PDA

View Full Version : Map of the Twin Kingdoms of Aran and Ilan - Handdrawn



Caenwyr
01-06-2014, 07:03 AM
Hi all,

This is not the first map I post about these two countries, as you might remember (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/21036-map-twin-kingdoms-aran-ilan.html). This time however I'm going to (try to) create a more handdrawn look, instead of the satellite image sort of map I used before. I purchased a drawing tablet (the cheap sort: a Wacom Bamboo) and I'm now getting accustomed to using it.

So this is the map I'm starting from:

60149

And this is what I have at the moment:

### latest WIP ###
60150

I already have a fairly nice parchment texture at the ready that I'll add as soon as the rest of the details are finished. For now I'm mainly concerned about the look and feel of the mountains and the tapering rivers - it seems I still have to finetune those quite a bit (I just jumped from GIMP to Photoshop and ran into an inspiringly steep learning curve).

Be sure to let me know what you think!
C

Salama
01-06-2014, 07:54 AM
I think the mountains look great! I like the spiked style you got there. Nothing wrong with the style of rivers either in my opinion. Only thing that I'm not sure about is your coastline stroke. With the smaller islands and lakes the inside stroke hides the white completely, and the strokes look heavier than they are when zoomed out.

Ilanthar
01-06-2014, 08:32 AM
I'm not a big fan of the "base map" (even if the colors are quite harmonious).
On the contrary, your "more handdrawn" version is really good. I like the shape of the lands and your mountains are just excellent!
I'm sure that your gonna do a very good map from this one.

- Max -
01-06-2014, 09:43 AM
The mountains looks leaning on the left a bit too much.

Caenwyr
01-07-2014, 02:22 AM
The mountains looks leaning on the left a bit too much.

You're right, Max, the mountains DO seem to be leaning to the left a bit. That must've happened subconsciously (maybe my being lefthanded has to do something with it?). In order to address this, however, I chose to create a hell of a lot of extra mountains, and mirror those I already had in my base document. That way at least some of my new mountains will lean to the right, which should balance the overall feel.

My mountains base document (I'm still adding to it as you can see):
60170

I also added a first preliminary shading to the mountains. Colours etc will of course be changed afterwards.



### latest WIP ###
60171

Let me know what you think!

- Max -
01-07-2014, 03:36 AM
You're right, Max, the mountains DO seem to be leaning to the left a bit. That must've happened subconsciously (maybe my being lefthanded has to do something with it?).

:) Yes probably, at the start, I seem to have some mountains leaning to the right aswell ;)

Caenwyr
01-07-2014, 08:06 AM
I think the mountains look great! I like the spiked style you got there. Nothing wrong with the style of rivers either in my opinion. Only thing that I'm not sure about is your coastline stroke. With the smaller islands and lakes the inside stroke hides the white completely, and the strokes look heavier than they are when zoomed out.
Sorry for not replying to this earlier, Salama. You're absolutely right about the coastlines. What do you think: should I eliminate the smaller dots (those without any white in them)? Or should I try and diminish the stroke width?



:) Yes probably, at the start, I seem to have some mountains leaning to the right aswell ;)
Let's just blame geology for that, no one will ever know ;-)

Eilathen
01-07-2014, 01:39 PM
To start with, i really liked your satellite map *thumbs up* !

Now as to the new, handdrawn version...to be honest, the mountains look way too big to me. If i look at the rivers and the overall map and your worldmap, i think this part of the world is quite big...not just a little local snippet. Therefore i think the mountains are out of proportion. The ones at the bottom left of the continent are quite ok, i guess...but most of the others are too big to my eyes.
Otherwise, this looks like it will be another good looking map. And the mountains, stylewise, are very well done.

Caenwyr
01-08-2014, 02:15 AM
Now as to the new, handdrawn version...to be honest, the mountains look way too big to me.
As a matter of fact I had the same feeling about the mountains. I guess I got carried away by my enthousiasm ;-). After all the bigger mountains are so much richer in texture than the smaller ones, which makes the smaller ridges look almost cheap in comparison. The thing is, I wanted to convey the idea that this central mountain ridge is really, really unsurpassible (except for two mountain passes), but maybe I did indeed overdo it a bit.

Who else thinks my mountains are a tad too big to be realistic? I can always redraw them - it should be fun!

Caenwyr
01-08-2014, 05:33 AM
Okay, I did a quick test on the central mountain range. I'm at work now, so I can't use my drawing tablet to add the shading just yet, but I managed to at least recreate the mountain range with smaller mountains. Below you can find the "old" mountains on the left, and the new (as yet unshaded) ones on the right. Let me know which of the two you prefer!

60184 60185

thanks for your comments!
C

fabio p
01-08-2014, 08:49 AM
First, I have to say that I really like your mountains, in both versions.

If realism is what you're worried, in my opinion in this kind of maps is actually acceptable that the proportions may be slightly altered: for example, the icons of the city, or the trees are always a little larger than they would be if all was really proportionate.
If it is a matter of general harmony of the map, in my opinion, to decide on the size of the mountains you have to consider how you draw the other elements and what size they will have.

Caenwyr
01-13-2014, 05:12 AM
Hi all,

So I redid the mountains and added the shadows. They should be quite a bit more "realistic" now (or at least not as humongously huge as they were before).

### latest WIP ###
60284

All comments are welcome!

Eilathen
01-13-2014, 06:31 AM
Surely better than before. Maybe you could place a scale on the map? So that we can see how big that region is? I still get the feeling of this being bigger than what the mountains suggest...but i could be wrong.

Caenwyr
01-13-2014, 09:23 AM
Hi Eilathen,

You're right, the lack of a scale makes it hard to decide whether this is the right size for the mountains. I intend to add a scale once everything is in place, but maybe this might already give you an idea of the size of these lands: the central mountain range is roughly 1300 miles long, which is about twice the length of the Alps and half that of the Rocky Mountains, and I envision it far less penetrable than either. It really has to come across as a huge wall, with only two passes that can be used by a marching army. I'm afraid that making the mountains any smaller will make them look too much of a "walk in the park". ;-)

jbgibson
01-13-2014, 05:57 PM
The roughness of your mountains communicates "impenetrable" just fine. The mix of left-leaning and right-leaning peaks is interesting - I think I like it. Geologically, one might expect neighboring mountains to slope the same way, but the "choppiness" you have does make the range look rougher, wilder. If there's a flaw in the sizing vs. impenetrability look, it might be that as is, the narrowest part of the range looks to be one mountain wide. I know that's a generalized range many tens or hundreds of kilometers wide, but at first glance, that mid-southern part is "oh - one ridgeline".

The rivers are nice. A slight improvement might be for the lowest reaches of some to take on the loopy bends of the lower Seine, or lower Mississippi - particularly if the terrain is very flat. Nothing wrong with the amount of wiggles in your upper watercourses.

THe thing with your intricate coast in the west is that the mountain symbology says "smallest thing here is fifty kilometers across" where the little islands say "we're going to show things that are three km across". The mismatch is okay, so long as you intend it, and can somehow manage the viewer's perceptions.

Caenwyr
01-29-2014, 12:58 AM
Hi all,

At long last, I managed to continue working on this map a bit. the most important changes:

I simplified the coastlines (islands and lakes too small to have any white in them have disappeared),
I finished the northwestern mountain range (I'm thinking of roughening it up a bit, however. Do you think the central part is a bit too straight?)


### latest WIP ###

60812

feel free to let me know what you think!

Caenwyr
01-31-2014, 01:30 AM
Okay, so this is new.

While working on the map (and the as yet unpublish because not existing larger scale map), I started discovering some pretty unpleasant things. First off, I only now came to realize just how big this proportion of the world actually is. And you guys were right: the mountains indeed don't give the right impression of scale. So even though I really liked my mountains, I eventually realized they were too big, and should have to be redone.

And that brought me to my second problem: shape. While the mountain ranges in the images above KINDA work, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't exist in the real world. They don't convey the idea that there's actually some (tectonical) mechanism behind their location. So basically I'd have to start drawing them from scratch.

Then I came to realize that, if I did redraw the mountain ranges, I'd have to redraw the coastline as well. The old coastline was based on the coastline of my oldest iteration, which of course did not take tectonics into account. And if I really wanted to work with the principles of tectonics, the old coastlines would have to go as well. Or at least where the coast is sufficiently close to the mountains.

So in respect to an idea I have had for a very long time, I finally started my map the way it should always be done: from the bottom up. First I sketched in the mountain ranges, then the coastlines, then the rivers. I tried to stay as true as possible to my old coastlines (after all, I'm using this map for a story I'm writing, so distances between settlements can't change TOO much). And so, without further ado, I would like to present my totally overhauled, "new old" map! (I haven't added all the mountain ranges yet, btw)

### latest WIP ###
60888

What do you think? Is this at all an improvement?

