View Full Version : World of Skenth WIP

05-24-2013, 02:59 AM
Hi guys. Here is the map of the world the previous Genth coastal map I posted belongs to:

Here is a portion where most of civilization exists. The paths over the water and corresponding numbers are supposed to be estimated travel times in days by ship:

My biggest priorities at the moment are working on the geography and the border with other tasks momentarily secondary. I am trying to decide between the following four options to flank this little circular design I am making. I intend to have 4 corner portraits with illustrations and 10 side portraits with illustrations in them too. Any suggestions are welcome on which of the four options may look best! :

This map started off as an earlier map way before my Genth map looking thus:
As you can probably tell, I've been going through the process of upgrading the map to a fuller painted out look which is still ongoing in the north west. The south east started out as brush strokes and not as lines so that explains the discontinuity but I will unify them eventually. This baby is going to take me quite a while!

- Max -
05-24-2013, 03:14 AM
Looking goog so far! Though the pale blue borders ( I assume it's territories borders??) are kinda confusing with rivers. Adjusting the color may help :)

05-24-2013, 03:26 AM
Ooh, nice. I agree with Max about the borders, but otherwise this is looking really lovely so far.


05-24-2013, 03:58 AM
very nice maps, though as max said, the border colours are very similar to the water/rivers, so maybe go for soemthing else instead (id rep you but i need to spread some love first, sorry)

05-24-2013, 05:11 AM
Hot damn. That's lovely stuff, don't suppose you've got any WIP shots? I'd love to see how you got your paint-on in more detail.

05-24-2013, 10:21 AM
Thanks guys! :) I will definitely fix up that border!
WhatTheBlazes: I can put together some progress shots later though I don't have a ton of stages saved.

05-24-2013, 10:28 AM
Looks amazing!

05-24-2013, 11:28 AM
Very very nice. I can't rep you at the moment, so have a "like" instead.
I totally dig the painterly style. Very unusual and rare and therefore something special.

05-25-2013, 04:57 PM
Thank you! It is the thought that counts I'm sure :)
I think it's probably so unusual because it takes soooo long haha

05-26-2013, 09:38 PM
I finally got the border in. The grey areas will have illustrations.54919

05-26-2013, 09:59 PM
I love the Kawthran pterodactyl going after the puffin :-).

Actually, I love all of it.

05-27-2013, 08:09 PM
Thanks jb :)

05-29-2013, 08:34 AM
This is already one of my favorites this year. If nobody nominated this for Cartographers Choice, when finished, I will do so.
Keep on the good work!

05-29-2013, 11:37 PM
Wow Schwarzkreuz!
I'm incredibly flattered and honoured! I will definitely keep on working on this one :)

05-29-2013, 11:58 PM
Yep, that's gorgeous. I definitely agree with SK.

05-30-2013, 08:16 PM
Thank you Diamond! :) Again, I'm flattered!

Here is an update:


05-31-2013, 10:51 AM
That is definetly not a simple map. That is a piece of art. :compass: Looking forward to seeing the border-illustrations :)

06-01-2013, 10:58 AM
I think it's possible that the brush strokes in the sea are a touch too.. obviously photoshop brush strokes? Those big round edges in some places are a little jarring.

Beautiful map though, man. I like the crocodile head, as well.

06-01-2013, 06:05 PM
Thank you Gallien! :) This one definitely is going to take some time!

Thanks, WhatTheBlazes. The ocean is definitely not finished yet :) I hope to smooth it out and give it some details when I get around to it. Right now the land masses and the border illustrations are taking priority.

- Max -
06-02-2013, 01:07 PM
Nice progress on it, looking forward to the way you'll finish the border :)

06-02-2013, 08:16 PM
This is the current state of the map:

There is still a lot to be done obviously! I would say only 2 of the 14 portraits would be near completion. In case it isn't obvious I try to work broadly over many different aspects at once as opposed to how a printer would work where each area is completed to full detail before the next line is created.

I will create a legend box and an adequate compass in time.

06-02-2013, 09:36 PM
Those portraits are going to be beautiful when they're all finished.

06-03-2013, 05:35 PM
I'm absolutely enamored by this map and by your Photoshop painting skills in general. Alternating between your WIP images gives a beautiful insight into your work process!

06-03-2013, 08:06 PM
Thanks Diamond I hope so! :)
Thank you Saurus! I will put up a step by step on my painting process at some point for sure!

