View Full Version : A Question of Style

07-21-2013, 01:12 PM
Hey folks, first time poster here, long time admirer! I hope this is the appropriate place to post this, as the question is related to map elements, at least in broad terms, I think!

Okay, so here is the deal: The fantasy world I'm working on has an art style fusion of art deco and high fantasy sensibilities. After some time I was finally able to get a style of drawing characters that I think fairly represents both parts, but this has not extended to my map drawing or any of the elements that fill it. I've transposed many of the techniques I used for character design to mapping- and while I've gotten close to a desired effect, I don't feel I've quite captured what I'm going for. My biggest downfall are fonts- they seem to fall flat (fantasy scripts and art deco style are hard to capture in one thing. The closest I like so far is UltraCondensed Sans-Serif.) I'm also looking for suggestions and new routes to follow as far as design goes. I have put in a lot of research into design of both styles through online searches, books, and other materials. At this point I've come to a place where I thought it'd be a good idea to ask for help.

I'd put up what I have so far, but really at this point it's just green solids on a blue background. nothing fancy. I am more than happy to post any resources people may want to see! Thanks in advance.

07-25-2013, 12:53 PM
Could you post a sample of your work so we get a better idea of your style? When I think fantasy and art deco I think a relativly straight large lettering with somne curves or with some serif.
Have you tried specialised software like High logic font creator? With that you could create your own fonts.

07-26-2013, 12:34 AM
Thanks for responding! I hadn't considering making my own fonts, but that's a possibility. I've tooled around for a few days weighing my options, and wanted to see if maybe I could do a sort of "wood inlay" map. I've tried a few things, but nothing I'm overjoyed with yet

This is just a brief overview. I haven't gotten the exact right textures I want, but it's an approximation of what I'm looking for. The font I am using on the locationg is Big Noodle Lettering and Ultra Condensed

Another style of map I considered, but it reads more age of discovery/ exploration

A character if anyone is interested in the art style.

Could I do solid colors on the map? I may, but it's not quite nearly as fun. I also like this style of map: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f3/RMS_Queen_Mary_Dining_Room_Map_edit1.jpg I may try to emulate it, as it is the solid colors, and is more in line with the style of art.

07-26-2013, 10:30 AM
Maybe you could add a varnishing effect on the wood or simply adding light reflection.

As for the font, the one you used at the bottom seems pretty nice. Other than that I'm not really sure it fit but maybe you could look toward the steampunk style to get some ideas. Maybe something like on the image of your character, something with crossed metal bar or made of pale stone (kinda like a celtic cross)

Looking at your character you might want something more futuristic. Try typing "art déco revival". There is interesting stuff out there.

I'm not sure what you mean by solid color but if it's something like the brown on this background, by experience (but I don't have that much) it's not really apropriate for a map but there might always be exeption. It all depend of the style because the map in the Queen Marie 2 is pretty.

07-26-2013, 10:45 AM
I'm unsure of what exactly you're asking for but judging on what you have said of your current WIP and your problems, I'll give my two cents.

I'm probably preaching to the choir, but when I hear art deco, I think of organic and sometimes geometric, simplistic, repeated patterns in gold, black, and soft neutral tones. You could easily work such patterns into landforms, water currents, and foliage. Harsh angles, while probably compromising the organic feel of your piece, of the coastlines might aid that look. Using small illustrations in the borders of people in 20s/30s garb and small boats/ships of the era in the seas is a surefire way to get your audience to understand what year it is or is supposed to be like.

As far as font goes, I think clear and elegant cursive handwriting would portray a 20s feel. Fat fonts could work if text-box borders or larger titles were decorated with those patterns I mentioned earlier. You can always use a font as a starting point and then draw around those characters on your own. If you are absolutely insane, you could write some sections in Gregg shorthand (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregg_shorthand) (which was still taught in the 30s, I think...). It would definitely help with that high-fantasy feel.

07-26-2013, 10:08 PM
Thanks all for your lovely suggestions! I should probably restate my question: "What are some good resources for map making that match both art deco and high fantasy sensibilities?" and "What sort of styles of maps do you think would represent that pairing?"

I think the second question I've started to answer for myself. Last night I played around and got some results I really like, based on the Queen Mary map I linked...
I think this is alot closer to what I wanted.., Thank so much for the suggestions about readable script fonts... that was what I was sorta worried about, and while this one isn't PERFECT, it is pretty darn close to it, and something I'd be happy to continue using. I should clarify that for right now this is a more stylized and political map, BUT I can easily envision the illustrated quality of the background to work for topography and the like.

Azelor- Thanks for the suggestions! I am a BIG fan of Deco/ Dieselpunk, but I am going for a more high fantasy feel rather than tech =) Certainly, though, some elements of that style could be carried over.

Vagabondage- Thanks to you too, I think your suggestions pushed it in a good direction. I hope my background captures both that organic and geometric style. I had considered using illustrations in the borders, or similar, and now that you've mentioned it as well, it's probably something I'll go ahead with. A big part of art deco is exaggerating elements to make them seem grand.

07-26-2013, 11:52 PM
for the font there is also Harrrington Harrington FREE font download at Font-zone.com (http://www.font-zone.com/download.php?fid=836)
Zapf Chancery zapf chancery normal - Free Font Download (http://www.fontpalace.com/font-details/zapf+chancery+normal/) italic by default I think

or if you are willing to pay some are really nice, nearly worth it (make nice capitals)
Sepian Identifont - Sepian (http://www.identifont.com/show?2953)
Aeronaut Aeronaut (http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/facetype/aeronaut/)

these are the one I know

07-27-2013, 12:02 AM
Ooh, I actually really like the two free fonts. They are AMAZING, and should fit right in. Thanks for the find, this is exactly the type of stuff I'm looking for!

09-22-2013, 03:27 AM
Futura, Franklin Gothic (specifically, Franklin Gothic with small caps rather than lowercase letters), or a condensed version of Helvetica would each be pretty good for what you're trying.