Diamond
01-31-2014, 01:46 AM
While I respect the time and effort it takes to start over from scratch, and I admire your willingness to do it 'right'... I think I like the previous version better. That landform, while maybe not strictly realistic, had some character. This one seems kind of... bleh... in comparison. It also looks uncomfortably like a Wheel of Time map, and even slightly Middle-Earthy.

Caenwyr
01-31-2014, 02:25 AM
While I respect the time and effort it takes to start over from scratch, and I admire your willingness to do it 'right'... I think I like the previous version better. That landform, while maybe not strictly realistic, had some character. This one seems kind of... bleh... in comparison.

Thanks for your opinion, Diamond, it's greatly appreciated! It's true that especially the northwestern corner has become less distinct (I might even use the word 'weak'). I did this because I intend to draw in a mountain range that runs along that bent coastline and 'explains' the arch of islands off the western coast. But yeah, by trying to make it more realistic, I might have ended up making it less, well, attractive...

So tell me: do you like the new look of the mountains? Or do you prefer the ones in my old map?

Azelor
01-31-2014, 10:39 AM
I would say that I prefer the old mountains because they look more ramdomly placed. There is something I don't like about them though. The size is maybe just a matter of style but I think they are too close to the water at some places. That dosen't look right.

Jalyha
01-31-2014, 12:58 PM
I would say that I prefer the old mountains because they look more ramdomly placed. There is something I don't like about them though. The size is maybe just a matter of style but I think they are too close to the water at some places. That dosen't look right.

My first instinct was to go, "NUH UH!!!" because some mountains *are* right on the waterline... or rather, they fade into (grow from?) Cliffs that are on the waterline, but...

When I looked at the map, it did look a little... off. :?

I think it's cause these are full-out mountains... not mountain cliffs.. and I've never seen them than close to shore. (Unless someone from Virginia wants to contradict me? :P ) Most of the ones I've seen that aren't cliffs turn into hills, and valleys/plains/flat-land-type-areas, and THEN coastlines... so you'd need to fit a couple of things in between, yes?

Caenwyr
02-01-2014, 03:39 AM
My first instinct was to go, "NUH UH!!!" because some mountains *are* right on the waterline... or rather, they fade into (grow from?) Cliffs that are on the waterline, but...

When I looked at the map, it did look a little... off. :?

I think it's cause these are full-out mountains... not mountain cliffs.. and I've never seen them than close to shore. (Unless someone from Virginia wants to contradict me? :P ) Most of the ones I've seen that aren't cliffs turn into hills, and valleys/plains/flat-land-type-areas, and THEN coastlines... so you'd need to fit a couple of things in between, yes?
You're right, I've had the same thought. That's why in my "new and improved" mountains I tried to make sure all outline strokes started pretty horizontal, and then grew steeper towards the top. Mountains don't just spring up from the plains (even though they might seem to when you're driving by them in, say, Grand Teton NP).

Since I'm redrawing them anyway, I might do the mountains more "first version"-like, but with bottom swashes that are more horizontal: both rugged AND kinda realistic.

About the coastline remarks: this is a huge learning experience for me. Normally I'm a satellite view kinda guy - heck, I work with satellite images for a living! Trying to draw a map by hand (well, by drawing tablet) is a pretty huge leap of faith. And thanks to your comments, I'm learning a lot. Thanks for that. Now, the only two regions I changed are the northwestern coastline, and the island in the south. Let's do a quick and dirty test on a better configuration, shall we?

Here goes:

### latest WIP ###
60931

Pixie
02-01-2014, 08:48 AM
I'm all for revising mountains as to make them "tectonically" realistical, everytime. But that's me, my 2 cents say you are in the right track.

But could I point a fact about realistical impenetrable ridges? They normally have some form of plateau on one of the sides. Himalayas are pretty much impenetrable, but there's the Tibetan plateau; Andes are the most straight up ridge from the ocean you can think of, and there's the andean plateau, from California inwards (say San Francisco-Reno) it's pretty much up, but then it's always in altitude to Utah, there's a ridge between Iran's mainland (which is a plateau) and the Persian Gulf...

So, consider that... That big lake, for example, about half way up from the center, could be in altitude..

Also, (and I know I may not be helping)... Older mountain ranges (no longer active) would already have had glacier erosion at some point. This creates easily crossable valleys.. see the Alps, or the Scandinavian ridge, for an example. Plateaus, on the other hand, don't really have glaciers, at most they'll end up with spread out lakes/depressions of various sizes.

A desert/frozen plateau could be just as impenetrable for an army on the march as a couple of peaks lined up. You can still make it fit in your imagined setting.

Caenwyr
02-01-2014, 10:42 AM
Thanks Pixie, You're absolutely right! I do intend to add plateaus to the mix. As a matter of fact, most of the zone east of the central ridge will be some sort of plateau, especially to the north. The huge lake north of that ridge is indeed a rather high altitude lake (which in turn drains into the western ocean). Below you'll find a small update, with some better mountain ridge distribution and an updated coastline.

### latest WIP ###
60942

Pixie
02-01-2014, 11:11 AM
Good improvements, imho.

I'm wondering though, what sort of climate(s) do you have in mind. For some reason, the map resembles Alaska a bit, to me, so I am imagining something towards cold and forest covered. Still, this is a bias from the land shape and I have really no idea. What are your thoughts on it?

The reason I am asking is that a high altitude lake doesn't need to drain unless the precipitation is significant, it could just be on the rain shadow of the ridge. Hell, if it is reasonably high and dry it will simply fill in spring with melt waters and have its level dropping until next spring because of evaporation. No draining would mean no nice valley for people to travel through...
Still, it's your map, so I don't want to intrude with too many ideas.

The revised coastline looks very nice.

Jalyha
02-01-2014, 11:23 AM
Good improvements, imho.

I'm wondering though, what sort of climate(s) do you have in mind. For some reason, the map resembles Alaska a bit, to me, so I am imagining something towards cold and forest covered. Still, this is a bias from the land shape and I have really no idea. What are your thoughts on it?


Lol... I keep seeing a warped north america... Texas is huge, california completely swallowed by the sea... but now I see alaska. :P


Anyway... I thought all lakes drain... or, rather the water either drains away or is absorbed... just some more slowly than others... could it be it's an underground drainage area?

Caenwyr
02-02-2014, 01:48 PM
Good improvements, imho.

I'm wondering though, what sort of climate(s) do you have in mind. For some reason, the map resembles Alaska a bit, to me, so I am imagining something towards cold and forest covered. Still, this is a bias from the land shape and I have really no idea. What are your thoughts on it?

The reason I am asking is that a high altitude lake doesn't need to drain unless the precipitation is significant, it could just be on the rain shadow of the ridge. Hell, if it is reasonably high and dry it will simply fill in spring with melt waters and have its level dropping until next spring because of evaporation. No draining would mean no nice valley for people to travel through...
Still, it's your map, so I don't want to intrude with too many ideas.

The revised coastline looks very nice.
Well actually, I'm going to drain the lake through a graben between the central mountain ridge (the Cyradan) and the mountain ridge north of the island. While this might sound kinda interesting geologically, I'm mainly resorting to this solution because the draining river is an important transport route in my story. One of the few places where people from both sides can meet without actually crossing the mountains.

Regarding the climate: the northernmost regions are really arctic, but below the east-west mountain ridges the climate evolves from taiga to an almost mediterranean feel. Still have to work out the details though.

Caenwyr
02-05-2014, 08:45 AM
Okay, this is what I've got so far. One massive mountain range done, a bazillion more to go. What do you think of the style I used for the mountains?

61052

Ilanthar
02-05-2014, 10:43 AM
It gives me the feeling of the spine of a giant monster somehow. Not a bad thing (except if you didn't wanted)! It will be different with other mountain ranges, I suppose.

Caenwyr
02-05-2014, 02:47 PM
Well it IS called the Spine of the World in some places, and even the Dragon's Backbone (which would be "Arcyslacir" in the local language). Not that I'm hinting at something or anything ;-)

Caenwyr
02-07-2014, 04:57 AM
Hi all,

A really small update here (going on tiny). While I still have loads of work to do what with the mountains and all, I decided I should also start thinking of icons. I'll be using 4 levels of towns/cities. What do you think of the following icons?

61119

Freodin
02-07-2014, 05:16 AM
The "higher" levels seem a little to delicate for a map of your size and scale. How about using a square variant of the two "lower" levels?

Caenwyr
02-07-2014, 06:06 AM
You're absolutely right. And using squares is actually a really good idea! How about this?

61123

Or rather this?

61124

Personally I'm more for the "full then empty" option (the first one). That seems to fit better visually.

Falconius
02-07-2014, 07:23 AM
I'm not sure they both work and they are both sort of confusing. I'd lean towards the first option personally. The confusion results from using two different mechanisms to indicate size but not using them in sequence but rather having them mixed together.

Caenwyr
02-07-2014, 08:31 AM
I feel the same way - that's why I went with the all round icons at the beginning. I believe I can make the first 3 levels of those work without much trouble, and then maybe add a square version of the biggest icon for the capitals (there's only two). That would give me this:

61126

Not much room for confusion there, is there? Or maybe I should just go for solid circles in several sizes (he said depressedly)

Falconius
02-07-2014, 08:36 AM
That looks good to me, it eliminates all confusion as far as I can tell.

