View Full Version : Harenova -- Learning Cartography From Scratch! ADVENTURE! Come and Help!

07-18-2013, 10:26 AM

I am absolutely, positively, splendiforously new to this forum as I had just found it this morning... and it is a wonderful community you have here, truly. It is very inspiring. So much that I have decided to be a part of it! So yes... I act a little non-serious but don't let that fool you! I may be a total greenhorn when it comes to cartography but I am incredibly enthusiastic about learning all I can to build a proper, elegant, realistic, and beautiful overworld map. Actually, I plan on making a few others for a couple of cities.

I have a personal project that I have been working on for two and a half years now (it's a fantasy comic book sort of thing). Mostly writing, editing, re-writing, character development, character design, and culture building. It is a constant work in progress and things change day by day (and all suggestions, comments, criticisms are welcomed and LOVED). As far as the actual world goes, I have only ever made rough sketches to get an idea for distance and placement of a few key places. A very BASIC overall image is clear in my mind as to what I want, but when it comes to understanding the unknown details that form the world, I know zip. Zilch! I do have a deep knowledge of photoshop and have an eye for aesthetics, so I don't think I'll need too much help once I get the base padded out. I also am experienced with Autodesk Maya and have no doubts I may try my hand at making a 3D version of future projects.


I have been scrounging about the threads for an hour or so looking for some guidelines and from what I've seen (so far), most start their "story" with a map. For me, it's the other way around. I've got a story and now I need a map to fit. Just to clarify, I'm not looking for you all to give the answers to me but for some form of guidance. A little poke or prod in the right direction so I can learn on my own how these things work.

SO. On with the details... I'll try to keep it as simple as possible.

The story takes place on a desert planet. The setting -- for those interested -- is very much a vision of the distant future straight out of the 70s (think Star Wars minus droids and spaceships) transplanted into a culture influenced by medieval Persia, Greek, Rome, and India. Technology is limited as resources are fairly scarce.

And now...! On to the absolutely sad little sketch I have padded out... It is scarce and pathetic, but I hope it is taken seriously. Please remember I am nearly 100% new to cartography.

(The yellow swirl is pretty irrelevant to the map-making, but in regard to the story and to put a few things in context, it's a wormhole to another dimension that ripped into Harenova in the past several hundred years and is very, very slowly expanding. It's world-breaking and influences the environment the closer one travels to its center. ........... FANTASY...! In the last century, the majority of the world became aware of it so all are in a scramble to find a solution. The wormhole did not exist before the formation of the continent so for the sake of making the map, pretend it's not there. :P)

- Harenova is a predominantly desert supercontinent. The rest of the planet is ocean. As far as scale goes... the planet is Earth-sized and the ocean covers 2/3 of it.
- Kala'Nea city is the most prosperous. Perhaps located on a river or oasis? Desert environment.
- Tartaros is pretty damn uninhabitable. Due to either bad weather/climate or lack of resources. There's a self-sustaining colony used as a research facility.
- The red line marks a ferry route, which will most likely change once I implement water currents.
- The blue lines are mountain ranges that MUST stay in those relative places.

With this first post, I am laying out notes for myself and for others to see. I am also asking for a little guidance in regard to tectonic plates and water/wind currents. I know a smidgen about how tectonic plates work but... not nearly enough. And I embarrassingly know nothing in regard to wind and water currents. I'm going to do my best in educating myself on these matters (hooray for the internet!) but I am open to any suggestions, tips, links to articles, links to science, SCIENCE!, links to other posts that I missed that cover questions, anything really!

I really am wet clay for this community to mold. I'm openly laying out my ignorance so thanks for all your help in advance...

EDIT: Clarity, grammar.

EDIT 2: Though now reading around... I think I might want to reduce the ocean size... maybe to 1/3 of the planet, which won't be too troublesome. Hrm. -makes mental notes-
EDIT 3: Playing around with the image in Maya to see what a 1/3 ocean would look like... looks neat, but I'm going to have to scale the entire map up. 2/3 Ocean is easier to visualize, but dare I sacrifice realism for aesthetic? -more mental notes-

Made a gif for funzies! :) (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/adrygan/gif1_zps15148596.gif?t=1374162925)

Makes a little more sense looking at it in 3 dimensions, but I think the ocean still needs to be smaller... and when I do that, the islands from the left and right sides form a little "bridge". Neat.

Edit 4: I'm just going to keep editing this first post until major significant progress... Stretched out the map to make it appear more like a world map instead of a single continent (adding little fiddly bits around the coastlines will help as will smaller islands...). Picked out some continental plates and am messing around with plate tectonics... Soon will figure out ocean currents. Then wind currents. Eee... Time to read some more.

07-18-2013, 02:05 PM
Hey, welcome to the Guild! I admire your enthusiasm. :D

If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to ask; for now I'll just sit back and watch and chime in if I see something egregious. :D

07-18-2013, 03:48 PM
Thanks for the welcome!!

Actually, I do have a question... I think.

After reducing the size of the ocean and putting what I have so far on a 3D sphere, I'm aware of how potentially far away from the sun the northern and southern most parts of the map will be. The hottest climates will be along the equator, which works, I'm happy to say. The only thing I didn't consider was Tartaros' placement. It would probably have the nicest weather of all, which poses a bit of a problem since it's supposed to be a really crappy place to live... Though, a cold tundra environment would not change much especially if it were dry and would add biome diversity. Desert planet doesn't necessarily mean ALL desert. Let's see... Could probably muck the local weather up a bit by plopping volcanoes down there either in hot spots or near a convergent plate boundary... occasional spew of ash, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide would ruin people's days, wouldn't it? Actually, I think I might just do that! Why, of course I am a loving and gracious Creator! Mwahaha!

Bah. AHEM. What was my question again...? Oh, I think I just talked it out.




07-19-2013, 10:09 AM
Okay, real question this time... I can't talk this one out like the last.

I'm doing some research on biomes and climate/rainfall to suit and adapt the intended environment for certain regions, islands, etc. Digging into the lovely Climate Cookbook (http://jc.tech-galaxy.com/bricka/climate_cookbook.html), which I found in another thread.

If I want my planet to be predominantly desert and/or arid, should I decrease the size of the ocean? Is it plausible for a desert planet to have an ocean as large as it is now? I would like potential forest-y areas (-maybe- a rainforest here or there)... I'll get the answer on my own eventually... but I guess it's a question I should ask before I get too deep into this. I figure the issue can be solved with strategically placed mountain ranges and rivers. Altitude too.



P.S. -- I am very quickly learning about how wind currents work. This is exciting! Woo! LEARNING. SCIENCE!

EDIT: Uh. Well. Reading Climate Cookbook... and am... making an attempt to follow it. I picked out my major mountain ranges and am most likely mucking things up. I think I'm thinking about surface water currents alongside land wind currents. OY. But I think I'm making progress since this is revealing to me basic wind direction and now I'm thinking of windward-leeward sides of mountains and basic elevation of lands. Starting to formulate an idea of the climate around those areas. I think I need to do some cross-referencing of other maps... real and fictional.


EDIT2: Padded out surface ocean currents referencing the behavior of the real world map. Feedback is welcome.


EDIT3: Picked out warm and cool currents. Read a little about how warm/cool currents effect climate and decided to add a few land-masses to divert currents in the way I wanted. Blocked out basic wet (green) and dry (pink) areas. Offset the second image a little to show you the current on the far east and west of the map. Feedback appreciated as always... Though now looking at the second map, that current looks a helluva mess. I need to fix that.

Next up, figuring out air pressure of ALL THE PLACES...

56234 56235

07-19-2013, 04:02 PM
Golly gee... I don't even know, anymore. My brain is full of enough information for the day.


I think I'm just going to say this is a test... Feedback is welcome as usual.


07-20-2013, 06:14 PM
Talking completely off the top of my head and knowing very little about climate patterns and rainfall except for what I've absorbed through osmosis over the years.... I would say that the bigger the ocean, the wetter the landforms are going to be. I know that the more land wind currents have to traverse, the drier they get, as there's no ocean below to act as a recirculator and re-moisten them. Also, high mountains act as rain barriers; if wind currents flow east to west, and you have a big mountain chain somewhere in your continent running north to south, the western side of the continent is probably going to be at a minimum very dry-steppes-y (is that a word? :D ), and again, depending on the size of the continent, maybe even drier.

Also, big deserts on Earth don't tend to sit directly on the equator, I believe due to intersecting/interacting air currents from the north and south hemispheres, which flow contrary to each other. The main Earth deserts - Gobi, Sahara, etc - are offset a bit north or south of the equator.

Take all of the above with a grain of salt and do get better info from more knowledgeable members (who I'm sure will be along shortly), but hopefully that gives you a place to start?

07-21-2013, 08:45 AM
Thanks for the feedback!

And indeed it does help...! It confirms a few of my own criticisms, so at least I know I'm getting somewhere. A smaller ocean might make a significant change to the overall climate of some areas without having to compromise too much diversity. I will have to think about this...

The mountain's bit was what was confusing me the most (at this point but there's a lot that confuses me). I understand a little bit about windward-leeward sides of a mountain, but I don't know how much of a scale it effects either side and to what extremes.

As for the desert bit, I keep looking at world maps and recognizing that deserts don't usually occur on the equator. I'm going to do a bit more research once I... stop playing Mount and Blade. :P :lol:

I saw someone else's WIP where he had made a basic layout of a city/town in Blender. It was really inspiring and exciting, so I think I might have to do the same (especially since it would be wonderful for reference once I do get started on drawings). I think once I get a better idea of how water and wind works to affect the land (and once I make a nice outline of my continents, other mountains, and rivers), I'll start padding out land altitude. Ohhh. YES.

EDIT: I found a useful image. I'm going to paste it in here for future reference. I can see that at the equator, the heating of earth's surface has a significant difference compared to surrounding latitudes. I've got work in a few minutes, so I haven't had the time to do any actual reading. But the whole article looks incredibly informative. I'll read it as soon as I get back... in ten hours... ick.

Source (http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/oceansandclimate.htm)

07-22-2013, 12:56 PM
Keeping in mind that the equator is more wet, I've started to plan out basic territories...


After thinking about it, I believe I should expand the land area some more so I can have larger and/or more deserts.

