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TimPaul
10-22-2013, 06:48 AM
I was hired to do a black and white map for the David Dalglish novel, A Dance of Cloaks. Here is the finished map.

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They Orbit Books had a nice write up about it in their blog series, The Making of a Cover (http://www.orbitbooks.net/2013/10/21/making-cover-interior-maps-bonus/).

thanks!

galdre
10-22-2013, 12:16 PM
Very nice map, I really like the style. Interesting write-up on it too, thanks for sharing.

Viking
10-22-2013, 10:42 PM
Nice work. I am sure the author was very happy with it :)

TimPaul
10-23-2013, 08:23 AM
Nice work. I am sure the author was very happy with it :)

Thank you.

He was. He said he was going to rub it in his other author friends face. I just finished the map and sent it in for the second book. I can't show that one yet. I'm hoping I do the map for the third book.

Ilanthar
10-23-2013, 09:21 AM
Fine job!

That's the kind of map I'm expecting when I open a fantasy novel.

Eilathen
10-23-2013, 11:30 AM
Well, i for one am glad that this will be a book with a map ... no seriously, what's with all the fantasy books that have no map?! :x

As for the map itself...it surely is well done. So good work, Tim.
BUT... there are some river issues (i am sure not the cartographer's fault) and the shape is just...sorry...boring. I mean as i said, i appreciate every author who at least puts in a map. But sometimes i have to wonder why almost all authors can only come up with such uninspired landforms. Oh well... (Again, this is not a critic pointed towards the mapper! I'm just venting a little fantasy map frustration here...sorry Tim ;) ).

TimPaul
10-23-2013, 11:49 AM
Well, i for one am glad that this will be a book with a map ... no seriously, what's with all the fantasy books that have no map?! :x

As for the map itself...it surely is well done. So good work, Tim.
BUT... there are some river issues (i am sure not the cartographer's fault) and the shape is just...sorry...boring. I mean as i said, i appreciate every author who at least puts in a map. But sometimes i have to wonder why almost all authors can only come up with such uninspired landforms. Oh well... (Again, this is not a critic pointed towards the mapper! I'm just venting a little fantasy map frustration here...sorry Tim ;) ).

Do you mean how straight the rivers tend to be for this?

- Max -
10-23-2013, 01:06 PM
He's probably talking about rivers splitting. Btw nice map :) Though the stains are too obvious and seems out of place here.

Gamerprinter
10-23-2013, 01:19 PM
Do you mean how straight the rivers tend to be for this?

Actually I posted a response to that article you linked describing this book and your map - but it's still awaiting moderation before it's posted. My post to that article regards the "river issues in your map". (Note: I am a member of the River Police - look beneath my avatar name).

The river system to the west side of your map has a general north to south flow, however, several of the tributaries seem to be flowing backwards and merge with the main river from the wrong direction - I see a half dozen examples of backwards pointing tributaries on that river system. Also, though large rivers can form deltas as the river nears the sea, your delta seems expansively large, almost too large - the rivers are splitting away from the coast too far away from the coast, though this is still possible, so I'm not trying to be overly critical.

Of the river system to the east, there's a similar too big a delta situation here as well, but more critical you have a river reaching the sea significantly north of the 2 rivers of the delta. If this were the case the entire river would flow into the sea at this point and not continue southward to split into 2 more rivers reaching the sea. Generally except in river deltas, a river can only reach the sea at one exit.

A river delta occurs when the land near the coast is extremely flat, the river slows down it's pace and detritus in the water begins to settle on the river floor building up and eventually pushing the river to one side or the other starting another channel. This is what causes multiple channels to appear in a river delta.

Since your map has been accepted by the author and publisher, there probably isn't a need to fix the rivers for publication, but for geologic/geographic authenticity you should use correct river formations in any published map. Unless the author is specifically ruling that the storyline requires unrealistic geographic formations, there should be no reason not to get the rivers correct.

We've got several threads in this forum discussing issues with river systems, as "rivers" of all geologic formations seems to be the one that most often have problems with inexperienced cartographers.

Aside from the river issues, though, this is a pretty map!