Caenwyr
02-08-2014, 06:58 AM
Okay, here's another significant update (using the icons I proposed above). Drew in another mountain range, some rivers and even a first attempt at drawing the forests. What do you guys think?

### latest WIP###

61150

Jalyha
02-08-2014, 10:30 AM
I like the forests. And your mountains are growing!

I don't know if I like the icons. I know they are supposed to be visible... probably draw the eye, but they look... I don't know how to say this?

To me it looks like they came from a different map.

Maybe it's because the ink is darker on the icons, than the mountains/forest... even the coast. I feel like a very dark gray would be better than a black?

Or maybe that's why I do pictures instead of maps :P I'm more interested in the scenery...

and I see things weird >.<

madcowchef
02-08-2014, 11:50 AM
Love the general look of it, but have to agree with Jalyha about the icons. The features seem like that of an older map but the icons seem overly clean and modern by comparison.

jbgibson
02-08-2014, 08:41 PM
Those are some mighty tasty mountains - looking good! Something about the layout of some of your foothills forest make the tongues extending into valleys look like they're curving down instead of running up a bit into the crevices. Does that make sense, what I'm seeing?

I don't have much opinion about these city icons, but i have a thought - since the rest of your symbology is all 3-d, how would it look if you used some kind of 3-d location icons? Maybe shaded balls? Maybe color indicating size? The village dots are almost 3-d anyway since they are tiny.

Pixie
02-09-2014, 07:11 AM
I agree with the lot. Those icons seem out of place in a map where individual 3d mountains are depicted. And the mountains look good so there's no dropping that for the sake of keeping the icons ;) - so do the forests. Again, depicted in perspective.

Try shading the "urban" areas, maybe in brown/orangy/reddish..

gspRooster
02-09-2014, 08:06 PM
This is looking like a really pretty map!

- Max -
02-09-2014, 08:17 PM
I'm pretty late on this one but the mountains looks way too aligned to make convincing ranges imo. Also the gap between the trunks and the forests itself is kinda odd.

Caenwyr
02-10-2014, 02:30 AM
Those are some mighty tasty mountains - looking good! Something about the layout of some of your foothills forest make the tongues extending into valleys look like they're curving down instead of running up a bit into the crevices. Does that make sense, what I'm seeing?
Hi JB, You're absolutely right. The forests should curve up instead of down. I corrected that in my current update.


I agree with the lot. Those icons seem out of place in a map where individual 3d mountains are depicted. And the mountains look good so there's no dropping that for the sake of keeping the icons ;) - so do the forests. Again, depicted in perspective.

Try shading the "urban" areas, maybe in brown/orangy/reddish..
That's actually a good idea! I'll do either that, or use a sort of simplified 3D look of a tiny city. You know what I mean: a curved wall, with a tower and a few house roofs peeping up. Or heck, maybe I just keep the icons I have, paint them bordeaux or some other archaic colour and roughen them up a bit so they fit with the style.


I'm pretty late on this one but the mountains looks way too aligned to make convincing ranges imo. Also the gap between the trunks and the forests itself is kinda odd.
Believe it or not, but I actually intended them to look like this. I tried to put some linearity in the mountain ranges in order to make them look more natural. I specifically did this in the northernmost reaches of the central spine. The southern tip of that same ridge sports a more random distribution of the mountains, and while I agree this is probably a nicer look, I'm not sure if it's a better or a worse depiction of a longitudinal range.

Maybe I'll have to redo the northern reaches after all. What do you guys think?

Oh, and here's my most recent update. Not much done, except for the correction of the eastern forest "tongues", and the addition of another hill ridge. I also changed the hill ridge north of that so the hills/small mountains are now closer together and more accurately look like hills instead of thinly spread fullscale mountains. I left the city icons out for now, I'm still thinking of a better representation.

### latest WIP ###

61229

And as always, thanks for your comments, and keep them coming!

Caenwyr
02-11-2014, 02:37 AM
Okay... I hate myself for doing this, but... Max's remark set me thinking. At first I thought he meant the linearity of the northern ridges, but after looking through some of his maps I started realising it wasn't that - I now believe he meant the border of the mountain ranges: not a single mountain jumping forward or backward, just one long line of perfectly aligned peaks. And yes, that's a bit odd indeed. So this morning before leaving for work I started redrawing the mountains from scratch... again.

Yes, I really do hate myself :p.

So here's the first result of my new and hopefully improved mountains. I realize I'll have to redo the coastline with a thinner stroke as well, but that's for when I have some more time.

### latest WIP ###

61274

Do you like these mountains more or less than the previous iteration?

Jalyha
02-11-2014, 10:32 AM
I liked the old ones, actually but... they *are* lined up really evenly, even in the new version. I didn't notice it myself at all until max said something (so blame max) but now it's bugging me.

I don't know if I'm seeing the same thing he saw, or if I'm seeing something else, but I see them... almost in boxes, more than on a line. Like there's an invisible line on the ground, telling the mountains "You shall not pass!" .... and it extends in every direction.

(I do this when I paint, too. It's like you started at the center of the range... deliberately drawing them off center... but your subconscious wouldn't let you cross that line. (Bit of a perfectionist, like me?) It's hard to see/explain it...

It's like... hmm... I wonder if I can show you...


61293

I rarely see that in nature and I almost always do it when sketching my initial drawing... so I started drawing mountains like paint-by-numbers... :P

Of course, then I can't draw maps with that "hand-drawn" look... so I have to find a way past it too >.<

I think.. even if it were only a few mountains, if you could break up that area, or find a way to... idk *anchor* the mountains to the earth somehow??

Idk how you would do that though...

Falconius
02-11-2014, 12:35 PM
Haha, you are enjoying that tablet Jalyha.

These mountains are looking better, really all you have to worry about is arranging them in rows or columns. Some do seem big to me for some reason, maybe because the internal line work wasn't filled in on them yet.

Jalyha
02-11-2014, 03:50 PM
Haha, you are enjoying that tablet Jalyha.

These mountains are looking better, really all you have to worry about is arranging them in rows or columns. Some do seem big to me for some reason, maybe because the internal line work wasn't filled in on them yet.


I REALLY AM. :P

It's so... freeing ^.^


And it might just be the shading not being done on the mountains... or it could be my mind playing tricks... it's really tricky! :o

Caenwyr
02-11-2014, 04:48 PM
Okay, how about this? Don't mind the central ridge, I only adapted the mountains in the west.

61300

Jalyha
02-11-2014, 04:55 PM
It's better :D

I think maybe was just the shading issue? Or did you move them too?

- Max -
02-11-2014, 05:21 PM
I think you should also play a bit with mountains sizes to break the "too linear" feel of the ranges.

Caenwyr
02-12-2014, 03:21 AM
Thanks guys and galls, your help is really appreciated! I must say I hadn't expected this to be such a steep learning curve, but I'm happy I've at least made it through the foothills by now. Learning curve peak, here I come! Well, sometime in the next million years anyway ;).

Below you'll find my next update. The most visible change is the parchment texture of course. It's a blend of several parchment textures I've created over the years - I hope you'll like it. I also added a few more mountains to the central ridge in order to break up the linearity a bit more (I don't think the issue is as strong there as it was in the western mountains), and I think I can reduce the size of some of those mountains by just nipping off a pair of foothills here and there. That's me being lazy, I know, but I really don't have the courage to begin drawing them from scratch again :P.

Another addition I did was a hill ridge linking both mountainous regions (and providing a nice border region between the lands north and south of that ridge, but that's for later). And last but not least, I reintroduced a first handful of rivers. I'm still not sure PS's "find edge" filter is the real deal, it's funny the effect can't be tweaked as in GIMP. I'll leave the river edge for now, but I might decide to do them by hand in the future. If I manage to muster up the courage.

Okay, enough blah blah blah. Here's the update:

### latest WIP ###

61310

(what's the deal with that "latest WIP" tag anyway? I copied it from somewhere and I kinda like it, but I have no idea why people actually do it?)

- Max -
02-12-2014, 04:16 AM
The #Latest Wip# tag is only useful in the Challenges to make sure you latest work will be selected in the thumbnail which is required for the voting polls :)

Caenwyr
02-12-2014, 08:19 AM
The #Latest Wip# tag is only useful in the Challenges to make sure you latest work will be selected in the thumbnail which is required for the voting polls :)

Oh. Right. A bit silly to use it here then. I'll drop it in future updates ;)

Caenwyr
02-14-2014, 08:00 AM
Hi guys (and galls! We always forget the galls!),

Here's another update. Finished the western part of the continent with regards to rivers and mountains, still need to add some more hill ridges. I'm still struggling with city icons, so I'm gonna leave those for the end. What do you think?