07-24-2013, 01:19 PM
I was wondering why it looked like my surface water currents were flowing the opposite of the examples from Earth... then I realized everything was fairly off-center. So now I've scrunched up the entire map and plopped on some ice caps (which won't be included in the final version because uninhabitable). NOW the weather should make more sense than what I was doing before. And Tartaros will have something closer to its intended weather than before. Oopsie poopsie. So now I need to re-think the water currents again... but that was fairly easy so it shouldn't take too long.

Edit: ...?

(Props to those who know what Gamoto and Malaka mean... I put them there as temporary names, but they're starting to stick... as are Nihileam "It's Nothing" and Nihilmagis "More of nothing!")

Decided that while I'd like this to be some sort of concept art and a reference for myself, the final piece will be made in the perspective of a character. It gives me some direction and bias in regard to presentation and style. It will also give me some freedom to tell a story with the piece too, which will be fun. I need to keep in mind SCALE. I don't think I am doing a good enough job of thinking of this as an ENTIRE PLANET. Especially when I have only split the world into five factions (even though they are major factions). I will put a scale somewhere on the map to help myself visualize everything.

I think I'm nearing completion of basic landmasses and water currents now. I'm a bit more knowledgeable about climate diversity. I'm giving myself some wiggle room now that I feel I have proposed a reasonable world to put certain biomes freely in some areas without having to worry too much about adhering to realism. Hardly anything about the story is realistic at all anyway... I just like having something plausible to work with. This is also HELLA FUN.

P.S. -- Dagger Sea routes are wrong. Going to fix them later. -sigh-

Past events:
Proposed Opening of the Rift: Α/ξθ͵͵ (Aleph - 69)
The Rift Takes its First: Η/σξϛ͵ (Heth - 266)
Our Lady's Sleep: H/σογ (Heth - 273)͵to H/τια/Θ͵(Heth - 311 / Thet [Current])
This Year: Θ/β͵ (Thet - 2)

Estimated World Population: 360 million
(The Hive considers only those capable of complex language and/or mathematics to be people. This rules out many Asps, Northern Nomads, and young children.)

The Northern Nomads of Phrojana, Tandha, and Litilgarmi are an unknown people to the Hive as they are unfit for warmer climates. Asps treat them as commodities to entertain and then eat. A few skeletons and mangled cadavers have been found by Pantheras tribes. Their skin is proposed to be covered head-to-toe with white and black fur. Illustrations from surviving Pantheras paintings shows them to be ape-like. Jaw samples from skull fragments point toward omnivores. Their submission to the Asps leaves them a mystery to the rest of the world.

The diversity of asps ranges from small reptiles to massive beasts to humanoid serpents. They live in their own personal dystopia of tribespeople trading each other among themselves in a constant civil war. They are technologically inferior but their brutality and hostility keeps them feared enemies of Pantheras and Northern Nomads. Weakness is not tolerated in their culture and psychological conditioning (that is, those susceptible to it) keeps most in line. They are rather neutral about the Rift in the long run, but when part of their lands was devoured, they fled. There are small groups scattered throughout the deserts who live on vagabonds.

Asp beasts compromised major areas of Pantheras tribelands in an attempt to escape the Rift devouring their own. Hive colonies offered safety in exchange for their servitude. Pantheras lost ownership of the peoples of Oxhorn Bay, Stepping Stones, Gamoto, and Malaka. Those who did not manage to escape were split between the Incubi and Hive. Both of which use them as slaves for entertainment or manual labor (if they are not lazy hedonists -- which most are). Those who have been granted freedom or wander Hive streets are neither ostracized or praised, but ignored. Most of the peoples from the islands and Pantheras jungles are pagans and/or polytheists. Only a select few do not believe in gods.

Incubi are truly neutral so long as their lands and strict culture are left undisturbed. Even so much as passing through Cathedral Valley is a threat punishable by public death by the Hive or imprisonment by Incubi. No one wants to be imprisoned by an Incubus. Demands are made from time to time and the Hive often bends to them. However, the demands have become more aggressive as time progresses and the Hive has become wary. While Incubi had once asked their exiles be executed on site, the Hive now finds use in keeping the estranged creatures alive as they are obedient and submissive in the loss of their people and purpose. The Incubi are a monotheistic culture worshipping a masculine, dominant deity (similar to the Judeo-Christian God). They believe the Rift to be an apocalyptic blessing. They have been aware of its existence for ages as they appear to have built their population from it. Perhaps they have knowledge of how to traverse it safely?

The Hive is incredibly intelligent. Mathematics and science reign supreme. The culture allows for its people to worship any deity or practice any spiritual beliefs (within the law), but Hive aristocracy and those seeking to be in their favor are monotheistic and owe their alleigance ultimately to a goddess referred to as "Our Lady". A handful of Hive members are appointed at birth to be her interpreters and mark the beginning and end of eras based on their ability to hear the voice of their Lady. Times of silence are referred to as "Our Lady's Sleep". The Hive see the Rift as a threat to their control over the world and seek to -- if not obliterate it -- at least regulate it.

Tartaros is the safest and easiest to manage place away from the Rift's chaotic and reality-bending influence. It was a prison island before becoming a colony for research. It remains such, but offers a more diverse people. The island itself has its own unique cultural ways.

The Southern Ocean belongs to the Hive and is home to a few oceanic trade routes.

Hive ships traveling from Amelia have begun to face unwanted incubus visitors lately claiming to have lost their way in the Spiral Sea (named after its cyclical current).

