View Full Version : First Continent Map - WIP - Advice Welcome!

06-02-2013, 10:40 AM
Hey everyone,

So I'm creating my first continent of the world I created for my RPG game. I've come up with alot of the history and names and landmarks. But for my original map idea, I want it to be focused on this first big continent. I've included what I have so far.

So my main advice that I am seeking, is what should I include named and marked on this map? Any suggestions and reasoning would be highly welcome. The columns on the side are going to be vignettes of the cultures that make up the world. (a few varieties of elves, humans, dwarves, etc...)

The cartouche is going to include a basic description of the "age" and who it was commissioned by and some details. The basic concept is there is 3 kingdoms and 7 free cities that comprise this continent. There are some political problems as well as magical forces at work.


Thanks in advance!


06-02-2013, 03:10 PM
Wow, that looks really fantastic. My only nitpick is that the yellowish glow around the cartouche (which is beautiful by the way) is the same color as the landmasses, and it makes it seem like there's a cartouch-shaped continent hidden under there. :D Oh, and maybe lower the opacity a bit on the hashing around the coasts.

As far as naming, I'm not sure what the actual size of the map is (is this the actual size?), but that's going to play a big part in how much stuff you label. If this is a continent (even a smallish one, like Australia) I'd think you'd want to label at least major regions within each country, mountain ranges, islands and oceans.

Overall GREAT work. Have some rep!

06-02-2013, 05:48 PM

Thanks for the input and the praise! The continent is roughly the size of Australia, if not a "teensie" bit bigger. So yeah, the regions (kingdoms) mountain ranges and oceans are a good start. The output of the map in it's largest format is 26in x 14in at 300dpi, but I think the generally speaking it will be a little over double the size I attached.

So I'll get chugging with adding those major items and see what space I have left over.

Thanks again for putting it in perspective (I didn't even think to compare it to Australia and then look at a map about that size.)


06-04-2013, 12:08 AM
You are off to a lovely start Casenote! I really dig the style, and the color scheme. Looking forward to seeing this develop.


06-05-2013, 12:59 AM
This is looking fantastic and shows a lot of promise!

My first piece of advice would be to try to move that BEAUTIFUL floating frame with the title on to the right if possible so that it does not cover up the eastern bit of land to the west of your main continent if it is small enough (the western landmass that is) Having it over the land mass feels odd almost like the land the the floating frame are a connected piece at first glance to my eye. That or possibly move it over the ocean to the right and expand the frame in that direction.

You seem to have all this unused water in the east you might be able to pull in border unless you plan to fill it with some useful information as it currently feels like dead space. Maybe you have plans for it?

That border on the floating element is incredible. Did you make it yourself or source it from somewhere?

Near Oshtherrad you seem to have a dead sea situation with no drainage to the ocean, same with Bermir, are these deliberate? The lakes in the western landmass also don't seem to have drainage now that I look at them too.

I agree with Diamond on the coastal cross hatching if only because it is a little dark.

I like the subtle texture you've given the entire map! I look forward to seeing in future iterations :)

06-07-2013, 08:00 AM

So with some good advice and some tutorial reading, I've got the map to it's next step, color!

Viking! Thanks for the input, these are incredibly helpful. I do have plans for the dead spaces. As for the floating frame, I found some old cartouches sources on maps, I'll dig up the site and post. As for the "lakes" I planned for those to be interior seas, It wouldnt be hard to attach either back to the sea, do you think this a good idea?

I took away the labels, and cartouche for the moment, but will be adding them back once I get this coloring complete.



p.s. Viking I didn't see your post until I was uploading, so I do plan on following your advice!

06-07-2013, 02:01 PM
Don't take this the wrong way, because the map really looks good in color as well, but I think I liked it better with just the blue and yellows. The whole map had a really nice antique vibe to it that kind of feels lessened by the inclusion of color.

And now those dark cross-hatches on the coasts REALLY stand out too much.

- Max -
06-07-2013, 02:44 PM
I concur with Diamond. First version had more a old feel than the latest one and was better imo.