61398

Lingon
02-14-2014, 08:26 AM
The reason galls are usually left out is this (assuming Dutch is your language) Google Translate (http://translate.google.com/#en/nl/gall)
I'm so sorry, I had to :P

The map is coming along very nicely! The mountains would be even better with some shadows and highlights :)

Caenwyr
02-14-2014, 08:38 AM
The reason galls are usually left out is this (assuming Dutch is your language) Google Translate (http://translate.google.com/#en/nl/gall)
I'm so sorry, I had to :P
Oh right, I knew there was something funny about that word. Let's just say that to be a gal in this society, you need a lot of gall ;). And by that I mean "brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence", and not the unpleasantly smelling liquid.


The map is coming along very nicely! The mountains would be even better with some shadows and highlights :)
Well I'm planning on adding those some time in the future... But only after all the mountains and such are finished, of course.

Caenwyr
02-14-2014, 10:07 AM
Aaaand a tiny update with a better (read: thinner) coastline, better fitting the rest of the strokes on this map. And that's all for today, guys and.... gals!

61401

Jalyha
02-14-2014, 10:28 AM
Getting really good now!! :)

Ilanthar
02-16-2014, 10:00 AM
I do like where you're going, but the rivers are a bit too sinuous imho.

Caenwyr
02-18-2014, 08:56 AM
Hi all,

First of all, thanks for your continued support. Without you guys I wouldn't have been able to reach even this modest level of cartographical proficiency. What I updated here:

cleaned up the coastline where necessary
added the remaining mountain ranges (the ones to the east)
redid the rivers (I hope they look a little less screamy)
created some now icons for the cities
drew in the roads


Still to be done:

redo the forests (now invisible)
shade the mountains
tons of little tweaks and additions
labeling (I hate labeling. Really. I heartedly hate it. Did I mention I hate labeling?)
other stuff I haven't even thought about.


Below you'll find two images. One with the new mountains and rivers, and another with the cities and roads added to the mix.

61526 61527

Caenwyr
02-19-2014, 05:49 AM
And here's a quick update with a handful of shaded mountains. What do you think? Am I on the right track?

61553

Jalyha
02-19-2014, 09:25 AM
Well, *I* think you are. :)

Looks pretty good to me ^.^

seredemia
02-19-2014, 03:25 PM
OHHHH this looks lovely!! I just love how it still looks like it's round???? Does that make sense?? I love the angle of the map!! Plus, the colours compliment each other so well! Can't wait to see how this turns out :D

Domino44
02-19-2014, 03:48 PM
It looks great to me! I really like the colors!

Lingon
02-19-2014, 04:26 PM
The shading makes it look fantastic! Definitely the right track!

arsheesh
02-20-2014, 02:59 AM
Looking great to me!

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Ilanthar
02-20-2014, 05:37 AM
By Lingon
The shading makes it look fantastic! Definitely the right track!

Couldn't have said it better!

Pixie
02-20-2014, 07:21 PM
Shading the mountains changes it for the better big time, I agree with the majority.

But I've got to admit my first incursion on this map was to see how you represented the high plateau next to the big lake. That's because we discussed that in here and I was curious. The steps and waterfalls seem a very cool idea, but... there's a sort of mismatch.


Zooming in here I can spot a source of mismatch, where one location looks equally level with two different heights. Try this: place your eye on the southern tip lake and follow the image eastwards and south around the ridge to the waterfalls. Then, go back to the lake tip and follow the valley, straight southward to the waterfalls base.
61624

Do you see it? I hope it isn't just me... ;)

I suggest you block the southern tip of the lake from view with a mountain or a couple of hills. If it doesn't sort it, maybe find a way of showing that valley as a steep way down. Anyway, better artists than me might have better tricks.

SumnerH
02-20-2014, 08:44 PM
Is the big lake on a plateau between all those mountains? From the way the rivers flow out of it, it seems to be. But that's not clear from the way the map is drawn; I'm not sure if additional shading could make that clearer or if you want to line in a plateau form somehow.

Lingon
02-21-2014, 03:26 AM
@Pixie and SumnerH: To me it looks like there's a slope from the lake up to the plateau.

Caenwyr
02-21-2014, 04:25 AM
@Pixie and SumnerH: To me it looks like there's a slope from the lake up to the plateau.
You're right, Lingon. Maybe I should add some stripes to indicate the more gentle slopes. Basically the idea is the following: the many small lakes are on the highest part of the plateau, the big lake forms the lowest part. In ages long gone the lake used to be far bigger, and drain to the south. But then tectonic activity created a rupture in the western mountains, which caused the large lake to shrink to its current size and abandon its former drainage canal.

That's basically the idea of that rather peculiar zone. I'm thinking of adding another cliff line to indicate the altitude of the small-lake-plateau. I just hope it won't make my map look too busy.

I'm still working on the shading of the rest of the mountains, if all goes well I'll upload an update later today.

Caenwyr
02-21-2014, 08:43 AM
Hi guys, so here's the update as promised. You'll notice I shaded and highlighted every mountain on my map, and I also did some changes to the river mouths (those were a bit messy in previous updates). I haven't found a good way to work out the plateau idea yet, however.

61634


Below you'll find two more pictures of my map, this time with the roads and city icons on 'em again. I'm still wondering which of the two versions suits the map best, especially now I'm going all 3D and stuff ;) . Should I go for the simple dots? The simplified drawings? Or should I consider drawing micro city icons in 3D and a splash of colour?

61635 61636

Ilanthar
02-21-2014, 11:04 AM
For cities, I tend to prefer the classic dots for a map of this scale.

Caenwyr
02-21-2014, 11:57 AM
For cities, I tend to prefer the classic dots for a map of this scale.
Actually, so do I. I don't think I break too much with the style of the map now it's getting coloured anyway. Nevertheless I did a quick (and probably dirty) test of yet another type of icon. Just a short update of two more options:

61643 61644

Another set of handdrawn icons (left), and some rather newish looking white icons with a black dropshadow and edge (right). I'd do my text labels in the same way in that case: white text, slim black edge, black dropshadow. What do you think?

Ilanthar
02-21-2014, 12:08 PM
With these new test, I change my mind and vote for the handdrawn icons on the left ;)
The other one is too "white" and the dropped shadow feels like too modern and clashes with the rest of the map imho.

seredemia
02-21-2014, 12:09 PM
I'm actually really conflicted with what icons I like the best... I like the classic red dots since they fit this map really well... But I also like the red drawn icons as I like to see the little town or city drawings... Although, I'm not a fan of the white drop shadow ones since I don't think the colour white stands out as much as red does.

Pixie
02-21-2014, 03:41 PM
Handdrawn black icons, for sure. I'm just not sure if they wouldn't look more natural if the line their drawn with is as fine as the line drawing the mountains. Since that is already pretty thin, it would seem like it's the artist's finest feather. The slight blur looks off, but that's just me.

Overall, coming really awesome, you're holding a winner ticket with this one. ;)

Side note: do you need this many towns, evenly spread? Try taking a few or adding more in specific areas..

flocko
02-21-2014, 04:01 PM
I'm in favor of either of the red icons. Though I think the differences between the dots are more easily recognized. The hand drawn black icons don't have the same sharpness as the other black lines in the map and that ruins them for me.

The distribution of the towns seems a little too even to me as well. I'd expect more towns in proximity to major cites, natural resources or along important roads/trade routes between either of the former.

flocko
02-21-2014, 04:06 PM
Forget what I said about the towns. I hadn't seen your reference map. With the other rivers in place and the different road types it makes more sense to me now.

arsheesh
02-21-2014, 08:39 PM
So I too am for the hand-drawn icons, only the one's you are currently using are a bit blurry. Overall this map is coming along really nicely though.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Cyx
02-22-2014, 05:53 AM
I still kind of like the dots... maybe it's just me but I feel like the map has enough going on already, you don't really need the extra noise from the same little diagram repeated that many times. Not that they're not cute little towns... but there ARE a lot of them.

I'm really glad you're not going with the white dots though (or at least you don't seem to be), the drop shadow seemed totally out of place =)

The map on the whole looks totally beautiful though! I stole a lot of inspiration from your mountain designs and drawing style ^^

Caenwyr
02-23-2014, 05:41 AM
Wow, thanks for the massive response, people! Unfortunately you guys seem as undecided as I am ;-). The only thing we're all agreeing on is: the white icons are a real no-no. Which means I'll probably go for the red dot icons instead, and matching red text. Cool, glad that's decided then! Off to new adventures: labeling!!

Llannagh
02-23-2014, 06:39 AM
Well, I might be too late since you kind of decided to go for the red dots, but I definitely vote for the handdrawn little towns. To my mind they match the perspective of the mountains much better and would be consistent that way.

But the red dots are okay, too, if you wanna go with them.

I do like the whole paper-ish style of the map.

Lingon
02-23-2014, 12:27 PM
Either of the red icons, I'd say. The red pops nicely, makes them easy to spot. I like the idea of red text, but I'd suggest a darker red than the icons. Red tends to make text harder to read, for some reason (unless that's just me).