The Northern Ocean is infested with sea snakes and other primeval creatures adapted to its warm waters. It is best to avoid them.

The Stepping Stones are a chaotic paradise. The inhabitants that manage to survive the climate are either passive neutrals or pirates.

07-26-2013, 09:25 AM
To be updated...

Collecting references for this and future pieces.

Ancient Arabia Map Fragment? (http://mapsys.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/OldMaps11.jpg)
Pascaerte van 't Westelycke Deel van Oost Indien, van Cabo de Bona Esperanca, tot C. Comorin (http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/enlarge/22595)
Islandia (http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/enlarge/33511)
Der Berg Sinai (http://www.bergbook.com/images/25994-01.jpg)
Macrobian world map, 10th century (http://www.henry-davis.com/MAPS/EMwebpages/201D.html) (For the text...)
Discworld (http://www.hejorama.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/map_discworld.jpg)

The Rift:
Antique map of Anemographica by Lotter (http://www.helmink.com/Antique_Map_Lotter_Anemographica/)
Planetae et Radiationes In Cancri Dodecatemorio (http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/enlarge/26055)
Scenographia Systematis Copernicani (http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/enlarge/33689)

Non-Map Inspirations:
The Garden of Earthly Delights (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_by_Bosch_High_Resol ution_2.jpg) by Hieronymous Bosch
Islamic Illuminated Manuscript 1 (https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/p480x480/483230_450682828305238_2026296608_n.jpg)
Tabernacle world view in the Christian Topography 6th century (http://www.henry-davis.com/MAPS/EMwebpages/202D.html) -- WHAT IS THIS? WHY IS IT SO AWESOME? THE MOUNTAIN IS IN A BOX.
"Bootleg Disney World" (http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/infocus/wonderland121311/w01_RTR2V5EM.jpg) -- Dat castle.

Free Relief Layers for Google Maps (http://www.maps-for-free.com/)

Unicase (http://www.fontriver.com/font/calligraphy_unicase/) -- Simple. Easy to read. Calligraphic.
Masonic Tattegrain (http://www.fontriver.com/font/masonic_tattegrain/) -- Beautiful. Not gonna use, but gives me an idea of what I'd like
Intellecta Monograms (http://www.fontriver.com/font/intellecta_monograms_random_samples_eight/) -- Whaaaaaat the???
CF Nelson Old (http://www.fontriver.com/font/cf_nelson_old_caracters/) -- Ooooh! I like the sketchy geometric look.

Japanese (?) Map (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/GeneralMapOfDistancesAndHistoricCapitals.jpg) -- For the aged, folded look...!

As for my map... I'm going to start sketching out rivers (will update this same post with a new image later today). When that is finished, I'll start a new document entirely to create a more detailed version of the coastline. Then I'll start working on the composition for the border and informational legends, compasses, n stuff.

EDIT: After looking through all of the strange curiosities of maps from the medieval era and how esoteric they feel with their lack of knowledge and strange illustrations. I'm starting to feel as though I should take a more unconventional approach to the map I have so far. I find myself asking the same question over and over: What if the world really was flat? What if the sea was endless? While that might be back-tracking on my part, I don't mind. Like I said in my first post, I've been working on this idea for two years and I have often turned back on decisions that didn't feel right until I found one that fit... like a proper piece in a puzzle. Certainly I need to compromise some realism for the sake of emotional and psychological aesthetic.

Discworld works, doesn't it?

I've always wanted to ground myself in some sort of realism, but I can't forget that this is a fantasy world. I want to invoke that feeling I get when I look at ancient maps. The feeling of this is what people really believed. Extraplanar forces were presumed to be in control of worldly, natural phenomena. That monsters roamed the sea and devoured ships. Certainly some of those things exist and while I would like for there to exist some "advanced" technology (sandmobiles, mechanical monsters, etc. -- the sort of things reserved for aristocracy who had either studied the creation of such things or commissioned them) there is a certain amount of unknowing I'd like for my audience to comprehend. Like the whole thing is essentially ouroboros or a mobius ring.

It's a bit of a far stretch to make, but I think I may be able to make something elegant and strange if I work at it. I'll experiment with what I've got now.

To illustrate what I mean, I need to point out that the initial inspiration for my little pet project of two years was Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and ultimately his map of Hell (http://www.clockworksky.net/mosermap2.jpg). Harenova used to be called -- in its entirety -- Tartarus, but I figured that was absolutely absurd and far too forward. As I strayed away from the biblical fan-fiction and started to study mythology and theologies, the story veered away from the polarization of good and evil and toward the ambiguous, eastern philosophy that everything is connected. There's no doubt that Dante's Inferno left a dream-like vision in my mind that I would like to achieve.

Bah, what is this, my blog?!

Something like this... I'm going to reduce the size of some continents and enlarge others. Tartaros is absolutely too large.

tl;dr -- Vagabondage is thinking and trying to be an "artistic" hipster in her endeavors.

07-26-2013, 06:24 PM
Figured I'd try my hand at making an emblem... All photoshop.