06-07-2013, 02:57 PM
have to agree with the others. nothing wrong woith the new one, but the first one just looks nicer. the cartouche could be a bit smaller though. i do prefer the water colour on the new version though

06-07-2013, 08:29 PM
I have to agree with my predecessors on this one, the first map is certainly the nicer of the two. It's a fantastic blend of old-style mapping and what appears to be the Eriond style (yes, it's officially a style of mapping). It adds to the grungy, real feeling of the map and lends it a flavor that speaks to it being a map any of your players might find in a Mallynasian cartographer's shop, or some dusty old library in a musty tome on the top shelf, itself a small treasure. This would lend itself to all manner of possibilities for game play. Perhaps it contains a location lost to lore or indicates a treasure long forgotten; possibly, the map indicates a civilization lost to the ages...the possibilities are endless really.
The colored version would, in my opinion benefit from a more realistic sea coloring to match the land forms as you've placed a satellite version map on a "hand-drawn" background. Two disparate styles that don't blend well in color. Both are wonderful maps, but since this is for an RPG, your characters/players may want something that fits more and helps the suspension of disbelief. This opens up more paths for you to pursue with the maps and their usage in your games and game planning.
I did want to point out that above the western lake on the main continent you have a pair of rivers that seem to meet and then simply stop as well as a lake on the western landform that does not have an outlet.
They are both very nicely rendered maps and a wonderful effort. For that you deserve some rep! I look forward to seeing how you further develop the maps and the lands they depict.

06-09-2013, 11:07 PM
I've started some labeling. I've also changed the color up to meet in the middle. I also have the color able to be disabled with 1 layer group! So when I finally complete the project I'll post side by sides.

Let me know how this is looking.

06-10-2013, 01:00 AM
Hi Casenote,
Sorry for not responding sooner. It would be nice if the forum automatically tracked the threads I posted in but I'm sure there is a way to subscribe somehow I have yet to figure out.

For the lakes with no sea exit. I would say it is up to you as long as you know realistically the lakes would likely be salt water and resemble the dead sea. This means the lakes would not support much life at all and their rate of evaporation would have to match the inflow levels or it would otherwise fill up until some of it could drain to the ocean. There are story ways you could create to get around this like saying that maybe the lake drains into an aquifer and the water springs up elsewhere thus allowing it to have enough flow to stay fresh etc. You could also just disregard it :p If it were me I'd probably attach most of them although having a single dead sea like area may provide some interesting story opportunities!

Even though it is a minor change I highly approve of you moving the floating frame. Changing its colour also helps it stand out more which I am sure was your intention.
Those two land masses in the west are pretty interesting actually. If it were my map, I'd just move the two pieces of land south and maybe move the frame to the north to show them off Here I must apologize and express my respect for your beautiful map. I totally butchered it to show you what I mean. I understand you probably won't do this because you likely have reasons for where certain landmasses are and have an overall picture of your world. I'm just an obsessive who enjoys photoshop sometimes!. :( So here is what I mean (again, totally only as a suggestion with which you can do whatever you want and freely and guiltlessly disregard :P lol I hope you can forgive! : 55244

Anyways, I see what the others said about the more saturated colours and I think you struck a good balance with toning them down a few notches. I would defer to the opinion of some of the more experienced map makers on here on this but have you considered varying the text colour? Maybe some of the land masses could have a more ochre coloured text instead of the black so that the city names and region names stand apart more easily. That is of course not to say there is any note worthy confusion now :)

I look forward to seeing this map evolve! :)

06-10-2013, 07:19 AM
First I would like to say thank you to everyone for looking at this and taking a little time for the pointers!!!

As for the color: I'm torn myself between the soft colors of the new version, and the archaic feeling first version. In the end I'll try both!

Viking: I think you are right about the landmasses to the west. I will definitely try and work with those, I might try your suggestion of pushing the land mass to the right, or dropping the continent as you have done. The suggestion for different colors on the fonts good, I've been toying with that as well but can't seem to strike a balance of what I like.


06-10-2013, 07:25 AM
Hi Casenote,
Sorry for not responding sooner. It would be nice if the forum automatically tracked the threads I posted in but I'm sure there is a way to subscribe somehow I have yet to figure out.

you can :p there's an option in your user settings to receive emails when threads you post in are replied to. be warned... it can spam your mailbox if you post in a lot of threads!

OT: the compromise update is nice though personally i still prefer the first pic (more personal tastes than anything 'wrong' with the other, though.

06-10-2013, 09:39 AM
I love the newest version. Sure, the first one has some charm as it looks classical/old-styl-ish. But it lacks a lot of information that the newest version has with its colors (vegetation and such).
And i totally agree with Viking...it'd be a shame to hide that nice western continent behind the big-ass (sorry :D) cartouche. So either move the landmasses (a bit drastic, dependent on how well thought out your world already is) or the cartouche (or make the cartouche smaller).

Anyway, have some rep.! And i am very much looking forward to the finished map...and hopefully more maps to come from this world.
Btw, as always, my obligatory question: care to share some info about the world and its inhabitants? I'd be very much interested.