Caenwyr
03-03-2014, 03:15 AM
This has taken me longer than expected, but here I am with another update.

What has changed? Well quite a bit actually! Here goes:

after long consideration, I decided to go for the red circle icons. I can still switch afterwards, but I don't think I will;
I added in all the city names (Labeling is a bitch!) and gave them the same reddish hue, albeit slightly darker;
I added a first preliminary frame - I wasn't very happy with the amount of information I lost on the eastern rim of my map, so I did something rather peculiar with the frame. I'm not sure I'm gonna keep that though;
Something that really, REALLY took a long time was the borders. I decided to go for a coloured border with a fade-out effect, but I might still have to tweak that where the border overlaps with a mountain range;
I also added the roads (I just noticed I forgot to erase them where they go behind a mountain);
I added the forests as well (at least the western part. Still have to do them in the east, however). At first I wanted to go for fluffy, cloud-like forests, but I started tinkering with it and came up with this. I'm sure this will be a hate-it-or-love-it thing. Be sure to let me know what you think!
And lastly, I also drew in the names of the different principalities. I gave them the same colour as their borders and added an emboss effect, but that might be a bit over the top for a map that aspires to look like it was handdrawn...




Enough with the twaddle, here's what it's all about:

61967


Oh I know, there's tons and tons of information I'm trying to pour into this map, and I'm not sure that will map it any prettier. If you guys know of any way to present all this information (and more to come!) in a more aesthetic way, be sure to let me know!

arsheesh
03-03-2014, 04:23 AM
Looking fabulous!

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Llannagh
03-03-2014, 05:15 AM
I really like the red circle icons with the slightly darker font! That matches really well and still looks pretty clear. The forests are also very good, imo. Cloudy forests wouldn't probably fit as well as these. Good job on the scattering of the trees, my main worry with a forest style like that is always that it doesn't look random/natural enough.

You're right about the borders, though. The way they fade into the mountain ranges doesn't really work for me. Maybe a clear, handdrawn line would be better.

But apart from that, great map overall! Have some rep.

Ilanthar
03-03-2014, 05:35 AM
A lot of work indeed! I like a lot your mountains and forests, and the cities are working very well (both circles and labels). As Llannagh, the borders are disturbing around the mountains. It's original but just feels "weird" and unnatural. The other nitpick I have to say is about the principalties labels : they look too much modern too me, but I think it's only due to the font you chose.

Freodin
03-03-2014, 07:10 AM
Personally, I like the way you did the borders in the mountains. It might look a little chaotic at first, but I'd say it transports the notion of "border" well enough.

With the country labels I have to agree with Ilanthar though: the font is too modern, and the bevel does not really work.

Lingon
03-03-2014, 07:31 AM
I really like the borders on the mountains. Makes sense that they follow the ridges like that, plus, it looks amazing. So, I vote for keeping them!

Actually, I like all the new additions, except the effect on the principality names. It could be hand-painted like that, if you had the patience, but it still comes across as too digital imo. The rest – awesome. Especially the borders on the mountains :P

Azelor
03-03-2014, 11:04 AM
I like how you managed to do the political borders. They are subtle and also original.

The only bad thing I have to say about your map is that some mountains fade into the water.

Caenwyr
03-04-2014, 03:25 AM
Thanks for your critique people, this is helping me a lot! There was only one remark I didn't really understand:

The only bad thing I have to say about your map is that some mountains fade into the water.
Do you mean the mountains at the northwestern edge of the inland sea, Azelor? The idea was for those mountains to look as though they were rising up from the water, with almost no flatland between the mountains and the sea. A bit like the Norwegian fjords, for example. If you know of a better way to represent that, I'm all ears!

In the meantime I'd like to present a fairly small update of my map. Changes since the last version:

removed the colour of principality labels (haven't changed the typeface since I kinda like it, even though it does indeed look less "old" than the Monotype Corsiva I used for the city names), and did away with the bevel;
Added a slight coloration to each of the principalities, so the borders look less jarring and the territories are visually linked together. Is this effect better or worse than the previous one?
Drew in the rest of the forests. Turns out Carthorn is the woodstock of the eastern kingdom (Araniell). I might have to cut back on the forest a bit in Barann and Cilydd, since those two principalities (and especially the latter) are considered to be the granary of Aran;
did some minor corrections to the roads.


61995

Up next:

Kingdom labels (only two, so that should be easy... though I'll probably have to move around quite a few city and principality labels so they don't overlap);
mountain labels (I hate those. Anything that overlaps my mountains, actually. I put so much work in them, I want them to be shown in full glory!);
sea labels;
maybe a sketch of the most important sea routes (if that doesn't mess up the balance of the map);
a compass rose;
maybe some rhumb lines thrown in for good measure;
a scale (finally!!);
a legend (with a list of notable locations from the accompanying novel);
a list of shields of the 11 principalities and the two kingdoms (that in particular will take a LOT of work);
A more ornamental frame;
etc etc etc...

Lingon
03-04-2014, 03:33 AM
Aaand the borders look even better. Adding that coloration was a great call. And the new style for the principality labels is a big improvement too.

Ilanthar
03-04-2014, 05:16 AM
I fully agree with Lingon, now the borders are fine to me. Same for the principalty labels (even if they do look more modern).
It's becoming a great map!

Freodin
03-04-2014, 07:47 AM
I would like to see an alternative version for the principality labels... though dropping the bevel and the colouration has helped a lot, I still think the font does not fit the rest of the map's style.

Klaus van der Kroft
03-04-2014, 07:58 AM
I love it! Truly fantastic work!

Azelor
03-04-2014, 11:04 AM
Thanks for your critique people, this is helping me a lot! There was only one remark I didn't really understand:

Do you mean the mountains at the northwestern edge of the inland sea, Azelor? The idea was for those mountains to look as though they were rising up from the water, with almost no flatland between the mountains and the sea. A bit like the Norwegian fjords, for example. If you know of a better way to represent that, I'm all ears!




Sadly, no :( Well, it's not that bad anyway.

Raptori
03-04-2014, 02:45 PM
Re: mountains rising straight up from the sea, I think the reason that message isn't coming across now is that the mountains don't relate to the coast in any way other than just being right next to them. The way to do it would be to line up the curves of the coast with the slopes of the mountains, with some of the coast disappearing behind the mountains maybe to make them really integrate with each other.

Caenwyr
03-05-2014, 03:35 AM
Re: mountains rising straight up from the sea, I think the reason that message isn't coming across now is that the mountains don't relate to the coast in any way other than just being right next to them. The way to do it would be to line up the curves of the coast with the slopes of the mountains, with some of the coast disappearing behind the mountains maybe to make them really integrate with each other.
Thanks for that tip, Raptori, I'll keep it in mind for another map. As it is now, I'm not gonna go back and redraw that section, I finished the mountains weeks ago, and am now going full steam for the finishing touches.

A small update:


Kingdom labels: DONE;
A more ornamental frame: DONE;
rhumb lines: DONE;


Still to be done:

scale, compass rose, sea and mountain labels are in the works.
sea routes (if that doesn't mess up the balance of the map);
legend (with a list of notable locations from the accompanying novel);
list of shields;


I'm not particularly fond of the kingdom labels, so I'm thinking of removing them again, and just mentioning them in the legend. After all there's more than enough room for that now.

62038

(yay, the 100th post in this thread!)

Micah Doulos
03-05-2014, 05:08 PM
I don't think the kingdom labels look bad. They're not distracting at all to me. Interested to see how the left panel shapes up. Looking good. :D

Caenwyr
03-07-2014, 11:22 AM
Hi all, a fairly small update, with lots of dummy data for the moment. Added a scale, a compass rose, an overview inset featuring the surrounding countries and a list of shields. The shields on the left will be redrawn to better fit the style of the map, but this is basically the layout I'm going for. I intend to add some information for every principality (ruling house, capital, etc), but that's for later.
62106

What do you think?

Micah Doulos
03-07-2014, 11:26 AM
I like the mini map!

I don't know if it's my browser or your upload. But the picture is too small to read the text on the left and look at the shield in detail. I like what I can see though!

Caenwyr
03-07-2014, 11:50 AM
Ow, you're right, hadn't seen that. Stupid tapatalk upload limit. The text on the left is a dummy version for the moment, by the way (just keeping you from being disappointed :P). Here goes another attempt, this time using the browser.

62108

Domino44
03-07-2014, 11:56 AM
I love the color borders on this map! It's much easier to see the text now. I'm not sure why but I don't feel like the heraldry fist with the rest of the map. Your map seems aged but the coat of arms seem new? does that make sense?

- Max -
03-07-2014, 12:05 PM
I agree with Domino. The bright colors of the heraldry don't match the faded colors of the map. I would also smooth the coastlines, the rivers and the cities labels to match the mountains/forests line work, and center the heraldry in the cartouche for the sake of aesthetic. Overall a nice work!