TimPaul
10-23-2013, 01:50 PM
He's probably talking about rivers splitting. Btw nice map :) Though the stains are too obvious and seems out of place here.

The main character in the book is a master assassin and it was requested that there be blood drips on the map. To create those, I actually dripped thick paint on paper and scanned, then worked in to photoshop. Same with the "bloody" thumbprint. It's a tricky balance, placing non essential elements on a map that has to be functional as well.

TimPaul
10-23-2013, 01:55 PM
Actually I posted a response to that article you linked describing this book and your map - but it's still awaiting moderation before it's posted. My post to that article regards the "river issues in your map". (Note: I am a member of the River Police - look beneath my avatar name).

The river system to the west side of your map has a general north to south flow, however, several of the tributaries seem to be flowing backwards and merge with the main river from the wrong direction - I see a half dozen examples of backwards pointing tributaries on that river system. Also, though large rivers can form deltas as the river nears the sea, your delta seems expansively large, almost too large - the rivers are splitting away from the coast too far away from the coast, though this is still possible, so I'm not trying to be overly critical.

Of the river system to the east, there's a similar too big a delta situation here as well, but more critical you have a river reaching the sea significantly north of the 2 rivers of the delta. If this were the case the entire river would flow into the sea at this point and not continue southward to split into 2 more rivers reaching the sea. Generally except in river deltas, a river can only reach the sea at one exit.

A river delta occurs when the land near the coast is extremely flat, the river slows down it's pace and detritus in the water begins to settle on the river floor building up and eventually pushing the river to one side or the other starting another channel. This is what causes multiple channels to appear in a river delta.

Since your map has been accepted by the author and publisher, there probably isn't a need to fix the rivers for publication, but for geologic/geographic authenticity you should use correct river formations in any published map. Unless the author is specifically ruling that the storyline requires unrealistic geographic formations, there should be no reason not to get the rivers correct.

We've got several threads in this forum discussing issues with river systems, as "rivers" of all geologic formations seems to be the one that most often have problems with inexperienced cartographers.

Aside from the river issues, though, this is a pretty map!



The placement of everything was provided to me by the author, so there's very little room for me to change his vision. I was asked to make a darker, grittier map fitting of the novels main character being an assassin.

I think there's not enough geographic information to really say what's fully going on in some areas. All we really see is coast, rivers, mountains and hills. There was no distance scale provided either, so that's another factor. Are we dealing with a few miles, or many miles?

- Max -
10-23-2013, 02:41 PM
About stains, not fan of it but that makes more sense :)

TimPaul
10-23-2013, 03:19 PM
About stains, not fan of it but that makes more sense :)

More so when you are being paid to give the Creative Director what they want.

Azelor
10-23-2013, 03:54 PM
The placement of everything was provided to me by the author, so there's very little room for me to change his vision. I was asked to make a darker, grittier map fitting of the novels main character being an assassin.

I think there's not enough geographic information to really say what's fully going on in some areas. All we really see is coast, rivers, mountains and hills. There was no distance scale provided either, so that's another factor. Are we dealing with a few miles, or many miles?

I'd say the size of a relatively small kingdom like Portugal, maybe a little bigger.

Is you email address going to be in the book too? It kind of break the atmosphere.

Gamerprinter
10-23-2013, 03:55 PM
The placement of everything was provided to me by the author, so there's very little room for me to change his vision. I was asked to make a darker, grittier map fitting of the novels main character being an assassin.

I think there's not enough geographic information to really say what's fully going on in some areas. All we really see is coast, rivers, mountains and hills. There was no distance scale provided either, so that's another factor. Are we dealing with a few miles, or many miles?

I guess it all depends on how you handle commissions, but I always question geologic/geographic anamolies in rough draft maps provided me by the authors of the works I complete. I want to make sure that I match the intentions of the author, while explaining why a given geologic mistake is occurring. In 2 commissions the authors allowed me to do the corrected versions. In one case the author indicated that the storyline required the anamoly. I know the fanbase of a given published book may question the map itself. By correcting it in the first place, such issues will never arise. It is in the author's favor to present him with a true rendition of a geologically sound map. In the end, I don't expect most authors to have any kind of cartographic knowledge. As a professional cartographer it an expectation that I report inconsistencies with the author. Not doing so is a disservice to the author and publisher.