07-27-2013, 11:03 PM

This is a test... Test... Test. Check. Check. 1... 2... 3... AAHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

I find it difficult to visualize my world as a "disc", but I like the circular theme. I just need to... understand the scale I'm working with. I just need to work on the composition. The devil's in the details. The devil's in the details. The devil's in the details. The devil's in the details. -mantra-

P.S. -- I have found great inspiration in this illustration (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Orlando-Ferguson-flat-earth-map_edit.jpg).

07-28-2013, 12:16 AM
Your symbole is nice, what is it supposed to represent ?

the last illustration was very odd

07-28-2013, 08:29 AM
@Azelor - It's a herald (or possibly a religious symbol) for a race of fantasy people referred to as the Hive. They are bug-like parasites that abduct minds and identities by merging their brainstem with that of a human or other sentient creature. They are the most influential race of Harenova who are viewed by the majority as relentless gods in control of existence. The triangle is a symbol of perfect balance and power. A hive "host" supports the walls that would otherwise fall. At its head is a honeycomb to represent the pinnacle of wealth, prosperity, and enlightenment the Hive brought the world. It also represents eternity as honey never goes bad...!! Teehee. The symbol is drawn with nothing but circles and straight lines (hence the underlying sketch) to emphasize their love of math and the intellect.

Out-of-context, they're a neutral force hell-bent on world domination through body-snatching. :)

EDIT: Ah. I found a two year old drawing of what they look like. Their appearance has changed a little but this is overall their general concept. Their brainstems are essentially a needle-like tentacle that in the larval state pierces a creature's flesh and forces itself around the cervical vertebrae and through the foramen magnum. Faint-inducing migraines are typical for the newly abducted. :D


07-28-2013, 04:43 PM
Great symbol, and nice looking map so far. Love the colors.


07-28-2013, 09:24 PM
Disturbing! I like the Hive idea; you don't often see a fantasy setting merged with body horror/alien abduction elements. Very cool 'blueprinty' symbol too.

07-28-2013, 11:56 PM
I love a lot of the ideas here. Big fan of a desert type area, and especially find your scifi elements interesting. Your dedication to reference and resources is awesome! I'm much the same way. The details that people don't see are just as important was what they do!

07-30-2013, 08:47 AM
Good morning! Let me rub the sleep out of my eyes and we'll get down to business...

I was SOOOOOO sad the server was being cantankerous yesterday. I got a lot of work done, but didn't want to do much more until I posted here.


Expanded the map (the original image is about 7500 px by 6500 px) to make a more detailed coastline. Adding new islands and the fiddly bits on the land's edge has helped me see what I've done so far as an entire planet.

I didn't do much research when drawing out the rivers other than looking at river maps of Africa and Asia and reading that they start around hills/mountains where there is rainfall and generally wetter areas and seek the shortest path to the sea. I think I read somewhere they wind less in dryer areas...? To keep the world aesthetically balanced, I put a few more mountains and areas of higher elevation as the source and guide for some rivers. Kala'Nea is on a river that I gather is similar to the Nile in Egypt. I will most likely add more branches to the rivers and create more bays.


Drew out general territories using rivers as initial guides.

Everything is thus far insanely clean. The style will emerge when I reach a point when I am comfortable enough to begin work on details. I'm using that image from my second to last post of a 19th century map of a "square and stationary earth" as my main inspiration. I was thinking of making something interactive so that it could be viewed in a circle properly.

Eh. That's far in the future. I'll just fantasize.

Knowing that the Hive is fairly technologically advanced and well-prepared with a military, I think I should probably plop a few more "kingdoms/empires/whatevers" around the land n stuff. Today I'm going to go on an expedition for the perfect font(s). I anticipate none will tickle my fancy and that I'll resort to my own calligraphy. I love illuminated manuscripts so I'll most likely try to emulate that with whatever I choose.

Thanks for all your nice comments, everybody! :)

07-30-2013, 11:25 AM
No, the wind depend on dominant winds wich depend on the difference of pressure from high to low. My most trusted source of information : The Climate Cookbook (http://jc.tech-galaxy.com/bricka/climate_cookbook.html)
Tip: bookmark it

As for the rivers, there is something that bothers me. They should take the shortest path like you said but at some places they are pretty curvy. Like the one near Malaka. Also, there are 2 rivers near Elysium that nearly touch each other but are in different hydrographic basin. I'm not sure it's ok. It is, if there is a wall of mountain or a big difference in elevation.

07-30-2013, 11:51 AM
There are some mountains in Malaka and Elysium, I just removed the sketches of the mountains to make it look more clean.

EDIT: Playing around in Photoshop trying to come up with some grandiose calligraphic capitals for the map title and place names... I need to make it look more... desert-ish... I want to stick with the geometric style in the emblem above so right now things might look shaky as I lay down basic sketches... ehhh.


07-30-2013, 02:23 PM
I like the third one over. Maybe look at some Arabic and go from there? I'm not sure what they are called. But there are like the dots/accents on some of the scripts I think. May add to the desert feel. Maybe look in to Sanskrit as well

07-30-2013, 05:18 PM
I have a couple of suggestions:

Black regular: Black Regular font (http://www.fonts2u.com/black-regular.font)
Monotype corsiva regular: Monotype Corsiva Regular - desktop font - Fonts.com (http://www.fonts.com/font/monotype/monotype-corsiva/regular) (not sure if it's free, but I have it on my computer)
Lucida calligraphy : Identifont - Lucida Calligraphy (http://www.identifont.com/show?1NH) (not sure if it's free, but I have it on my computer)
Matura MT: Font Matura MT Script Capitals Regular911fonts.com - Fonts archive with more than 40 000+ fonts. Zephyr font, Gill sans, Bembo font, cyrillic font download, graffity fonts, fonts. (http://www.911fonts.com/font/download_MaturaMTScriptCapitalsRegular_6268.htm) (I think it come with windows)
Pristina: Pristina font download free (truetype) (http://www.fonts101.com/fonts/view/Script/18715/Pristina)

I think Matura most represent what you are searchig for.