06-03-2013, 08:09 PM
Really wonderful map! I'm in awe.

06-03-2013, 09:39 PM
Stunning map. The border is great, especially with all the little pictures. but what I really like is the natural, almost organic look of the islands.

06-04-2013, 09:50 AM
Wow! What an amazing map.

06-04-2013, 08:03 PM
Thank you guys! You're very kind and encouraging :) It is good to know the work on the border is paying off!

- Max -
06-04-2013, 08:17 PM
Great job Viking :) Keep it up!

06-05-2013, 12:44 AM
Thanks Max! :)

06-06-2013, 07:28 AM
Great work. Its a Map that waked my interests more than most others recently.

06-06-2013, 12:14 PM
I'm trying to find the English word for the Swedish "fantasieggande", to describe my feeling for this map… Judging by your username you might be from a Nordic country, so maybe you understand what I mean, otherwise "stimulating to the imagination" is the best translation I can come up with. Either way, absolutely gorgeous map!

06-06-2013, 08:24 PM
"Fantasieggande", indeed! Absolutely beautiful map in all aspects. One can almost imagine the peoples of an early age forcing an existence in the maw of the great beast "Earth" unkown to the more civilized lands of the northwest. The exploring triremes making their way amongst the tail of that beast as they explore the world around them, the burgeoning trade in the isles as this cog and that sail to and fro, sailors and dockworkers in long knickers in the myriad ports, fishmongers hawking their catch, and the busty Norfolk harbourmaids casting naught but the most charming of smiles intended to lure the naive and separate any man from his coin.
Also, I really enjoy this map.

06-07-2013, 08:33 PM
Thank you so much :) That means a lot and is very encouraging!

Alas although I like to think I have some viking in my blood I can't be sure! I do regard that region of the world fondly however :) Thank you for your kind words. I am glad my map is perhaps so evocative for you! That is the emotion I want my players to think too.

Kaelin: Thank you for your kind comment! Your response to the map is pretty awesome and I love how you describe what you envision! I think I can feed off your words creatively too haha.

In the history of my world there definitely have been a number of long forgotten or never heard of civilizations with the south east being far more primal than the north west. At this stage of history the world is far from virgin though the north western civilizations are in a state of rebuilding from being incredibly ravaged by a series of events unconducive to stability, culture and general progress. Being a fantasy world many of these forces are monstrous or hoard prone with some magical and regular plagues thrown in for texture. I want the world to be a dangerous place with those with laws and walls existing precariously while being surrounded by savage forces. The kingdom borders themselves as I've put them down represent uncontested claims that the kingdoms can manage secure. All the empty space outside them is inhabited by monsters or barbaric tribes that prohibit much organized territorial expansion. Most of Madenska itself has at various points had empires and peoples wash back and forth over it leaving vast stretches of "forsaken" littered with abandoned cities and farmland that has long ago gone fallow and wild.

Here is an update of the map:

- Max -
06-07-2013, 08:52 PM
The drawings in the little round frames are very nice though they pop ub a bit too much. I'd tone done the colors (something closer to the map tone itself). For now It spreads attention from the map imo. Still some very good job :)

06-08-2013, 01:03 AM
I see what you mean Max. Thank you!

06-08-2013, 07:19 PM
I agree with Max, the border illustrations are realy a bit to heavy contrasted compared to the overall Map

06-09-2013, 12:18 AM
While I do agree that the borders are bit too crisp compared to the more painterly style of the map I still have to say damn sir I need your skills because this is amazing.


06-09-2013, 03:55 PM
I like the border pictures very much, especially the ent-tree : - ) But all of them are absolutely great!

06-10-2013, 01:13 AM
Schwarzkreuz: Yea you're right I think. I'm going to work to subdue the contrast and maybe temper down the blacks. :)

LWD: Aww you're too kind! Honestly, it's just a matter of putting in the time y'know? There are no shortcuts to it sadly! haha
I will try to fix up the border. As for detail level, hopefully they will balance out more as I put more into the landmasses and oceans.

Gallien: Thank you :) Hopefully I'll finish the "border portraits" soon.

06-16-2013, 02:47 PM
Hi guys I have finally been able to put some more time into my map. I've replaced the place holder compass I had with something more worthy of the map though I still plan to modify it shortly. I plan to replace the green gems in it with the metalic colours of their corresponding directional pointing things. I have worked on the side portraits and have three left to complete. I've also reworked parts of the north west and created a step by step compilation image of the process.


Here I decided to rework the north western continent of Yoria. It still felt too flat to me and the outline conflicted with the slight perspective I've been trying to give the map. Initially the map was top down but now I've tried to present it at a slight angle; somewhere between 45 and 80 degrees.
It's still not entirely done of course and I've been thinking I'll sharpen up some of the shore lines a bit and smooth out the hills more. I've been very slowly trying to eliminate the initial black outline I had given everything. The new landmasses to the south east lack it.

Here is a comparison between the old and new compass:
I may need to tone it down a tad to make it less visually dominant.

- Max -
06-16-2013, 03:02 PM
Nice to see the whole process :) The compass looks nice though it clashes a bit with the painted styme of the overall map imo :/

06-16-2013, 03:10 PM
I agree. How does this compare to your eye? I desaturated it a good bit.


- Max -
06-16-2013, 03:34 PM
Hmm the attachment is invalid

06-16-2013, 05:56 PM
I updated it, it should work now.

- Max -
06-16-2013, 06:12 PM
I'm still thinking it doersn't fit the overall look of the map :/ Too clean and crisp imho

06-17-2013, 05:09 PM
Hmm okay :\ I will see what I could do to further integrate it with the rest.
I finally got around to finishing the bottom left corner portrait:

Here is what it looked like before:

- Max -
06-17-2013, 05:13 PM
Awesome hydra!

06-17-2013, 05:19 PM
Thanks Max :)

06-18-2013, 05:06 AM
Glorious stuff man! Seeing that workflow is pretty inspiring actually, thanks a lot for that.

06-18-2013, 09:29 PM
My pleasure :)

06-19-2013, 07:11 PM
Beautiful work! The compass looks good to my eye... it does pop off the map because of the finer style compared with the painterly strokes of the map-work, and with the way you've shaded it I'm inclined to believe that you meant to do it that way, plus it matches the border detailing. Yep.

A couple of things I'd probably tweak... Hopefully you're not finished with the SE landmasses, especially cleaning up around the bottoms of 'em. And, it could be my screen... your contrast on the map itself (overall, but esp the SE landmasses) appears hazy and indistinct--like a raw photo of the Maine coast in summer. It might be worth your while to use an adjustment layer with a custom mask to shove the contrast a little more into the clear.

Are you going to put anything into the empty, right corner? It might be an interesting place to place the title.

Oh, and one more thing... the shapes of your landmasses are epic. :)

06-20-2013, 01:43 PM
I am realy amazed about your details and style. Do you intend to do regional maps of the different Locations on this world?

06-21-2013, 01:11 AM
Chashio: Thanks so much on the generally extremely positive compliment :)
Yes, generally the compass does look much like I intended! I have muted it a bit saturation wise but am not sure how much more I might modify it for the time being. I may try to make the gold sections of the border shine in appropriate spots to match the compass. It may also mesh better when I get the legend in as it will be of similar style. Oh yes- I plan to put a legend in the top right corner, or at least, I'm highly inclined to do so. It's good you caught the shading under the compass too. I have been toying with having the border elements and the legend casting shadows as if they were floating as well.

For the coming legend, I'm not %100 sure what information I will record there but it may be enough to justify a large size that would necessitate shoving over the Delnian Ilses westward or into the Dragon Ocean in the south west quarter of the map.

I definitely am not finished with the south east landmass just yet :) It is intended to be very wild, untamed and mysterious to the inhabitants of the so called civilized lands in the north west which themselves have gone through a contraction of their organization and relative strength in recent centuries. Happily, I have been putting a lot of time into it over the last few days so it is showing some progress. I mean for the equator of the world to lay over that lower south eastern continent and want to give it a hot feeling as if it were mostly covered in jungle, desert or arid shrub land, all of which I suppose are quite different from maine at any time of the year lol. Needless to say I still need to put some work into it lol.

Here is an update of the southern continent:

As I see it I still need to do the following in no particular order of priority or sequence:
1. Finish the portraits
2. Finish the south eastern continent.
3. Create and finish the legend.
4. Finish the arctic region.
5. General polishing.

Schwartzkreuz: Thanks :) I don't plan on doing all regions of the world though I certainly will do a few. I want to do one of the island of Arinthia. I did one based around a city on the eastern part of the bay in Arinthia already actually. It can be found here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/23426-genth-coastal-region-2.html) I did this one first however.

