View Full Version : Another another first map project

06-07-2013, 07:14 PM
Hi everyone,

I recently started my first serious map project which is based on a fantasy RPG-campaign of mine. The map is nowhere near finished and almost anything can be changed. Everything is made in Photoshop and layered so that stylistic adjustments are easy to implement. Tree brushes are from a royalty free downloaded pack but everything else is self drawn. Obviously I haven't yet completed adding forests, mountains, roads, cities or anything but there's already a little bit of everything so you can see where I'm heading.

I would love to hear your thoughts and constructive criticism! Any ideas for colors, icons, brushes, anything? One thing I'm having especially tough time are the rivers so any help with them would really be appreciated. That big long main river splitting the continent is probably completely illogical..? I have already read http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/3822-how-get-your-rivers-right-place.html but since I don't have any real experience I'm not sure if my rivers have any logic to them... So, river experts, please check them out :D!


Will post an update as soon as I have done any major updates, changes or additions. Thanks in advance for your help!


Aleksi Hietanen

06-08-2013, 06:33 AM
That big long main river splitting the continent is probably completely illogical..?

Afraid so. Rivers don't naturally run from one coast to another, dividing a land-mass like this. Water flows downhill seeking the lowest plain. Thus mountains and highlands form watersheds; water will flow downhill from either side of them. For this reason you should also have rivers leading up to each of your mountain ranges, especially that range that has the waterfall running from it.

The map looks nice overall though.


06-11-2013, 06:23 PM
Thanks again Arsheesh! I'll fix these river issues next and post an update in a few days :)


06-12-2013, 01:58 AM
You've got a similar river issue on that southern peninsula.

The river system on the far right is kinda suspect too; why doesn't the river flowing out of the little lake there find the shortest way to the sea? Is there a high ridge or mountains or something there, causing it to divert dozens (or hundreds, depending on scale) of miles out of its way to join the more northerly river?

06-12-2013, 03:32 AM
Apart from some of the rivers, that's an awesome first map. The coast looks really nice and the mountains are great. I suggest finishing the placement of all mountains and hills before adding in the rivers, that will make it easier!

06-13-2013, 12:57 PM
Thanks Diamond and Lingon! I'll fill in the mountains first and remake the rivers after that! Stay tuned for the updated version ;)



06-13-2013, 07:21 PM
Ok, here we go again:


I added a few mountains and tried to fix the mentioned river issues. Can you guys spot any problems with these new rivers? Aestethically would you prefer the new river "style" or the old one?


06-14-2013, 01:47 AM
Those rivers are more plausible as far as start/ end / branching. They could use more small twists and turns - though certain old map styles did just what you're doing.

That big south-to-north river still has one issue - it implies that whole stretch of continent tilts fairly gradually down to the north - yet the terrain doesn't show that.

The former look was better - incising the rivers is a digital effect that would have been hard to duplicate by old-time cartographers. The rest of your symbology is flat and representative, clashing with this one 3-d effect.

In general, it looks quite good.

06-15-2013, 07:47 AM
The river effect would actually not be that hard, if the cartographer was willing to shade and highlight every river, but I agree that it's bit inconsistent with the rest of this map and the first style was better. The rivers themselves look great now though!

06-15-2013, 02:32 PM
Thanks for your advice guys :) I just updated the river style and added some hills and fields. The southern part of the continent actually is higher than the north so I think the long river is now behaving more logically. The southern coast consists mostly of rocky scarps and steep bluffs. Are there any typical geographical features that higher ground usually has? Should I add more hills or mountains to the south? Furthermore, does the higher altitude usually affect the climate significantlly?

The latest update:



06-16-2013, 06:08 AM
I like the new river style, simple but good, though it looks a little odd that they have a redder tone than the ocean. Just a matter of taste I guess, but I think it might look more cohesive if they were the same color.

The long river makes me think of the Amazon river, which also goes across almost an entire continent. The whole west coast of South America has a mountain chain along it; something similar on your south coast could help show where all the water for the river comes from, and suggest the long south-to-north slope.

Which geographical features would be more common on higher ground and how climate is affected I'm afraid I'll have to let someone wiser answer!

11-27-2013, 02:46 PM
I haven't had much time to work on this project in the last few months but just wanted to say that I still plan finishing this one day :D Here's the latest version: