View Full Version : Honestly a bit overwhelmed

12-17-2013, 11:40 PM
Hello there, I'm here to try to figure out how to make a map! Or several if I can manage. I'm creating a fantasy book series and area maps are almost essential, as well as helpful for the creative process. I glanced through a few threads and there's a lot to take in here (which is good! I think). Any tips on where/how to start would be extremely wonderful. I'm starting at zero, since I can't even draw, but I think it'll be really important to have good maps, so I'm willing to learn :)

Thanks in advance and I look forward to getting to know some people here.

12-17-2013, 11:57 PM
Hi Lin!
Welcome to the guild first of all :) There definitely is a lot to take in here. The most obvious answer of where to start is the tutorial section I guess. Tutorials/How-To (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/)

There area a lot of different approaches you can take and they also all depend on what your end goal is. My advice is to just start with a tutorial and follow it and start learning :) My other advice is to try to anchor your maps with a bit of realism where possible as that helps with believability regardless of the style. A prime newbie mistake, for example, is not making sure your rivers flow one way into larger bodies of water. Except for delta situations, rivers in the real world never do this.

Anyways, try making some maps and post them on the forum to get feedback and grow as a cartographer from there :)

12-18-2013, 12:39 AM
Thank you, Viking ^^ I'll definitely spend some time in the tutorial section. And thanks for that little bit of advice. Now I'll make sure to think about real world situations. I think most people have software to make maps, right? Going to look into that too as I start. Should only take me a few years to get good at this, haha.

12-18-2013, 03:54 AM
If there's any problems, just ask and you will certainly receive assistance.

12-19-2013, 12:28 AM
Welcome to the Guild Lin. I agree with Viking that the tutorials section is your best bet to begin with. If you don't already have mapping software, Photoshop CS and GIMP are probably the two most popular used around here. Once you find a tutorial that you like, start a WIP showing your progress. Others will chime in an offer helpful tips and pointers that will help you along. Looking forward to seeing you around.


12-19-2013, 10:38 AM
Lin, as a fellow newbie here I get the overwhelmed feeling often too, especially when looking at stuff by Maxime Plasse. The best solution I've found is to dive in and start making mistakes as fast as possible - eventually you'll do something right and you'll know you're one step closer to the awesome map you've wanted to make. Besides running through tutorials I also like to find maps I love and set about trying to recreate a single facet of the map, like doing multiple outlines around the coast, or getting a good parchment effect.

12-19-2013, 05:56 PM
@Arsheesh: Thanks! I got a copy of GIMP after looking over the software options (being on a Mac limits me a little) And I downloaded pretty much every pdf associated with it on the site (Thanks so much for those, guys) So I'll be working on getting through those over the Christmas break ^^

@PWKerns:Hey, fellow newbie. Glad I'm not the only one. I mostly got overwhelmed looking at the amount of info here. But I do agree that there's some gorgeous work on here. Viking and Arsheesh, I'm looking at you.


12-23-2013, 11:31 PM
There's a current thread on the steps of mapmaking (http://www.cartographersguild.com/general-miscellaneous-mapping/25495-general-map-making-steps.html), with references to other such threads.

Welcome to the Guild! Yup, it could take years to get really good, BUT those can be quite enjoyable hours and hours, and intermediate maps made can be perfectly useable, pleasant, and pretty. And enjoyable. Did I say enjoyable? For y'see - if you dive in the time span becomes "in mere hours you can be better than you were" :-). Quickest way to improve is to jump in and start a Work-in-Progress thread, and ask questions as you go. We're a gentle audience. I have a river cop's badge, for instance, but no nightstick :-).