06-23-2013, 01:45 AM

Here is an update.
Things added and worked on:
-More detail on south east continent
-Added grid and compass directional lines (inspired by some of Max's maps!) which I then proceeded to almost hide lol.
-I finally brought the remaining two border portraits int he bottom right to an acceptable level of finish though I still will likely add touch ups.
-I have started on the legend. I may move those little islands just to the left of it somewhere else, probably a tad west.
-I changed the shape of Maldia to more resemble a dragon, though this may be a little heavy handed. It is inhabited by dragon like humanoids.
-I faintly added some region names to clear in my mind what kind of uncivilized creatures are occupying the unclaimed spaces but I don't want to go crazy with this in fear of "locking" my world in. I may well remove them and you can hardly read them at this resolution anyways.

Things to do:
-Finish land masses, in particular the northern arctic and the south eastern continent. Notably, I am redoing a major river there.
-I may modify the compass more.
-I am not yet finished with the political matters and what details to add.

That is all I can think of for now.

06-23-2013, 02:19 AM
Looks fantastic, especially the small images in the border.

- Max -
06-23-2013, 07:54 AM
At least I inspired something on this map (even a hidden thing) :D On a serious note, great job as always!

06-23-2013, 10:25 PM
Thank you Sapiento! :)

Thanks Max! :)

06-25-2013, 02:17 AM
What font do you use?

06-25-2013, 10:35 AM
Wow, great map - I wish I cold paint like that. Thanks for posting the WIP images. One day I might try doing something like this.
The dragon head bay and dragon-like body of the SE continent is a bit too fantastic for me, but hey, it's fine if it works for you.
As for the compass, I'd tilt it 22.5 degrees to the right. It will flow in the same direction as your projection then.

06-26-2013, 09:09 AM
It's a fantastic map! Keep on the good work! :)

06-26-2013, 09:02 PM
Sapiento: I am using two fonts mostly. One is called Viking. I use it mostly for numbering and the lettering of the grid. I like it as a font though it has (I just realized yes, it has the same name as my username here haha) no lower case per se so it sees limited use. The second is Broken Planewing which in my map is used mostly everywhere. It isn't perfect as it leaves a few messy traces under some capital letters. I do wish I had something clearer from further away.
Viking (http://www.dafont.com/viking.font)
Broken PlaneWing (http://www.dafont.com/broken-planewing.font)

Adam Kadmon: Thanks Adam! Lol yes, the dragon/pterodactyl continent is pretty fantastic (as in fantastical). I have to be honest, projection is something that I did not really consider with this map :( Tilting the compass is kind of neat when I do it but I may keep that for a future map. Painting it all by hand is pretty fun though it is quite time consuming!! :)

AzurePlanet: Thank you very much! I will keep on it!

Here is an update of what will eventually be the legend:

07-02-2013, 10:21 PM
I've been busy working on real life things that need to be done so have worked on this only when I can. Just an update:

Inspired by Max's forests I decided to try to put some trees in my map instead of just implying their existence through colour. Of course, from this far away you wouldn't see any trees at all. I still have a lot of nit picky things to do like defining the mountains. I have been trying my hardest to eliminate outlining their shapes in black line or something.

Klaus van der Kroft
07-02-2013, 10:30 PM
Absolutely fantastic!

You are gentleman and an artist. Everything from the colours to the shape of the landmasses looks great.

My hat is off to you. Even my hat's hat is off as well!

07-02-2013, 10:43 PM
Looking really good there Viking, can't wait to see this when it is finished.


07-03-2013, 12:36 AM
Thank you and your gentlemanly hat so much! You're very kind! :)

Arsheesh: Thanks Arsheesh, believe me, I want to see it finished too! Haha.

- Max -
07-03-2013, 02:58 AM
Keep up the great job viking!

07-03-2013, 05:32 AM
Holy **** dude
your mountains are on drugs

10/10 for now and I really like the shapes of the lands

07-03-2013, 09:30 PM
Thanks Gan :)

07-17-2013, 09:40 PM
I'm still working on this thing, slowly. I just have so many other things that unfortunately take precedent :( I've been working on the legend and have decided to take the fairly common path of throwing in some heraldry since the legend is so darn big. I'm experimenting a bit with the city icons here. I will need to print a test soon to see how clearly things print as I've realized things are pretty crowded and may be hard to read. I think I need to do some fiddling still with clarity and am open to suggestions. These images are at about 70% of the full size by the way.

Does anyone think the travel times may be too small time wise?



