View Full Version : [WIP]My first black and white map

James Mason
10-09-2013, 11:44 AM

I've been lurking on this forum for a while and I've read up on a lot of the tutorials. So far I've seen a lot of really good advice and I thought I would try my hand at map making.

The map I've been working on is a continent map. It is black and white and was initially hand drawn and scanned. I've been working on it in GIMP and I've had some success.

Now, I'm not very good with GIMP, but I know how to do all of the following:

Add/Delete layers
Show/hide layers
Move layers up/down
Select colors for the brushes
Use the pencil
Use the paint brush
Zoom in/out
Change brush size

That's it. That is the sum total of my image editor knowledge. I only list that so that you can get an idea of where my skill is with image editors.

I've posted this map to ask for advice on what to do with it. It's clear that it needs more, but I'm not sure what else it needs.

I'm planning on adding a glacial region to the top of the map, but I'm at a loss for how to draw that in black and white.

Do you have any advice for what to add/how to improve on what I've already drawn?

10-09-2013, 01:42 PM
Do you have a tablet for drawing, or are using a mouse, or planning to hand draw/scan and composite in GIMP?

-Rob A>

James Mason
10-09-2013, 03:52 PM
Do you have a tablet for drawing, or are using a mouse, or planning to hand draw/scan and composite in GIMP?

-Rob A>

I've been using a mouse. The initial sketch was hand drawn and then scanned. After scanning, I imported it into GIMP and began tracing/editing/re-doing all of the map elements in different layers. What you see in the image contains none of the original scan, though some elements are traced from it almost line for line.

My process has been pretty simple because I'm limited in ability and lacking in talent:
1)Hand draw image
2)Import Image
3)Create a layer for each map element i.e. mountains, deserts, land, forests
4)Trace/add elements from original to other layers

I have a 'drawing tablet' that I got off of Woot, but it turned out to be total garbage that crashes more often than it works. Since then, the mouse actually hasn't worked that bad for me.

My goals with the map are to:
1)Make it look nicer
2)add glacial region to the north
3)add roads and railroads
4)colorize it

Not really worried about #4 because it seems waaaaay beyond what I can do right now, but I can dream =)

10-09-2013, 10:09 PM
Just keep working on your map and continue to get to know how to work with GIMP, and all the things that you want to add to your maps will come with time and practice. Definitely continue to dream because if you don't have a dream than you wont have anything to work towards.

James Mason
11-06-2013, 07:39 PM
Hello again!

I thought this would be a good time for an update.

I started colorizing the map. I skipped to this step after a bit of research into drawing arctic lands. I decided that is not feasible to do it without color. So I started with the most natural place to begin adding color: the water.

The water isn't done yet. Far from it. But I do think it's a good start, and I'm pretty happy with how the lakes turned out. If you haven't seen a lot of lakes you may disagree with the color choice.

A few other style choices with this map. Mountains are done that way to preserve the hand drawn quality, I'm rather found of it. Trees are drawn as forests because that is how we see forests, not as a collection of copy and pasted trees.

I'm learning a lot about GIMP. I just learned about the 'burn' and 'smudge' tools, though I don't have much of a use for the former. It really seems that managing opacity correctly makes that tool redundant. The smudge tool is ten kinds of awesome though.

11-06-2013, 09:10 PM
looking good so far!

11-08-2013, 09:28 AM
Looking good. I use gimp and I agree about the burn tool.
I can't wait to see this map take shape. Please post more soon.

James Mason
12-20-2013, 10:01 PM
Hey guys,

I had some time to work on my map. I continued working on the water effects and added a new tool to my repertoire: the 'blur' tool. You can read more about my foray into creating water effects here (http://www.topsecretgames.net/blog/?p=215).

Here's what the map looked like when I tried using water texturing:
After about forty-five minutes, it was clear that this just wasn't working. Using background textures is a technique that shows a lot of promise, but it's definitely something that has to be planned for and not just thrown in. If I had picked more ammenable colors starting, and applied the texture before the colors it may have worked. But I didn't and I don't have much time to waste, so I moved on to another technique.

This is result:
It's turned out pretty well so far, well enough that I think it's time to move on to colorizing the other parts of the map. I'll come back and finish it (adding more coloring, blending it a little better), but for the moment it's definitely good enough for me to proceed.

On a side note, it's not a black and white map anymore. Does anyone know how I can edit the title of the thread?

James Mason
02-04-2014, 10:20 PM
Hey guys,

Had some more time to work on the map. Nothing much to report. Touched up the water a little bit and started coloring the forests. Added a couple of forests. I think I will add a canyon and a lake to the middle of the map to fill in all the empty space. So far the map is looking pretty good.


Lurid Rex
02-10-2014, 09:05 AM
Well this is coming along nicely. Well done.