Caenwyr
03-07-2014, 12:13 PM
You're right of course, I intend to eventually redraw them to better fit the rest of the map. This was just a quick drag 'n' drop of some images I already had floating around, it's all very preliminary. Just posting my last update before our ski trip ;).

Azelor
03-07-2014, 12:23 PM
De-saturating the colors and adding a grunge texture to the heraldry would make them look much better IMO.

Ilanthar
03-08-2014, 07:39 AM
I fully agree with Azelor about heraldry. And, yep, the mini map is a great idea!

Pixie
03-08-2014, 02:46 PM
Yep, the mini-map is awesome and completely changes the perception of the land... for better. Don't drop it.

flocko
03-09-2014, 08:09 AM
Good stuff! I just wanted to say I appreciate the way the borders color the sides of the mountain ranges.

Caenwyr
03-18-2014, 10:35 AM
Hi all!

I'm back from a short holiday trip, alive, kicking and what's more important: with another update of the map. I managed to do the following:


write and insert the necessary text bits (demography, history, ...);
add another minimap (upper right corner), showing the distribution of the clans and alliances;
redraw the shields so they better fit the style of the map. Yes, the somewhat shaky lines are on purpose!
tons of tiny tweaks and corrections.


Still to be added:

list of important places in my novel;
sea, ocean and lake names (the latter probably with a lookup list);
mountain names (hate it hate it hate it).



62424

I don't know about you guys, but I kinda feel this map is nearing completion. That would be my first actually finished map! Yee-haw! Of course, this all depends on your comments, so please fire away.

Carbus
03-18-2014, 10:59 AM
Hey ther Caenwyr! Great map, very complete with the mini maps, regions, shield and etc! I specially love the landmass, the isles and everything are all well draw. Since I`m a graphic designer I`ll give some layout tips for this maps, something that you can apply for your next maps!

1. The space between the shields, texts and the borders is too narrow, this creates a claustrophobic feel to the text! Make the space between the text and borders wider in order to get a nicer feel to the map!
2. I think its mentioned before that some elements of the map seems blury, like you raised their size inside the software you using. It detracts a bit from the overall nice feeling of the map.
3. The color of the stroke of the rivers are different from the coasts and lakes! IMHO the color of the rivers are more natural than the black stroke of the coast and lakes.
4. I see that you are using the same font for almost everything! For labelling this font works well, but when used on great blocks of text it gets repetitive! Consider changing the font from the left box (with the shields and text), one that is more pleasant to read!
5. I might be wrong, but I think you resized the texture to fit the whole map, right? That makes the texture blurry, try to get a different texture, or depending on the software you use, replicate the textures so that they are not stretched!

Sorry If I said too much! I think the map is awesome, it justs needs some tweeks to be perfect!

Caenwyr
03-19-2014, 05:55 AM
Thanks for your comments, Carbus! They helped me along quite a bit! I tackled points 1 and 3 (see map below). With regards to your other points:


2. I think its mentioned before that some elements of the map seems blury, like you raised their size inside the software you using. It detracts a bit from the overall nice feeling of the map.Strange that you'd say that. While some elements are indeed blurry on purpose (faded borders etc), I can't think of any other elements that come across as blurry to me. Could you give some examples?



4. I see that you are using the same font for almost everything! For labelling this font works well, but when used on great blocks of text it gets repetitive! Consider changing the font from the left box (with the shields and text), one that is more pleasant to read!Another font? I thought the two I use are already driving people crazy ;). Any suggestions which one I could use? I want to keep it oldschool, like a nice serif etc.



5. I might be wrong, but I think you resized the texture to fit the whole map, right? That makes the texture blurry, try to get a different texture, or depending on the software you use, replicate the textures so that they are not stretched!Well, no, they're not stretched at all actually! When I decided to add the left sidebar (or whatever it's called), I carefully copied a part of the texture I already had, exactly so I wouldn't have to size it up. Funny the effect is ultimately the same, I could have spared the trouble ;).

All in all, thanks for your feedback, Carbus!








Below is a fairly small update, where I addressed Carbus' points 1 (by downsizing the shields) and 3 (changed the color of the coastline stroke) and also added a list of notable locations (fairly small now, will grow as I reread the novel) and the names of the seas with their English translations. Still to do: mountain and river labels.

62451

- Max -
03-19-2014, 07:50 AM
I agree with Carbus that the background texture looks a bit poor quality and cheesy.

Caenwyr
03-19-2014, 10:01 AM
Okay, so here's the map with another parchment texture, which I shamelessly stole from Schwartzkreuz's Wretched Realms (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/20369-%5Bwip%5D-wretched-realms-0-51-a-5.html)map (don't worry, it's free for use). I'm not very fond of using stuff that I didn't create myself, but hey, I didn't make the fonts either, did I? However, if I have some spare time, I might decide to redo the parchment texture, 'cause I'm a purist. Oh well, maybe when I have truckloads of time. You know how it goes.

62454

So tell me: is this a bit better? ;)

Carbus
03-19-2014, 02:34 PM
Glad I could help with something!
Now answering you back.
2. I think the roads are the ones that need rework, the way they are now doen'st quite match the quality of the map, they are blurry and sometimes even squared!
4. You have to search for some yourself, I would go with a sans serif, but since its my taste, follow your hearth! :D I would go with a Dominion, Caslon, etc.
5. I think the texture are better now, don't worry about "stealing", when I began mapping I had the same concern as you, trying to do everything by myself. Altough it's rewarding, sometimes a nice free vector, texture, font and stuff can turn an apparently boring map into something real nice! The thing is to work with the tools and what you got and can get!

This week I read a great quote from a map the resumes everything about art.
"Originality is undetected plagiarism." - William Ralph Inge

Keep up the good work!

Lingon
03-19-2014, 05:25 PM
yeah, that parchment is better :) It makes the whole map feel more… mature… or something. The heraldry is really good too!
But I have to ask, where did that cool homebrew script go? I didn't have time to comment when I saw it, and now I can't find it… Did you remove it or did I dream? ;)

Caenwyr
03-20-2014, 01:22 AM
Homebrew Script? Here? Are you sure you... Naah, I'm kidding ;). I did I deed remove it. After I finished that post I thought I shouldn't distract my loyal commenters with things that won't make it to the final version of this map anyway... but secretly (shh, don't tell!) I'm still working on it, so I just might post an on that update in the future. Mysterious, right? :D

Caenwyr
03-20-2014, 04:28 AM
OK guys, how about these roads? Did them way finer than previously, and without the blur.

62480

Carbus
03-20-2014, 09:32 AM
MUCH better now!

Caenwyr
03-20-2014, 09:34 AM
I live to serve ;)

Caenwyr
03-21-2014, 09:23 AM
Ok guys, I think this is it. I think I actually finished this map! Last chance for you stern critics out there (I need you, so please don't hold back!), if I don't receive any remarks anymore, I'll be publishing this in the Finished section tomorrow. thanks for all your help and comments!

My (hopefully) final version:

62510

And since I don't like leaving anyone out in the cold, here's the Homebrew Script Version, especially for Lingon:

62511

Raptori
03-21-2014, 09:26 AM
Is it supposed to say "Comprehenfive" instead of "Comprehensive" and "Hiftory" instead of "History"? Is it just the font's s? :)

Looking great though! I wish the second one had all the text replaced with the script, that would look amazing :D

Caenwyr
03-21-2014, 09:34 AM
Is it supposed to say "Comprehenfive" instead of "Comprehensive" and "Hiftory" instead of "History"? Is it just the font's s? :)

Looking great though! I wish the second one had all the text replaced with the script, that would look amazing :D Lol, that's not an f, is an ſ! see, the horizontal bar is missing! Back in the days people used that almost-f for an s, except at the end of a word. Look at Milton's original manuscript of Paradise Loſt (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Milton_paradise.jpg), for example! They did away with it when confusion with the actual F started to weigh on the world, but I think it's a nice historic touch. I'm sure there will be lovers and haters (I'm not even sure where I stand, but I'm gonna leave it the way it is now. Why? See below!).

Regarding your "entire map in the script" idea: I wish I had the time for that, but I'm afraid my gf is busting my *** already. I either finish it now, or never :P. Guess what I chose :p

TheHoarseWhisperer
03-21-2014, 10:00 AM
I like your use of the ſ, although I have two criticisms to offer: first, I think you perhaps overuse it, and second, it looks a bit odd as the only historic text feature. You could include a few other common things such as city > citye, a few more capital letters and spelling 'mistakes' (eg. This Age endds with the First War, when Mortals did grasp for Power and the Angry Gods destroiyed the Citye Ictarion and left the physical World).

This is the first time I've seen your map, and I haven't read the 13 pages up to this point, so the only other thing I'll point out is: the populations you give for each nation or duchy or whatever seem a bit too large. Is there a reason so many people live in this region? Do you explain it in-world somewhere? Because if not (and I am assuming a preindustrial level of technology) you have some improbably massive populations.

Those things aside, nice work.