07-18-2013, 02:49 AM
The legend is beautiful, the decorations look so authentic! I really like how you inserted those segments from the map too.

I'm not sure about the city icons though, I think they are a bit big and take to much attention from the landscape. Maybe it's just because I love the mountains and forests and steppes so much, and because I'm used to seeing it without icons, but I think smaller cities would fit the map better. It would also make it less crowded. Choosing a simpler font for the city names would allow you to write smaller labels too, which might be needed if you do shrink the icons.

07-18-2013, 10:04 AM
Hi Viking, I just popped in, but I can't keep myself from telling you already how much I love this map. One of the best!

07-18-2013, 09:41 PM
Lingon: Thank you so much :) I'm glad you like what I've done so far! The only downside with my mountains has been painting each one individually haha.
I appreciate your suggestions and tried making the icons and all the text smaller and it looks like this:
I have yet to experiment with other fonts at the moment and I didn't change the abandoned city icons yet so maybe that is still too distracting but I did a print test and while the new and old maps look great and clear on the screen they are a tad small when printed so I am trying to figure out the best way to upsize them, which is always dangerous with rasterized images!! hahah I may try keeping the larger font (of the two) since it is legible and keep the legend a similar size to how it is now while resizing the rest of the map a tad. We'll see I guess! I feel the need to do something with the borders but I'm not sure what. I want something simple and clear.

Caenwyr: Thank you :) You're very kind my friend!

- Max -
07-18-2013, 10:01 PM
Labeling surely need some more work to be clearly legible. I think this is the weak thing on the map. The choice of gothic font doesn't really make it imo and the colors make some labels really hard to read (especially the mountains ones, the smaller labels on sea and the brown tan labels on lands). Also using a large number of different colors is kinda distracting aswell.

07-19-2013, 10:25 AM
Hmm. Max does have a point about the labels.

The colors + contrast do tend to hide some things and make other things stand out maybe too much.
I'm also not personally fond of the haphazard layout concerning the label directions but if you like them that way then it is perfect. I prefer not having to cramp my neck everywhichway when there is space to lay a label horizontally and the artistry won't be murdered by doing so.

I do like the font (hand-painted maps should have beautiful lettering, in my opinion) but, perhaps... I've seen a lot of old maps that make use of different fonts for different sizes so that they remain clear but still have a nice touch of flair where it matters. Maybe save the really interesting fonts for the larger labels at sea and go with something less dramatic and straighter for the smaller things and--especially go with something straighter for the location names; straighter fonts are easier to read at small sizes and that may help with your printing conundrum.

Out of curiosity, how large is the whole print? You might also be able to get away with reducing the resolution a bit to scale things up depending on the paper quality and intended viewing distance. The rest of the map is really quite nice... I very much love the hand-painted mountains, am glad you decided to spend the time to make it that unique... It shows your dedication to quality and it certainly gives the world more dimension. Do you do commissions? If not, you might consider it.

07-19-2013, 11:44 AM
Perfect icons! I think you can keep the abandoned cities the way they are, they are so faint so they work at that size. And I agree with everything Chashio said about fonts :)

07-20-2013, 07:25 PM
Max and Chashio: Thank you both so much for your feedback as I see it's all well founded. I've tried to address a few of those things over the past day or so.

I've given the gothic font the boot. I've given all the geological features one font, which is clearer than the previous gothic one.

For the different bodies of water I've given them a stroke on the inside which at first I resisted and tried to use an outer stroke but the inner stroke is clearer when the font is small which also makes them look black but I think I can accept that for now. The city fonts have benefited a great deal in terms of clarity from moving away from the script like font and heading to the straighter Gabroila though it still looks like it was writte by hand which is something I want with this map.

I've limited the font colours to 4, one for water, one for landmasses, one for mountains and one for other features though I may further merge the last two to a single colour. It has been tricky to get text over mountains to show up due to the high value variation on the mountains themselves but I think I'm getting closer, even if it means a 2 pixel wide stroke lol. For the water labels this meant I needed to also increase the size of most labels as it did thin them out.

Taking your suggestion to hear about horizontal fonts being more easily read and taking away little from the artistry, I have tried to make all fonts as horizontal as possible except a selection of instances where I felt it was hard to avoid.

I ditched the navigation system I had with all the different paths and their associated numbers. I realized it was a huge problem in terms of clutter before and I think it is a lot cleaner and more subtle now with the less frequent dots. My new system simply involves counting the large dots as each day and estimating the distances. As the dungeon master I'd decide how long things take anyways so the dots would just be guides of travel times with average conditions.

