and confusing, probably too thick.

Lingon
06-15-2013, 05:59 PM
I'm ok with odd, but confusing isn't good… Would you mind telling how you are confused?

By the way, speaking of absolutely nothing: 100th post, celebrating with an avatar (featuring lingonberries)!

- Max -
06-15-2013, 06:11 PM
Maybe the term isn't the proper one. I mean that looking at the map, the borders looks ...well very odd :D It focuses the attention way too much and kinda "kills" the map imho :/

Lingon
06-16-2013, 06:50 AM
Ah, I understand! You are absolutely right, it does focus the attention too much. Thanks, -Max-! Back to the drawing board… I think the barbed wire idea was the most suitable out of my sketches, so I'll develop that a bit more and post it when I have something descent :)

Lingon
06-19-2013, 04:04 PM
And, because I apparently don't know how to follow plans, here is a map border instead of nation borders:
55522

Diamond
10-28-2014, 07:33 PM
Hey Lingon, any more progress on this? It's too awesome to die...

Lingon
10-30-2014, 01:08 PM
Sorry, I haven't touched this since the last update :/ Maybe I'll pick it up again sometime, I still kinda like the mountain style...