THW

Raptori
03-21-2014, 10:08 AM
Lol, that's not an f, is an ſ! see, the horizontal bar is missing! Back in the days people used that almost-f for an s, except at the end of a word. Look at Milton's original manuscript of Paradise Loſt (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Milton_paradise.jpg), for example! They did away with it when confusion with the actual F started to weigh on the world, but I think it's a nice historic touch. I'm sure there will be lovers and haters (I'm not even sure where I stand, but I'm gonna leave it the way it is now. Why? See below!).

Lol I suspected it was something like that, just wanted to make sure! I read through the text and each time it was used I heard it as an f, so it wasn't ideal for reading. I'm one of those people who "see" the spelling of a word when it's spoken, and also "hear" the sound of a word when it's written - those combined with the ſ strangely... for example I can't stop reading that title as "Paradise Loft" - internal autocorrect on the "paradife" which passes "loft" as correct :D

However I don't think that's an issue for a map, so even if you had the time I'd be on the "keep them" side :P


Regarding your "entire map in the script" idea: I wish I had the time for that, but I'm afraid my gf is busting my *** already. I either finish it now, or never :P. Guess what I chose :p

Haha fair enough! The script looks really nice, do you have a whole language (i.e. including grammar and punctuation and stuff for the back story) or just a working script for place names? It really would look awesome, maybe you could try it on another map some time :D

Ilanthar
03-21-2014, 10:17 AM
The map looks good to me! And I have my own preference for the old ∫ replacing the "s".

Caenwyr
03-21-2014, 10:22 AM
The populations are based on an average between 30 and 120 inhabitants per square mile (depending on the terrain and remoteness of the location). This is all temperate climate (well, up north is kinda Scandinavian, and down south tends to be more mediterraneanish, but it's roughly European, so no deserts or tropical forests taking up space), so I guess Ilan, a country larger than the Democratic Republic of the Congo, isn't horribly overcrowded with "just" 55 million inhabitants. And Araniell is about as big as Pakistan and India together - maybe for a country that size 91 million inhabitants isn't overly big? I don't know, I used the number 30-120, but that might well be a bit over the top.

Lingon
03-21-2014, 04:42 PM
Yay, homebrew script! Seriously, it's looking really really good. Like Raptori, I'd love to see a version with all the text in that language, but… yeah :) The new font choices are great, fits the new parchment better imo. But now, the main font for the labels looks too modern in comparison. It's Monotype Corsiva, isn't it? Personally, I'd replace it with something that looks more handwritten and old.

- Max -
03-21-2014, 08:30 PM
I'm a bit late on this but I have to disagree with Carbus abou thte fonts. Working as a graphic designer aswell, I think the way you differentiate things between the map labels and the text cartouche is obviously the color. For me that's all good and break monotony while keeping consistency. This said, since you used Chapbook on the cartouche, I would use it to label your cities and towns on the map aswell

I also agree with THW about the use of the ſ. you might want at least to work on typography details like mispellings or such to make it consistent (though I personnaly think that the ſ isn't really necessary since the map doesn't look that "old" right now)

Otherwise, nice job overall! :)

Caenwyr
03-21-2014, 11:03 PM
The script looks really nice, do you have a whole language (i.e. including grammar and punctuation and stuff for the back story) or just a working script for place names? It really would look awesome, maybe you could try it on another map some time :D
Absolutely, I do have a language to accompany the script. It's still in development (and has been for the past few years) but I have a rudimentary grammar (a few dozens of pages) and a vocabulary almost 1500 words strong. I don't know any of it by heart though, so every sentence means a wild search through my grammar and vocabulary files, and probably a last minute stroke of creativity when I discover the word or expression I'm looking for isn't in the list yet. I might give the cartouche piece a go, however, it's not horribly long.


Yay, homebrew script! Seriously, it's looking really really good. Like Raptori, I'd love to see a version with all the text in that language, butů yeah :) The new font choices are great, fits the new parchment better imo. But now, the main font for the labels looks too modern in comparison. It's Monotype Corsiva, isn't it? Personally, I'd replace it with something that looks more handwritten and old.Yeah, I might have to change it to the cartouche font. I hope I still have the text layers for the city labels somewhere, for some reason I rasterized them during one of my cleanup routines. Dumb!


I also agree with THW about the use of the ſ. you might want at least to work on typography details like mispellings or such to make it consistent (though I personnaly think that the ſ isn't really necessary since the map doesn't look that "old" right now)
I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with it yet. I like the idea of adding misspellings and such, but I'm afraid my knowledge of English isn't good enough to know which mistakes actually look historic and which ones look plain silly. So maybe it's safer to do away with the ſ altogether. You know what, I'll sleep on it ;). (In the morning I'll probably be lazy and go for a brutal "find and replace", but you just never know what strange things I might come up with during the night!)

Caenwyr
03-22-2014, 09:18 AM
Hi all,

Here's my hopefully final update of the map. A few changes:

changed the font of the city names to the one I used for the cartouche (Chapbook)
added mountain names (forgot that in the last update... There's probably still tons of things I've forgotten, but you gotta stop somewhere!).


I decided not to go into the long s thingy, nor work on the Homebrew Script Version for the time being: time is precious!

and here it is then!
62530

- Max -
03-22-2014, 10:18 AM
I'd sugggest to expand the mountains labels on ranges with kerning.

Lingon
03-23-2014, 04:07 AM
Great! That looks much better than the Corsiva :) I second -Max- about the mountain labels.

Caenwyr
03-23-2014, 05:42 AM
Great! That looks much better than the Corsiva :) I second -Max- about the mountain labels.
Hi Max, Lingon! Thanks for your kerning suggestion. I must admit I already tried that, and found out I'm not particularly fond of the effect. I feel with kerning the words are a bit too stretched, rendering them less than readable. Especially on the longer mountain ranges. Admittedly, I got away with it in the seas, since there's no other lines and colors beneath the text, but over the mountains I personally feel the kerning renders the text less clear, and less aesthetically pleasing as well. You'll find an example below. I personally think the non-kerned version looks better, but I'm open for other opinions. Maybe I shouldn't try and stretch the labels over the entire range, but limit it to a certain maximum interspacing. What do you guys think?


non-kerned
62547


kerned
62548

Lingon
03-23-2014, 07:05 AM
You have a point, it is less legible. Personally, I think it's so much more aesthetically pleasing that it makes up for the loss of readability, but it's just a matter of personal preference :)

- Max -
03-23-2014, 07:14 AM
I'd vote for the kerned one of course.

TheHoarseWhisperer
03-23-2014, 07:32 AM
I'm with Max and Lingon on this. It does look better, despite a slight decrease in legibility. THW

Raptori
03-23-2014, 09:20 AM
Definitely kerned for me. I'd probably prefer one with consistent kerning on all of them, rather than stretched to fit the entire range in each case. Looks good now regardless :)

Caenwyr
03-23-2014, 11:19 AM
Definitely kerned for me. I'd probably prefer one with consistent kerning on all of them, rather than stretched to fit the entire range in each case. Looks good now regardless :)

I feel the same way. I must admit that on the shorter ranges the labels look better kerned, but imho they're really too stretched on the longest ranges. I'll toy with it a little and try to find a good balance between the two ;)

kirkspencer
03-23-2014, 12:15 PM
I think it's gorgeous, and I aspire to someday being half as good. The only thing that jars me (and even that only a little) about the labels is the double-curve some of them take.

Given the irregularity of the curves I think the mix of kerned and unkerned is good - a continuance of a secondary theme, using whichever is better for that particular label.

Caenwyr
03-24-2014, 09:26 AM
Hi all,

Below is another update of the map. Most of the changes I made will be invisible (I did a major layer clean-up, leaving me with "only" 497 layers, yee-haw!), but I also played a bit with the kerning of the mountain labels, and threw around the city labels to minimize overlap with roads, rivers etc etc etc.

I'm also thinking of lowering my populations a bit, since like TheHoarseWhisperer pointed out they are somewhat on the high side. Not horribly, but still. The region we're talking about here has about the same population density (62 inhabitants per square mile) as the state of Mississippi (or for my fellow Europeans, somewhere between the population densities of Wales and Luxembourg), and is not much smaller than Australia (which has a population density of only 8 inh/sqmi). Maybe 62 per square mile is a bit much for such a large pre-industrial region. What do you think?