It made me feel dirty doing it but I upsized my entire map except for the city font titles and city icons which were legible already on my print copy and I wanted to make the land feel roomier. I cry for the lost definition of my border and all the illustrations and their single pixel details! :(

The image that I originally was working with was 300 DPI at 5917 by 4651 pixels or 19.723 by 15.503 inches.

The current image is still 300 DPI but at 6852 by 5400 pixels or 22.84 by 18 inches.

By comparison the image I'm attaching below is 2900 by 2285 pixels as it has been reduced. So try to imagine the final image being a tad more clear I guess as it is reduced by half essentially.

The reason I aimed for those proportions is that fits snuggly in a poster size I have the option to print. I am not even sure that will produce a large boost but it will be better than previous. 23 by 18 inches is a fine size for any map I think though I have the problem where only a portion of my map needs that detail lol.

Lingon: Thanks man! I meant to say in my previous post, both city icons were small but I think I'm happier with the dots too. It's a funny thing what I've done though. Usually maps have a single symbol for a capital city (or varied symbols based on size) but I have two icons pulling that duty. The blue if alone in a nation and the yellow if there are multiple cities. It's kind of messy to explain I think lol.

Part of the reason I am taking so long on this is because I don't want to have to print it out twice and I think a lot about the long term implications in terms of story etc. My next map I probably won't be so fussy about. :)

Chashio, I will consider doing commissions after this is done thanks for suggesting it :) I have done a number of commissions for portraits of people as I do that quite a bit.


- Max -
07-20-2013, 08:39 PM
Some good improvments on labels! :) Though the red brown ones on mountains are still a bit hard to read, but that may be the 50% size of the map. Usually I personnaly use some light color font for mountains labels (especially on colored/contrasted ones) with some dark color outerglow set to normal mode and a bit expanded to fade well. Don't know if this would fit your labeling style though.

07-21-2013, 08:08 AM
Thanks Max! I'll try to lighten up the font for the mountains with a harder outline as you suggested. As much as I hate to do it I may change the font to something simpler too.

- Max -
07-21-2013, 08:38 AM
Not a great fan of "hard" outline because most of the time it doesn't make labels very legible, especially zooemd out or at some distance. And yea, "simpler" and solid font is often better and more legible than fancy ones, especially and full color maps.

07-21-2013, 09:51 AM
I hear what you're saying about the outlines from a distance. I changed the regional geographical names to Gabriola and it does add to the clarity I think. Here is a part of the map at 100% I feel like I can see the light at the end of this project soon. I still need to do some fiddling with label placement but from this point I just need to finish the heraldry.

- Max -
07-21-2013, 09:59 AM
Is it the final print size?

07-21-2013, 10:15 AM
It is yes.

07-22-2013, 06:59 PM
Oh, I like that font MUCH better. Much more legible IMO and doesn't take up as much room.

07-22-2013, 08:58 PM
Me too now that I'm used to it :) It seems better all around.

08-01-2013, 09:17 PM
I've just been experimenting with heraldry. I'm not sure if I shall give each city its own emblem or only each nation. There is only so much space on that floating box I have so I may add a section to the right with heraldry as I've seen done before around here.

I'd like to show which nations are kingdoms, which republics, which magocracies, which theocracies too. I'd like to add some other information too such as which cities contain which major organizations and their lowest social state the nation legally allows (being either slave, serf, or freeman)

If I put only nations I get enough room in the floating box but if all cities then not. The poster size I'll be printing on will have a bit of extra space since when I sized up the image a while ago I kept the ratio it was at. I just realized if I do a list on the side I could list each sovereign state (most of which will only be represented by a single city) and have major cities with heraldry listed under each.

If I do the side bar I'll need to fill up the floating box with extra text which usually is not a problem for me or map information. Perhaps I could create icons for areas currently plagued by piracy or even have a mini map showing some information such as racial distribution... many possibilities I suppose.


I have been referring to this amazing little site here (http://www.internationalheraldry.com/) so I'm aware I'm bucking a few conventions.

I'd appreciate any comments on the images I've come up with so far. I've posted at full size because some lines are 1 pixel wide which I may seriously regret when I print this!!! A3, E3 and E6 are probably not clear enough for instance. Any suggestions or comments are welcome.

