View Full Version : [WIP] As Yet Untitled World

11-29-2013, 06:54 PM
Having been out of work and bored, I decided to have another go at my old mapping attempt. Having always been stymied by the more "traditional fantasy" artistic style, I decided to go with more of a political map look. I am a graphic designer by trade rather than an artist to begin with, and for the purposes of my novel the political things are much more important than the geographic features. I may at some point try to figure out a simple way to represent the mountain ranges on the map, but it will be exactly that: simple. Any ideas on how to accomplish this would be much appreciated :D

Much of my inspiration for this style came from this map (http://www.emersonkent.com/images/europe_15th_century.jpg), as well as my history with mapmaking for modern setting cooperative worldbuilding. All of the techniques I've used in building the start of this map are my own experimentation over a late night last night excepting the text, for which I borrowed the ink bleeding technique from Gidde's Hand-drawn Maps for the Artistically Challenged tutorial. If anyone was interested, the tools of my trade are GIMP, a Wacom Bamboo tablet, and Adobe Fireworks for the text, because I feel it does a much better job than GIMP with curved text. The font is Imperator by Paul Lloyd, acquired from dafont.com (http://www.dafont.com)

Since I haven't (re)named the world yet, I did not yet bother to create a legend. Solid black lines are rivers. Dotted black lines are sovereign state borders. City names in small caps are capital cities/city-states and lowercase city names are subject cities. The main continent (not counting the unexplored lands to the south) is somewhere in area between South America and North America. The Empire of Athanon is roughly equal in area to the Macedonian Empire at its height. The Kingdom of the South, the red which I forgot to label, is about equal to the Qin Dynasty of China. I didn't bother to calculate the areas of the other states yet.


11-29-2013, 10:58 PM
I really like the style of this map and how you did it. I love your colors the texture of the sea. great work!

11-30-2013, 04:39 AM
Lovely work so far!


11-30-2013, 09:00 AM
Although i am a huge fan of geographical maps, this has a nice look to it. And there is nothing wrong with a simple geographical map, btw ;) So i hope we will see it, as i find it important to know where the mountains and forests and rivers etc. are.

Care to tell us a bit about the world itself? Tech-level, cultures? Oh and if you feel like it, tell us about the novel as well.

Have some Rep.!

12-03-2013, 01:43 AM
Having explain the process of making the map in the previous post, I can devote this and future posts to describing the world it depicts :D

As I've mentioned, I don't yet have a title for the world, but I'm thinking of working in the word "cal," which I've settled on as meaning "earth" in the language of Vasile, which becomes becomes somewhat the language of academia later, as the (later) Kingdom of the South becomes the preeminent power in the future. Yes, I am working on constructed languages for this world, though at best I think they'll be naming languages. I won't go into major depth with grammar and all that.

At the start of the first novel, the world has a technological and, in certain areas, cultural similarity to Europe on the eve of the Columbus voyage in 1492. The countries which border the sea have ships capable of fairly long voyages, and the people of the world, even the Rukans and Golden Coast cities on opposite sides, are at least aware of each others existence even if they don't have frequent contact. The continent to the South, known in those times as the Untamed Lands, have been visited, but infrequently, by explorers from the Empire of the South (that's the subject of a later novel). Nobody has yet made any efforts to settle the continent or explore its interior, as it is covered in dense jungles and its rivers are not easily navigable.

There is something of a cold war going on at the time between the Empire of Athanon with its buffer allies and an alliance of southern states known as the Red Alliance. The Kingdom of Carabagh is the de facto leader of the alliance. They are the largest and most populous of the alliance states and have the most to worry about, bordering the Imperial client state of Deneria. This situation is only exacerbated by the fact that Deneria and Carabagh have been antagonistic toward each other for centuries, back when the city of Athanon was a still a nomadic camp. The Empire of the South also illicitly supports the Red Alliance in order to preserve their own interests in the south where it has colonies. The cities of the Golden Coast, as well as the small states of Togaz and Afall, are decidedly neutral, though individuals and factions in these places have offered assistance to one side or the other depending on which serve their interests better. The citizenry of Togaz, for example, tend to lean toward the Alliance due to their cultural affinity with the Valkaz Republic, an Alliance state. The Rukan Empire is completely neutral, and most of its people aren't even aware of the conflict.

Next post I might go into more detail about the major states and regions.

A quick note: You may have noticed that I have deserts at two very different latitudes. Well, the Kahi Desert isn't a desert in the truest sense. It is a flat, cold expanse of largely permafrost that gets a reasonable amount of precipitation, but it nearly always falls as snow. When snow isn't falling, much of the moisture in the air presents itself as fog. Not a desert, but because it is flat and gets little actual rain, that's what the Vasileans took to calling it.


12-08-2013, 04:03 PM
A nice look, and a nicely thought-out backstory. If you want dead-simple mountain symbology, just go for strings of open-bottom triangles. You don't even have to draw - it could all be type: sans-serif lambdas :-).

There's plenty of precedent for calling any ol' undesirable wasteland a desert - such as much of the continental USA used to be termed, between the Mississippi and the Rockies.

12-17-2013, 03:11 PM
Very nice choice of colors and shape of the land.
I like projects like yours, where not only there is an amazing map, but also a well-though lore behind it, something that gives tons of purpose to it.
+Rep to you, my friend.

02-09-2014, 08:47 PM
It's been a couple of months since I last updated this, but it hasn't been completely dead. I've been trying to refine a mountain technique and come up with some of the naming languages, both of which have been quite a challenge. One thing I did settle on is a name, Calmera, which is a rehashing of the name for a previous map I worked on here for the same book. That map is gone, but I like the similar name. But here is the real reason for my post. I've finally figured out a way for making mountains that fit in with my map style but don't take over the whole map. Since the focus of this map, for me, is the political and geographic aspects that are much more important to the story, I wanted to create mountains that were apparent but not overwhelming. By using and extensively adapting RobA's Simple Mountains tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/4335-%5Baward-winner%5D-simple-mountains-gimp.html) I feel I may have succeeded.

Please note: these are NOT the final mountains. They are rough copies just to test the style before I go all out and spend a lot of time on this. First, they are far too uniform the way they are now. Second, I want to make some height differences both along the ranges and between ranges, to add some variety to them. But I wanted to throw something simple together to get opinions on the general style.

I'm not really happy with how the Irha Mountains or the Pestula plateau turned out, and if I do use this style I'll have to redraw most of my borders (which is okay as long as I end up with a good map). Otherwise I am reasonably satisfied given my lack of artistic talent. Any criticisms, ideas, and changes are welcome.

02-17-2014, 02:49 AM
Interesting effect. I'd say the area around the plateau works better than the stringy ranges, because it IS an area. While symbolic ranges work okay as single linear beads-on-a-string, 3-d realistic ones don't. A real range would be all convoluted and multithreaded and of varying width - so the somewhat photorealistic style clashes. If you used that method and started with a whole spiderweb of ridgelines, you might get a better look.... but at the cost of maybe adding more detail than is warranted.

What with easy access to satellite imagery, we nowadays expect photo-like views to BE photo-like .... capturing every lick of data. It's a tough issue to find a compromise on.

The Andes is a seriously linear feature. Yet look at an orbital view of it around this scale, and you'll see many parallel ridges, gaps, peaks with ridges radiating in many directions, clumps and sparse spots.

I don't have a suggested way to handle the discrepancy, and if the way you're doing it works for you, ignore my blather :-).