View Full Version : General Map Making Steps

12-07-2013, 03:14 PM
Hello CG! I have just started to make maps and I am feeling kind of lost in the process of it all. I was curious on what your general process was when making a map? I have found a few articles/tutorials and they all usually follow the same steps after determining what you want to make, but most just focus on one step. I was wondering what general step you follow? Do you do land masses, mountains, rivers, lakes/rivers and other land regions. Then do the finishing textures like texture and what not? Or something else? One more thing, what is a good document size to start on? I have attached the map that I am currently working on.

EDIT: If there is another thread addressing this please let me know. I was not able to find one.
EDIT: Found http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/4276-quickstart-guide-fantasy-mapping.html

12-18-2013, 04:13 AM
The focus on one step that many explanatory threads have comes from the fact that maps are made up from different elements, and within limits, you can mix up different ways to make these elements.

The general sequence of making a map should be quite simple. My method is something like that:
1. Decide on what I want to have on my map.
2. Decide on a style.
3. Make up the basic shape.
4. Add map elements as needed.
5. Add the additional elements: key, legend, border... that kind of things.
6. Pretty up the map.

12-23-2013, 04:36 PM
Good thread with some process / sequence ideas (http://www.cartographersguild.com/general-discussion/21300-where-do-you-start.html).

12-24-2013, 03:05 AM
I've been working on my very first world map and this was my progression:

1) Land shape (with a base texture) and a basic background/ocean colour
2) Mountains next.
3) Then the rivers (just a placeholder layer that was tweaked several times as the map developed).
4) I then started adding terrain textures and the trees (which were also tweaked and added to along the way).
5) Then the initial roads/paths and symbols (also added to along the way).
6) Once I got a better idea of the terrain colours/textures, I added a background/ocean texture and adjusted the colour to match.
7) Then I started adding the fancy stuff, like the border, cartouche, legend, compass rose and rhumb lines.
8 ) Once the terrain was completely done I redrew the rivers properly.
9) Then a lot more tweaks and revisions to many of the different elements.
10) And now I'm getting ready to do the labels.
11) After the labels there will probably be several more last-minute tweaks and touch-ups before I finally call it done. :)