08-01-2013, 09:44 PM
I would say stick to the heraldry of the major rulers like kings and so forth, if there are families which have power that vies with the rulers you may want to include their holdings instead of putting them under the rulers. Then again you don't have too many cities and countries defined on the map so you may be able to get away with the holders of each city. It looks like you have room for like 30 or so crests if you keep it simple like it is. If you wanted though you could do more elaborate crests, and/or more detailed denotation of what the thing represents (other than just their name).

If it were up to me I'd choose less clutter and not overwhelming the viewer with too much heraldry. What with the amount of family and political ties generated just among the ruling class, dealing with that would be a lot of information to tackle and try to convey in any meaningful sense (I mention this only because it was often visually evident in the heraldry).

08-01-2013, 10:07 PM
Thank you Falconius,
I think your advice is really sound. It probably does make a lot of sense to just focus on the nations and to keep things simpler. I definitely want to stay away from some of the rediculously complex heraldry out there like anything resembling later habsburg heraldry lol. I think to be safe I'll go through and simplify some of the shields further for clarity, like removing the chevron from C5 for instance.

08-01-2013, 10:59 PM
Gorgeous map you have there. It is completely clean and easy to read. Love the font. The heraldry I don't know much about, but I like designs

08-15-2013, 11:01 PM
I have been sitting on this for a while as I've been trying to hold off sharing more till I'm done as I feel I am getting rather close! What the heck though. Here is an update on the legend cartouche at about 70%. In terms of heraldry I may try to fill some of the white areas with colour. Thoughts in general?


08-15-2013, 11:34 PM
As a simple rule, avoid overlapping 2 colors. Use white, grey, silver (trey are all the same) gold or black (is ok too I think) to combine with a color. They used to combine these metal with colors to give better contrast so the symbol could be easily recognised on the battlefield even from afar. You don't have to do it but it's an idea.

You could also use fur just like the Kingdom of France did with the gold fleur de lys or the flag of Brittany : Tincture (heraldry) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tincture_%28heraldry%29)

edit: there is a good tutorial here you could consider if you want to add more details : http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/24147-miscellaneous-quick-tutorials.html
It's just an idea because they already look good.

08-16-2013, 03:19 AM
I love, love, love this. The half-isometric mountains are excellent.

08-16-2013, 04:21 AM
Very nice. I never suspected there were so many Kingdoms there on the map! The heraldry looks really good and clear.

This strikes me as a world in which there would be a lot of conflict. Especially with a couple of theocracies and mageocracies. Hell even one mageocracy is enough to drive endless conflict. Wizards man...

08-16-2013, 04:56 PM
Thank you for the resources on herladry :) It is cool to know that they would have considered differing specularity (ability to reflect light) of the metal colours versus standard colours. Is that what you meant? I've tried to focus the designs on being different from each other and being clear I guess over following conventional rules. I think I'll just keep the shields simple considering how small they are as well. I definitely appreciate the links!
A good one I found is this (http://www.internationalheraldry.com/) :)

I'm unhappy with the shield for Artheylia and a few others. Like I may alter Skols and Eritthlia too for legibility too.

Thank you very much! :) This map has taken me so long that I almost want to go back and redo the earlier mountains I've done but for my sanity I may resist lol. The next map can benefit right? haha



Yea, I was surprised when I did the count too! haha I ended up adding two more since I had heraldry I liked but couldn't put to use and it conveniently brought my total to 3 equal rows of 14. I tried to make the place a breeding ground for potential conflict :D Wizards and priesthoods both offer plenty of potential I imagine :) I wish I were better versed in fantasy plots involving them lol

Hopefully I'll get around to creating a series of maps showing the world at different points of its history with the different kingdoms at those specific eras. Maybe a map showing information showing some elements of their respective societies too such as language, religion, race and social structure information perhaps.

08-26-2013, 07:35 PM
57245 Here is new land. I've been redoing the north to make it blend easier into the rest of the map. If I were to do this map again it'd look different with northern regions being less separated. I had a polar region that seemed like a flat and unrealistic continent or a cap on a projection map but with a completely wrong scale.

I've been dragging this map out so long my technique has changed since the beginning. lol It has taken so long partially because I want to use the world for story telling purposes so it is not just simple cartography. The world I create in this map has to last a long while and provide enough realism and room for story potential. What I create sets limitations on my world.

57243 Here is an update on the Heraldry.

08-26-2013, 11:15 PM
Land Ho! And such beautiful land, too :) You spoil us Viking. But, please, keep it up!