TimPaul
10-23-2013, 04:36 PM
Thanks for your personal views on the subject, Gameprinter. They are certainly something to consider.

TimPaul
10-23-2013, 05:16 PM
Azelor,

I get the feeling it's actually bigger than Portugal, myself. This is meant to be a decorative map, to give all kinds of readers (new readers, experienced and hardcore) a general idea of the location of places mentioned in the book.

Once I read the book (waiting for my copy to arrive), I'll have a better idea.

I posted the jpeg sample I send out to inquires for maps, which has my email and name on it so people that pass it on, my information goes with it. It won't appear in the book that way.

Neyjour
10-23-2013, 07:16 PM
Very pretty map, and congratz on the commission! :)

It's a shame the client only requested B&W, because I really think this would look so much better in colour! Also, in B&W, the concept of the bloody drips and fingerprint is kind of lost, and makes them look a bit out of place. But in colour, against a weatherworn, brownish parchment texture, it would have looked much, much better and more interesting, and helped to convey the feeling of a hand-drawn map clutched in the hands of an assassin. :)

I realize B&W is needed for the book printing, but a colour version is always nice too, for displaying on the author's website. Would be a nice little extra I think, for fans of the book to enjoy, and also to snag the interest of potential readers.

I can't really comment on the river problem (it's not something I'm knowledgeable in at all), but I do think it's something the average person probably wouldn't even notice, or take issue with. (It didn't even register with me until I started reading the comments). But, like someone else mentioned, if you're interested in learning more about it for future maps, there's a wealth of helpful info to be found here. :)

Oh, and I also wanted to say that I really love your sword compass! And the font as well! :D

TimPaul
10-23-2013, 08:35 PM
Thanks, Neyjour

TimPaul
10-24-2013, 10:29 AM
Fine job!

That's the kind of map I'm expecting when I open a fantasy novel.

Thanks. I loved these kinds of maps as well, when I opened a book.

Domino44
10-24-2013, 01:15 PM
I think that the stains on the map are interesting without the explanation though they did seem out of place but with the information about the story I thought is was a cool idea. I do think that it would be better in color but that wasn't your choice and I think you did a good job with making the stains in black and white. I love the thumb print at the edge of the map I think that it is very cool. By any chance could you tell me the name of the book?

- Max -
10-24-2013, 01:24 PM
I was hired to do a black and white map for the David Dalglish novel, A Dance of Cloaks.

Domino, read the OP and the title :P

Domino44
10-24-2013, 01:43 PM
Domino, read the OP and the title :P

Thanks max, now I feel really dumb. I read all the comments but was too lazy to read the full title...

- Max -
10-24-2013, 02:08 PM
Lazyness never fits well with cartography ;) :D

TimPaul
10-24-2013, 02:20 PM
When something needs to be in black and white, I work back and white, because it's easier to get the values right from the start, rather than try and fix things after converting to grayscale.

I have done color maps. In fact I'm working on a color map for a graphic novel set in today's Tokyo.

When I can post some personal work, it will be in color.

arsheesh
10-24-2013, 03:42 PM
A fine job!

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

foremost
10-24-2013, 08:37 PM
This is a fantastic map, especially considering the stated guidelines you had to operate under.

I agree and disagree with some of the other comments. I did notice the exceptionally large delta in the west, but I think if you're focusing on the rivers too much, you're likely not looking enough at the rest of the map. I doubt anything like this would be mentioned in the book, but maybe the town of Kiln diverts some of the river to fuel surrounding farms, and that's why you'd have the river look that way. Also, the placement of the rivers looked accurate when you considered the surrounding mountains. (Again, I do agree that the deltas are too large and the backwards tributaries probably don't have an explanation (though they could).

But really I think people are focusing too much on the rivers. I really liked your compass (compasses can be tricky!) and the font that you chose/was given to you. Your mountains and the settlement icons are also very solid, kudos on that. I wish there was more forest on this map, in an area with these rivers, forests could really grow (Rivers again!). Some of the blood looks realistic, now that I know it's blood. The fingerprint does not, sadly.