62575

Raptori
03-24-2014, 10:32 AM
Re: population density, I saw this link (http://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/demographics/) posted somewhere (I think on here, no clue where though), which could be useful. A density of 60 per square mile is classed as average according to that, so from that perspective you're sorted. However, it'd be worth double checking that the population isn't too urbanised (unless there's a reason for it) - I have no clue whether it is or not, just starting to look into this myself :)

Caenwyr
03-24-2014, 11:23 AM
Re: population density, I saw this link (http://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/demographics/) posted somewhere (I think on here, no clue where though), which could be useful. A density of 60 per square mile is classed as average according to that, so from that perspective you're sorted. However, it'd be worth double checking that the population isn't too urbanised (unless there's a reason for it) - I have no clue whether it is or not, just starting to look into this myself :)
Hey that's cool, when calculating my populations, I used the source website (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/blueroom/demog.htm) yours seems to be based upon! I've been looking up European demographics as well, and those turn out to be very heterogenous. England for example had a population density almost double mine during the Medieval Warm Period (about 120/sqmi), only for it to come crashing down to less than 40/sqmi during the Little Ice Age. Turns out climatology has a LOT to do with it. Be sure to check out this website (http://faculty.history.wisc.edu/sommerville/123/123%2013%20society.htm) if you want to know more, it's a fun read.

kirkspencer
03-24-2014, 11:36 AM
re population density, there are two general opinions among historians of population size in pre-plague (1300-1350) England. Depending on which group you listen to, England had a pre-plague peak population of 3.5-4 or 6-7 million people. England has in the vicinity of 50,000 square miles. This gives us 70 to 140 people per square mile.

That said, post-plague recovery brought the population of England/Wales to 2-2.5 million people (40-50 pop per square mile), at which it pretty much remained stable till around 1520.

Depending on whether you follow Russell or De Vries the population of Europe may or may not have done the same, though at different densities. It's important to remember these numbers are from England. It's a land in the mid- to high- latitudes (though it gets the 'warm' gulf stream as buffer) with a moderate to short growing season but good precipitation. Population density in Sweden was smaller. In Tuscany it was higher.

Bottom line: 60 pop/mi^2 is defensible. Land quality, climate, war, and (because magic) can always be used to shift things up or down.

Raptori
03-24-2014, 01:03 PM
Hey that's cool, when calculating my populations, I used the source website (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/blueroom/demog.htm) yours seems to be based upon! I've been looking up European demographics as well, and those turn out to be very heterogenous. England for example had a population density almost double mine during the Medieval Warm Period (about 120/sqmi), only for it to come crashing down to less than 40/sqmi during the Little Ice Age. Turns out climatology has a LOT to do with it. Be sure to check out this website (http://faculty.history.wisc.edu/sommerville/123/123%2013%20society.htm) if you want to know more, it's a fun read.

Haha nice, I had read the source one too, but found the calculator particularly useful! Thanks for the second link, looks like it'll be interesting :)

Caenwyr
03-24-2014, 01:36 PM
Bottom line: 60 pop/mi^2 is defensible. Land quality, climate, war, and (because magic) can always be used to shift things up or down.

unfortunately I'm not a big fan of the "because magic" logic, so I better keep this realistic ;). Therefore I might have to screw down the populations of Conwr and Gaendyr a notch: they've been in and out of war continuously over the last two centuries, so that must have had its impact. The western principalities should generally have a slightly lower density as well, mainly Sarand, Conwr and Cell, due to ethnic conflicts and a dirty little civil war not too long ago. Which means I'm probably gonna end up with the following numbers:

Gaendyr: 7,5M (down from 13M)
Conwr: 6M (down from 12M)
Sarand: 8M (down from 9,5M)
Cell: no changes (low enough already)


If I don't get any other remarks anymore, I'll adapt that, and post the result immediately in the finished section. If you guys do have some remarks, don't hold them in! I'm here to learn, and I can use all the help there is ;).

Raptori
03-24-2014, 02:06 PM
Those numbers sound good to me :)


unfortunately I'm not a big fan of the "because magic" logic

+1 - putting stuff in that doesn't make sense breaks suspension of disbelief, even if you "explain" it as magic.

That's not to say magic shouldn't affect the world - it should. If you have powerful magic which, say, increases the the temperature of any area in which it's used, then I'd have no problems with it - as long as the logical effects on civilisation are dealt with. Increased magic use would result in desertification in habitable climates, and turn arctic areas slowly into very habitable zones. Civilisation could slowly move northwards over time, then (once they reach the highest latitudes) migrate to the revitalised south lands and start moving northwards again, depending on the recovery period. You just need a consistent mechanic for it that affects your world on every level. When it's a case of "I wanted my world to be this way, but it doesn't make sense, so magic", it doesn't work for me.

kirkspencer
03-24-2014, 04:01 PM
+1 - putting stuff in that doesn't make sense breaks suspension of disbelief, even if you "explain" it as magic.

That's not to say magic shouldn't affect the world - it should. If you have powerful magic which, say, increases the the temperature of any area in which it's used, then I'd have no problems with it - as long as the logical effects on civilisation are dealt with. Increased magic use would result in desertification in habitable climates, and turn arctic areas slowly into very habitable zones. Civilisation could slowly move northwards over time, then (once they reach the highest latitudes) migrate to the revitalised south lands and start moving northwards again, depending on the recovery period. You just need a consistent mechanic for it that affects your world on every level. When it's a case of "I wanted my world to be this way, but it doesn't make sense, so magic", it doesn't work for me.

fwiw I prefer not using 'because magic' for most basic stuff. I include the line because, well the thing is that if you presume magic exists for your world it will have an impact. It's a corollary of magic and sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable. You gave a couple of cases. Less world-changing, farmers would kill for someone who could predict the weather for the next few days, and if they can bring or stop the rains? And so on and so forth. But I digress.

Bottom line I have no personal problem in fantasy worlds of whatever the designer wants. If he's going for 'realistic' then it depends on a lot of elements of which magic is neither most nor least significant. And even there, the 'experts' disagree what the maximum should be. (70 or 140 at England's peak pre-plague?)

Raptori
03-24-2014, 04:12 PM
fwiw I prefer not using 'because magic' for most basic stuff. I include the line because, well the thing is that if you presume magic exists for your world it will have an impact. It's a corollary of magic and sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable. You gave a couple of cases. Less world-changing, farmers would kill for someone who could predict the weather for the next few days, and if they can bring or stop the rains? And so on and so forth. But I digress.

Bottom line I have no personal problem in fantasy worlds of whatever the designer wants. If he's going for 'realistic' then it depends on a lot of elements of which magic is neither most nor least significant. And even there, the 'experts' disagree what the maximum should be. (70 or 140 at England's peak pre-plague?)


Oh yeah, I didn't get the impression you thought it was the best option (or even necessarily a good one) - you did put it in brackets after some more "natural" possibilities after all! :D

Powerful magic would definitely have some effect on the world, I was just trying to say that I dislike it when the only effect is limited to a certain thing, without any reference to the consequences, because when that happens it usually breaks the illusion for me. When the consequences are included, like my example above, it makes the created world fascinating, and can really connect the fantastic aspects to how they would really affect things. :)

jbgibson
03-24-2014, 07:54 PM
As far as broadening the kerning on mountain range labels - one reason to do so is so the label 'claims' all the applicable territory. Same principle as for a river - if it's potentially unclear past a branch what name applies, one either repeats the right one, or spreads out the name till it adjoins both possible portions. I think that's why the best practice for area labels too is to stretch across the whole width of a territory or object, where possible.

When spacing out letters looks too disjointed, one could consider also putting even more space between words. And if even that lets a reader lose track of what's being said, one could switch mountain labeling (unfortunately - all mountain range labeling) to a slightly different font. You're using that nice centered-small-caps variant for multiple extents - territory, bodies of water, AND ranges. Maybe for the ranges you could use an extended font instead. If there isn't one in the font face you've chosen, you could make the tough choice to stretch the one you've got - I know meddling with character proportions is chancy, but the end result might justify it, IF the font is amenable to lengthwise stretching. Incidentally, since stretching larger can lose resolution, maybe the actual process would be to lay out a really big point size and then scrunch it a bit vertically.

I think the kerned versions you show are fine. I kind of expect to do a little hunting to track down long labels. As for the rest of the map - it's made out of Awesome, bolted together with Amazing, and polished with Wonderful. Easily one of the maps I would most like to pore over ... and I have :-).

And thanks to both Raptori and Caenwyr for the demographic resources - great stuff, that!

Caenwyr
03-27-2014, 11:21 AM
Hi all!

I know I've said this before, but... I think this might be it! Done some further tweaking on tons of little details, shifted a few borders for them to fit better with the story (notably the southeastern corner of Conwr) or just plain look better. Which means I also had to adapt the areas in the sidebar. Luckily they didn't change enough for their population densities to change drastically, so I just left their populations as they were. I also added some more sea labels, threw in a handful extra cities and toyed a bit with the mountain labels. While they might still not be perfect, I think it's safe to say they're pretty much as good as I'll get them. So fully aware of their lasting imperfection, I would nevertheless like to thank you all for your advice, guys! I learned a lot!

On top of all that I also added some marches down by the southernmost lake in Safryn, and around the bunch of little lakes in the south of the Annor principality. I'm not sure if those make the map better or worse. So I guess this is still in all its aspects a WIP ;).


62667

Let me know what you think!

Caenwyr
03-31-2014, 05:23 AM
Hi people!

After a few last tweaks (addition of river names e.g.) I published the map in the Finished section: link (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/26681-twin-kingdoms-aran-ilan-finished.html). Thanks for all your help over the last 3 months!

C