07-30-2013, 05:21 PM
Very interesting thread, lots of cool ideas. I love the pink and yellow test map.

07-31-2013, 10:11 AM
@Failtality -- Thanks! That one felt the most natural to draw. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to make anymore since I wanted to actually go outside of my home yesterday. -GASP- I love Arabic's simplicity and Sanskrit's... manuscript quality...? Especially that line through the characters. I've got a minor background of graphic design under my belt and readability is very important. I just need to find a happy medium.

@Azelor -- Thanks for the suggestions. I'd really like to make my own font seeing as the majority of computer fonts are too... rigid... pristine... computerrrryyyy?? That or the more stylistic fonts are difficult to read "at a glance" or are very recognizable as Monotype Corsiva and Lucida. It's all about immersion with me, babyyyyyyyy~! But I'll definitely use some of those as starting points.

@Lingon -- Thanks! I love puking vibrant colors all over my canvases. :P :P :P

07-31-2013, 08:55 PM

Been playing around in Photoshop some more. Nyeh. Nothing important.

07-31-2013, 09:28 PM
What you did looks good.

But photoshop ? For font, it's better to use a program that is vector based, like illustrator.

07-31-2013, 10:23 PM
It's easy to turn photoshop shapes into vectors. It's all a matter of preference... and these are initial sketches anyway. ;)

I'm leaning toward doing most of the script by hand anyway. Computer vectors feel too rigid for what I want.

07-31-2013, 10:43 PM
You can draw in illustrator too. If you set the pen parameters they can march your lines perfectly or less. And then you can modify them with the feather.

Do you use a tablet to draw?

07-31-2013, 10:44 PM
Yes. I'm also more accustomed to Photoshop.

07-31-2013, 11:55 PM
Vagabondage, you are amazingly talented. I think all your ideas for a script are really interesting, and while I think I've said this before, it is so obvious that a lot of thought goes into what you do. Looking at what you've drawn, I am more inclined to favor a "squarer" script from what I know of your world already.


I wanted to try my hand at something, I hope you don't mind. Its very crude, but it was fun to do!

Robin Ryuu
08-01-2013, 03:32 AM
Hello, I joined a couple of days ago. I also came here to work on a map for a comic.

On your map the lake in the asp territory looks like it has rivers draining from it, but has no source.
(ex: Rain > Mountains > Streams > Rivers > Lakes > Rivers > Ocean) The water cycle.

From what I read your story sounds interesting.

I accidentally skipped the 2nd and 3rd page, so I am not sure if the source comment is still needed.

08-01-2013, 07:36 AM
On your map the lake in the asp territory looks like it has rivers draining from it, but has no source.
There are mountains.

Vagabondage, you are amazingly talented. I think all your ideas for a script are really interesting, and while I think I've said this before, it is so obvious that a lot of thought goes into what you do. Looking at what you've drawn, I am more inclined to favor a "squarer" script from what I know of your world already.


I wanted to try my hand at something, I hope you don't mind. Its very crude, but it was fun to do!

Your drawing looks fabulous!

Yes, I do a LOT of thinking. I probably think critically about my ideas than actually... uh... pursuing them... which is good, to think of one's self critically, but I should work harder at actually doing something otherwise nothing will get done!! LOL. Like you said, I'd ideally have a more square/geometrical font as well. Something that feels imperial and militant but still elegant... but readable at a glance so viewers don't have to strain their eyes to read the text.

Desert. Powerful. Elegant. Calligraphic. Easy to read.

Grrr... back to the drawing board. :P

08-01-2013, 10:09 AM
Those last scripts are nice. You have a pretty smooth hand for that. Were you just putting shapes together in a pleasing way or do they have meaning? I'm enjoying watching all of your components come together.

08-01-2013, 10:21 AM
Those last scripts are nice. You have a pretty smooth hand for that. Were you just putting shapes together in a pleasing way or do they have meaning? I'm enjoying watching all of your components come together.

Long before I had this comic book idea (Jesus, now that I count it was about nine years ago), I had formulated an alphanumeric code to use in school when I was writing stories instead of paying attention. I did it so people wouldn't be able to read my private journals and poetry (which had happened quite often with nosy classmates and teachers) if they got their hands on it. I can write in it incredibly quickly... and in some journals I turned the books on their side and wrote vertically from right to left. I don't know if I was THAT worried someone would read it or if I thought I was Leonardo or something...

I just emulated some styles of Arabic/Tibetan calligraphy in the previous doodles. :)


The shapes before said "Harenova" and "Bonum Vesparum"... which is a bit of a Latin play on words that I've been giddy about because I'm an idiot. "Bonum vespere" means "good evening"... I used (what I think is) the grammatically incorrect conjugation "vesperum" and then accidentally misspelled it when using Google Translate. "Vesparum"... means wasp... Oh it fits so perfectly. And seeing as my comic is absolutely absurd and occasionally questionably camp, I cannot resist making it a canon phrase. HA.