Oh, you have a small discrepancy in that bottom-most subtitle... the map seems to have been produced in the year 5825, but the copyright is for 2013. ;)

08-26-2013, 11:33 PM
Aww thanks Chashio :) You're too kind! Yes, you're right about that discrepancy! I'll need to consult the letterists :p

08-27-2013, 06:36 PM
Is the "Kindgom of Barast" meant to be spelled that way?

08-27-2013, 06:57 PM
Beautiful !

08-28-2013, 12:20 AM
Rdanhenry: No that is meant to be "Kingdom" like the others. Thanks for pointing that out as I appreciate that!

Azelor: Thanks man :)

08-28-2013, 10:02 AM
Love the style. It looks amazing.

08-29-2013, 12:16 AM
Thank you Maiar!

09-05-2013, 09:23 PM
I have called this done and put a thread up in the finished map section. Please feel free to take a look! (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/24564-skenth-known-world.html#post224619)

01-27-2014, 11:52 AM
Hi Viking,
my english is bad, please apologize.
You did that map with PS, right? PS CS6?
Did you use one of these tutorials, or did you paint everything by hand?
Did you use brushes fpr this very nice color of the ocean?

Maybe you can give us/me a little glimpse in your art of working.
That would be nice :)

03-07-2014, 04:38 PM
Hi Luxferre,
I do use photoshop, currently CS5. Most of what I do you could probably do with far earlier versions however. I did paint everything by hand including the borders and the designs of the floating bits above. Obviously for some aspects I duplicated aspects such as for the borders. I definitely did use some brushes for the ocean colours.
I don't really recall looking at any specific tutorials. My previous familiarity and ability with Photoshop allowed me to create what I did although the guild has many excellent tutorials without question and I draw inspiration from the other artists here. The feedback I received in the WIP thread was without question a definite asset.

I will post something here that I also just posted in another thread to similar questions:

I don't use filters much at all when painting. I don't really use a specific blending tool other than the Photoshop brush. I set the opacity of the brush somewhere between 10% to 100% depending on how strong I want the impact of what I'm doing to be. Most painting is done at maybe 50 to 70% opacity. I pretty much leave the flow at 50% or so and let it be. A major part of the blending process is the colour picking/eye drop tool. I may lay down two strokes at 70% opacity or whatever and eye drop the colour created between them, lower the opacity and then paint out the area between.

As for layers, with this style I tend to use only a few layers. Sometimes the landmasses and the ocean are a single layer but sometimes separated. Both options have pros and cons. The rivers may but the trees definitely will have their own layers on top of that. For painting the land however I do tend to keep things on a single layer if possible. if I create a gap due to moving something with the selection tool I'm likely to fill it in with a layer under the main one and merge it later. If I am trying something out otherwise I will create a layer on top and if I elect to keep it, merge it down into the main one layer.

There are pros and cons to using varying amounts of layers:
1. Fewer layers:
-Simpler to keep track of.
-For me, it is a more fluid and satisfying process.
-Smaller file sizes that load and save faster and can be worked on more smoothly.
-Manipulating landmasses in a big way is in some ways easier. You can move land around and the mountains or hills on top come with it. If they are on separate layers you need to move them around individually.
-Less flexibility with revision (though I find this minor most of the time)

2. More Layers:
-Far more control and flexibility to refine, but the process is more tedious.
-More to keep track of and the possibility of painting on the wrong layer is larger.
-Larger file sizes, more system resources use to work with the file size.

I will use custom brushes to get textures, usually on oceans or when creating parchment looking areas. I tend to paint directly over earlier sketches and outlines although this is not always the case. When I create landmasses I like to block out the masses with a 100% opacity brush instead of focusing on outlines.

I hope that offers some insights :)

03-07-2014, 05:55 PM
Thanks for sharing, Viking, and thanks for asking Luxferre! Very insightful.

03-07-2014, 07:22 PM
My pleasure Llannagh!

03-08-2014, 02:08 PM
Brilliant work, Viking! :)

The WIP is quite educational for a newb (non-artist) like myself. Thanks for sharing.

03-08-2014, 02:13 PM
it's a beautiful map, you painted it?

03-08-2014, 11:01 PM
Tripleoh: You're quite welcome and thank you!

Sylkin: Thank you Sylkin. I created the map, yes. :) The only element I did not personally create is the fonts.