View Full Version : World or City maps... which is harder?

The Flanston
08-02-2013, 03:34 AM
Hi all
I am working on both for my world but I was wondering which people had more difficulty with...

For me it's trying to make them look realistic as if the place really exists. I've seen some beautiful examples from the likes of Max, Kyaarmi and Elyden.

Just wondering what people think in general and suggestions of what people think are good examples of both...


08-02-2013, 04:08 AM
I think the difficulties with City maps is that they are very specific and of course detailed. You have to either know, or work out, most of the details if you want a successful look. With world maps you can kind of wing it and it will still leave a lot of room for a persons imagination to fill in. Speaking generally of course.

08-02-2013, 04:48 AM
They're both as hard and as long as you make them. You would be going into as much detail as you wanted to, for me, City Maps are harder, as the lack of experience, and I want to make them extremely detailed.

08-02-2013, 11:02 AM
IMO, city maps are the more difficult to do.

As Evil Eagle states, any map can be as complicated as you want to make it.

08-02-2013, 11:21 AM
It depend of your style and skills. Some prefer to do cities but I agree that it usually requie more details.

08-02-2013, 02:00 PM
City maps are more tedious, for sure, for the basic amount of detail they require. Yet I find it more difficult to portray naturalistic features (e.g., mountain ranges, large forests, etc.) convincingly than human-made structures. And hence, I find myself myself much less certain when working on world/regional maps than city/town maps, despite the fact that the latter takes much longer.

08-02-2013, 02:40 PM
I agree with city maps being more difficult. Not in that they are so hard to actually draw but I personally get bored drawing squares upon squares upon squares upon.... well you get the point. I guess I should stick to villages :)

08-02-2013, 04:40 PM
I find city maps easier but that is because I am more comfortable drawing them and I've had more practice at them. I never seem to be satisfied with my regional or world maps and usually end up abandoning them.

The Flanston
08-03-2013, 07:01 PM
Thanks for the replies guys. For me they both seem quite daunting right now. I've drawn plenty of maps in my time but nothing compared to the works of art I've seen here. Truly inspirational!

I found this old map of Genoa on a Google search but some of the maps from the Guild seem more authentic somehow.


Will let you know how I get on



- Max -
08-03-2013, 07:58 PM
Nice inspiration map. I wouldn't say that cities maps are harder but somehow more time consuming, though depending if you go on some detailed/full colors maps, world/regional ones can also be as time consuming as the cities ones. In my opinion, it all depends on which style you go on both kind of maps.

08-04-2013, 01:18 AM
Time consuming... hehe... that reminds me:

You know when an artwork is complete?

When you take it away from the artist.

08-04-2013, 06:40 PM
I find that I have a harder time doing general Maps than city maps... I suppose a urbanism course helps with city maps haha.

08-06-2013, 02:00 PM
Some people find city maps easier to conceptualize because most of us live in urban environments. We know how streets work and have an intuitive understanding of where we'll find businesses and residences, and so forth. Overland maps, on the other hand, require us to design based on principles we probably aren't as directly familiar with: geology, climate, economics. That doesn't necessarily mean that the world maps are harder, because some people have an easier time creating based on things they think about deliberately, and trying to think your way through a city design can lead to a great deal of complexity.

That's all about design, though. There is also the matter of execution. As has been mentioned, you can make either kind of map as complex or as simple as you like. The tendency, though, is to try to make city maps very detailed, with every building shown. That can take ages, but it's not the only way to approach it. A simple district map with only a few points of interest highlighted can be quick and simple to create.

So, as with all things: It depends.

08-07-2013, 07:04 AM
Well another thing is people are often interested in doing major cities rather than less important ones, which generally means they are larger and more nuanced than would be. If you are doing a podonk hick town in the middle of nowhere it's easier to execute and design than a large city with a storied past like London or New York. World maps however don't have this issue, their complexity is dependent on the detail you wish to include. Also world maps tend to be more stratified, you have political maps, terrain maps, navigation maps excreta all separated out on their own sharing only the basics between them.

08-07-2013, 12:26 PM
I don't do city map as long as my world map is not finished. I guess I could aslo make the cities, (I already made some quick hand draw version of them) it's just not a priority. I only have 1 world so it's really important to map it, but I have many cities and I can't do all of them. Eventually, I'll try to make one.

08-07-2013, 05:32 PM
Imo city maps are harder to make because I usually want them to have a lot of small detail. That's not to say that world maps are easy or lack the necessity of detail but rather that city maps rely on detail to make them feel real. And if something is off by just a little bit it can ruin the whole thing.