08-01-2013, 10:35 AM
My comment was a compliment more than anything. I think the amount of consideration you put in to things is great

08-01-2013, 10:44 AM
My comment was a compliment more than anything. I think the amount of consideration you put in to things is great
Oh, I hope my reply didn't come off in the wrong way. I truly appreciate it!

EDIT: And now some more tests... I'm getting the geometric feel, I believe, as well as portraying something calligraphic. I just need to get that desert feel in there. It feels too European, though I guess I should blame that on the Roman alphabet. :P

I think I'll be able to achieve it with line quality... Like parts are written with a brush and details with an ink pen. Hm.


Time for work!

08-01-2013, 10:46 AM
Not at all, and no problem :)

08-01-2013, 01:11 PM
haha... I got quite fluent in my own script for a while, except I'm not much for journal keeping so I fell out of writing with it. But I've also just sketched out symbols to put on various maps (like the Deep Ruins). It's an amusing and fairly widespread occupation for creative people I think.


08-05-2013, 12:05 PM
I've been sick recently so I haven't had much energy to work on the map in great detail. I did some work over the last few days regarding some basic symbols for reference later on. And wrote some notes for stuff and stuff... Pardon the readability in some areas. The notes will most likely be more legible on the real version but until then, these are as they are. Blugh.


Then very roughly painted some climates... I'll put more thought into it when I'm not feeling so ill.


08-05-2013, 12:40 PM
Are the yellowish color representing the deserts/plains ? It look good anyway and the font are pretty readable.

What does the "I" represent on the map ?

08-05-2013, 01:42 PM
Are the yellowish color representing the deserts/plains ?
Yes. The greenish yellows are grasslands and the dark, desaturated yellows are steppes. I haven't given the lower right corner of the map much thought if that wasn't obvious already and the lands around mountains and/or higher elevated areas need some work too. It's something I'm trying to wrap my head around.

What does the "I" represent on the map ?

They are lighthouses/pillars.

I have a little textbox in the larger map but I doubt it's easy to navigate... Here's what it says:

"Pillars are used in the vast deserts for vagabonds and caravans as checkpoints. They are immense in size and point toward Nihileam [Polar north]. The fortification needed to keep the obelisks standing tall leaves only a small space to be entered. Newer and restored pillars collect water from rare rain and snowfall as well as what little moisture is in the air. Some nonperishable rations and survival gear are meant to be stored within, but because of their expensive upkeep, many have fallen into poor condition or have been looted. Resilient caravans are sent at the beginning of each season to major pillars to restock and perform maintenance work.

08-05-2013, 02:47 PM
Harenova is positively charming yet mysterious. When I'm not on my iPad I really want to read the blurbs on your map. Keep up the fantastic work!

08-06-2013, 12:16 AM
I agree with my esteemed colleague. ^

Awesome world-building factoids.

08-12-2013, 10:12 AM
Ah... ... ... it's been a while... and I've been pretty sick. I've been trying to make an appointment with my usual doc but she has been unavailable and my work schedule is not at all flexible.

ANYWAY, I proceeded on my own and gave myself a day of therapy by hiking on a local mountain trail. It certainly was refreshing so now I've picked back up my work.

I'm taking baby-steps at this point -- as I have been doing with the entire project from the start -- and after having padded out a general overview of the world, I am focusing most of my attention on style. I've got my list of resources back on the first page (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/24040-harenova-learning-cartography-scratch-adventure-come-help.html#post221371) but I have also come across the most beautiful medieval map since starting this project: The Fra Mauro Map (http://cityofbarara.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/fra_mauro_world_map_c-1450.jpg)... It's certainly heavily detailed and its orientation is perfect for what I have envisioned of my own map. The patterns, drawings, and scrolls will help fill space without having to think "Derp derp, is there a town/city here? Why is it there?"

Harenova is not at the height of technology or knowledge and while the map-maker is a citizen of the most advanced nation, an entire picture of the world is not so solidified as maps in the real world. It's a matter of aesthetic, ambience, and emotion that I want to convey within the story that the particular world is at the cusp of a real world equivalent of the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution (17th century... thereabouts) however most of the world is still stuck in the medieval-ish era (either due to war, natural disasters, lack of resources, etc...). It's... difficult to explain as I haven't really seen many stories that might be like it...

Tatooine from Star Wars has become a heavy influence after recently viewing the films but this world is not so advanced to have starships, droids, and light-sabers... more like... makeshift dune-buggies+land-surfer, wind-up toys/clocks, and maybe a flintlock pistol here and there... all very rare things for a peasant/commoner to see.

I'm just thinking aloud here now.

The nobles, aristocrats, and university students of the most advanced nation have access to some technology (basic engines, wind up machinery... all relatively low-tech stuff) and the proletariat are without such luxuries. Yadda, yadda.It's fantasy, but I hope that my reasoning for such things is... reasonable. And while Harenova is mildly real-world based many of my decisions of the world and the whole story have been made because "Hey, wouldn't it be neat if...".

WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY IS: I'm not making a real-world accurate depiction of the fantasy world with this map but one that is created in the perspective of a character who is biased toward his nation and most likely drawing things so they look "pretty" more than accurate (mostly because educated guesses are the most accurate anyone can get thus far).

After all that... I have no progress right now. I'm just doing lots of research before I start the real work. :P :P :P

08-12-2013, 01:34 PM
The time/tech period sounds almost similar to the Imager Portfolio series. Not quite, less advanced. It'll be cool to see another map in the Fra Mauro style. I've been half tempted to try something like it, but I'm quite sure the written bits would be the blank wall that flattened me. :) I wish you luck and look forward to seeing more progress. Feel better soon.

08-12-2013, 07:39 PM
I know what you're saying, and it's the way I come at most of my own maps. I think accuracy should take a backseat to artistry and fun, to be honest.

08-12-2013, 07:56 PM
That Fra Mauro map you found is fantastic. It is really disorientating at first, I love it. With that in mind your most recent projections fall more into place for me. As for fantasy or other imaginative map making I'd always take something that is interesting or aesthetically pleasing over realistically accurate. It's is an imaginary map for a reason after all. Unless there is a good reason for accuracy it can easily be sacrificed in favour of something more important. At the same time building it following the theories or "rules" of geography is a very interesting and fun exercise too. You are definitely getting all the bases covered in this WIP :)

08-13-2013, 02:13 PM
I think I'm gonna get carpal tunnel soon.

The lines in the ocean are going to be strategically flecked with scrolls and text... and by strategically, I mean finding the crappiest looking areas and slapping the scrolls there.



EDIT: Blech. After taking a few minutes away from the computer and coming back with fresh eyes, I don't particularly like how the lines are looking around Tartaros. Doesn't look much like WATER as it does in the Fra Mauro map... I think I'll start over on that. Pft.

08-13-2013, 03:07 PM
I dunno, I kind of like it. It's different, in a good way.

08-13-2013, 06:22 PM
Yeah, don't get carpal tunnel. What if you start on a blank document, same dimensions, use a comb brush (one with many rough points in a line) with pen rotation, fill the whole page with squiggly wavy lines in a way they don't overlap, hide it and make a new layer, do it again in different directions. Put the layers on top of your map, clipped to the watermask layer, and paint masks on each of the layers so that the best parts show through on each. Does that make any sense at all? :)

Elsewise, the Fra Mauro map doesn't seem to connect the lines into circles anywhere that I can see. Maybe just redraw the bit between the continent and the island. It's not horrible, though, as is. But don't get carpal tunnel.

08-13-2013, 08:08 PM
Twas a joke. -cracks knuckles- These hands were made for the tedium of drawing redundant lines.

I tried using a directional comb brush but no matter how much I fiddled with the settings it did not look right. I'm just doing it THE TRADITIONAL WAY.


Scroll is a placeholder... Thinking about what the building, landform, foliage, and ship icons should look like... eh... this is why I started with the ocean.

08-13-2013, 08:13 PM
Well good then. My hat's off to you. It looks very nice now. :)

08-15-2013, 03:10 PM
Oh dear. This might take a while... but progress is progress!


I messed up a few times, but eventually figured out a way to make it look all nice n stuff.

Applied a little mask to make it look textured/aged just to test. Looks pretty badass, imo.

Thicker lines look better so I'm going to have to go over the thinner ones once more... at least in some areas.

Oh... and made a little doodle of the colony fort for scale. I am anticipating drawing those along with landforms, foliage, and such will be even more of a pain in the butt (but at least it'll be less repetitive...?)


EDIT: I think I might just update this post with further WIPs until I move on to something that isn't water since I can't imagine it's very exciting to see more than once...

08-15-2013, 07:24 PM
Looking great so far. Love the direction in which you're going

08-16-2013, 03:17 AM
This map is going to be amazing, even if just because of those Fra Mauro oceans. About time someone tackled that particular style.

08-25-2013, 08:21 AM
If anyone's been wondering where I've gone off to... I'm really sick. I just got some medication a few days ago to help cope with symptoms and it's been kicking me in the teeth as I try to get used to it. I haven't had much energy or motivation to work on the map but when I feel better I will get back to it.

I'm almost halfway done with the oceans (I've really only done two days worth of work since the last update). After that, I'll try to emulate the Fra Mauro mountains and landforms. They look to be drawn/painted with ink washes and I have a few ink brushes that will work perfectly. After that, I'll do some research on castles and fortresses to draw "icons" of cities and villages. Then boats and ships. Then sea monsters and animals. Yadda, yadda. Long list.

Till then...

08-25-2013, 02:00 PM
Get well soon and come back with more awesome updates. :)

09-05-2013, 09:31 AM
Well... I was right when I said this would take a while. Because of a tightly packed schedule, progress has been delayed and I still have a little bit more to go on the water. But looking at it now, I'm happy I've spent this much time on it. Right now, it's become a monotonous endurance test so I think I'll take a short break from this to draw something else. I'll get back to it as soon as I relieve my desire to work on a new drawing.


Robin Ryuu
09-09-2013, 07:43 AM
It looks great so far, one thing tho. On the center vertical fold line the top(At the water's edge) isn't quite lined up.

01-02-2014, 12:24 AM
Any more progress on this? Waiting impatiently... :D