View Full Version : how it started for you, the passion for map-making?

10-07-2013, 10:57 AM
Do you remeber "how" it comes that you are here, making maps?

It's a silly question, maybe, but now that i am a little bit active inside this communitiy, i started thinking about myself: amongst my friend i have ever been recognized as a map-fanatic, since childhood... but how it started?
For me, the answer dates back to '80s: as my reading ability quickly improved (i am born in 1975) i started enjoying history books, at the beginning mainly WWII related works, usually coming with maps depicting Normandy or Okinawa. Military maps, with precise but schematic landscape, and no space at all for fantastic representations.

The first "fantasy" map i've ever seen probably it is this one:


the map was related to the game for PC Hillsfar, set in the universe of Dungeons and Dragons.

It was a sort of revelation: heck, maps with "realistic" trees? Buildings with details? Skeletons of dragons? A "dragon's eye view"!!?

It was 1989.

And shortly thereafter, i bought two games from Origin (the company that created the Ultima series of rpg), and both complete with maps ... that I found online just today, and I will paste below.

Meet the kingdom of Ashtalea (Knights of legend) and the one of Albareth (Times of lore)!



A little simplistic ones, one could argue ...

Albareth has to trees and buildings as viewed from above, while some elements like the mountains are seen in perspective; Ashtalea has little variety in the graphics.
And both maps would make the happiness of your river police, with rivers flowing from lakes without tributaries, or intersect with others at 90 angles, but without specific reasons :D

However: somehow, i guess for me the beginning was with these maps!

10-07-2013, 12:51 PM
I think that for me I got into cartography because of fantasy books. I love reading and I always loved the maps at the first page of the book, sometimes I wouldn't even start the book for a while and I would just study the map. These are books like Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Throne of Glass, Mistborn, Eragon, Shadow and Bone... so many great maps!

10-07-2013, 12:53 PM
For me, I started really noticing, and gawking at maps when I saw the map in Fable TLC, before that, I had little experience with Fantasy Maps. And so this took my breath away, it was great then.
The second one that really inspired me, was the Inheritance series map, it was great.

10-07-2013, 02:00 PM
I started drawing maps back in the early 90's for a D&D game I helped run. I have always liked maps, but don't think they idea of creating my own occurred to me until then.

10-07-2013, 03:42 PM
Well even as a kid, on family vacations driving across the country (I've been to 49 US states in my lifetime), I was always the one with my nose in the road atlas - identifying cool places to stop whereever we happen to be. I've always been a map afficionado. In high school, I can remember drawing naval ports, then playing games of trying to bomb ships by flipping pennies onto it - this was before I discovered D&D in my junior year in high school (1977).

The reason I first joined the Cartographers' Guild, however, was shortly after building a website offering large format printing services for gamers and publishers (Gamer Printshop) in early 2007, which I still operate. I joined several RPG forums like RPG.net and ENWorld, and I joined this site. From there, I started participating in over 2 dozen map challenges, have won 4. Then I started getting map commission requests by various publishers - and became a professional freelance fantasy cartographer. Now I'm an RPG publisher, game developer/designer. After recently getting a successful Kickstarter to fund a series of map tutorials guide books - I am writing them at this moment, and advancing my career as a game publisher.

The CG was my stepping stone into game design and publishing...