Is that a smiling sea-monster!?!

Great map, despite a couple of its shortcomings.
-fm

Hai-Etlik
10-25-2013, 02:47 AM
Graphically, quite nice. I particularly like the forests. As others have pointed out the splotch and thumb print hurt it, but if that's what the client wanted, that's what they wanted, and likewise for the wonky rivers.

The speckle effect around the edges also doesn't really make sense to me. It has a "computer artist trying to fill space" vibe to it rather than looking like it would be something that would occur on the "real" map. The white halo on the label for the Crestwall Mountains also has a strong "done with graphics software" feel to it.

Linear and area labels tend to look better with more letter spacing. Area labels in particular are good to stretch out to provide a suggestion of the extent of the feature. You should also try to be consistent about whether they are curved or straight. "Omn" looks like it's supposed to be an area label, but it's straight and horizontal like the point labels while all the other area labels are curved. It's also usually better to run an area label through the area rather than around it as you've done with the forests, although this is more flexible and what you have in this regard works reasonably well. Multiline labels are also best avoided if at all possible.

Finally, it looks like you're using envelope deformation rather than text on a path on at least one of the labels (The Northern Plains). That's really a bad idea. It is another thing that just looks "done on a computer" and hurts legibility. It's not too bad in this case but it's something to consider in future.

TimPaul
10-25-2013, 09:09 AM
FYI, I didn't use a font, that's all hand lettering, and the details on it are my idea. Since the main character is an assassin, I thought that I'd incorporate the suggestion of a target.

The client was Orbit Books, not the author.

The texture is a combination of actual paper scans and watercolor. The glow effect around words is indeed digital, because you have to be able to read words. They wanted the option to remove the text and just have a map, so I needed to be able to have mountains under the text.

The mountains at the top actually have a different name, but aren't mentioned in the book. So there's not much space to put the name next to the mountains.

The texture around the edge was done with watercolors, and to help define the edge, so it pops more from the page.

I was given the next map for the next book the second I turned this in, and I've gotten several other commissions for maps since then.

Though all the feedback is certainly something to consider.

jfrazierjr
10-25-2013, 02:12 PM
I agree with GP and others. While I in no way am suggesting that anyone refuse a client's requirements, it never hurts to educate people. At least in this case, it's YOUR name on the map, not the authors and that can affect your reputation. For example, would you ever add mountains with lightsource on the left and forests with lightsource on the right? I hope not, at least not without the requester explicit asking for that and you explaining why he should consider it differently.

As GP said, if there is a real in story reason for some messed up rivers, deserts in the wrong place, or something like that, fine... the Author's imagination for how is world works should be able to explain it as part of the book(s) or at least reference the fact that it's a bit out of the ordinary. If the author has no plans to write about them, then geographical anomalies can just serve to make the artist appear uninformed to those who look for these detail(and sometimes, people can see something "wrong", but not be able to put their finger on exactly what!) and could potentially hurt your future commission chances.

FYI, a number of your other maps suffer from similar situations, I am sure due to the author's fault. But as noted, it's an artists duty to help steer the commissioner toward good artistic design elements as much as possible, similar to how you have to steer clients toward a fair(to you) price when they come in WAY under on their price proposal for what they are asking for. That might mean offering alternatives such as smaller size, no color, or whatever to get both of you to a closer price/effort agreement.

BTW, the map elements themselves look REALLY good. It's hard to believe you hand lettered this, Great job!! I am not that concerned with the fingerprint or drops at "full size", but it's rather dubious that the fingerprint at least will be discernible at print size. Granted, the client asked for it, but they may not be happy with it when they print and see that their "fingerprint" is nothing but a giant smudge at that size!

TimPaul
10-25-2013, 03:36 PM
Thanks for all the feedback, compliments and opinions.

Schwarzkreuz
10-25-2013, 07:49 PM
I also agree about the rivers. In all my commissions I Tell the Client about the rivers, if they are all messed up and ask which river is named and mentioned within the novel, and than correct them all. I think the strong reactions here shows what can result of such incoherencies.