View Full Version : Henderson Guthrie's Geographical Map of Tir Tairngire

01-19-2014, 03:36 PM
Hi all! Wow, it's been a while since I was here. I've been noodling around with a genre-blender project, a Western set in a fairy tale land - that is, of the old scare-your-kids-witless-so-they-don't-go-into-the-woods variety. Humanity has settled a distant continent, which they discovered a little too late was inhabited by an actively hostile, technologically and magically advanced species called the Sidhe, but known by the humans euphemistically as 'faeries' or 'the fair folk'. Fortunately the fair folk tend to stick to the forests, so humanity is stuck on the plains and prairies where their presence is tolerated, if not particularly liked. Those humans foolish enough to enter the forests rarely come back out; those who do are irrevocably changed.

Despite all this, six generations after colonising and being hastily abandoned by the folks back home, humanity on Tir Tairngire has managed to reach a level of technology similar to mid-nineteenth century North America, with the help of some bits and pieces stolen from the faeries. There are roads, railways and mines justs as one would expect from any good Western setting, all of which are grudgingly accepted by the fairies as long as they don't encroach on their land. This doesn't mean there aren't border skirmishes and general griefing from both sides, but for now a detente is holding.


Regarding the maps themselves, I've not got much in the way of settlements confirmed yet, but I was hoping for feedback on the general aesthetic as well. For example, the term 'explanation' I've seen a lot in my research, but usually accompanied with text underneath that's too small to read at the resolutions I've been finding, so I'm wondering is it reasonable to attach it to my key? Comments and critique about other bits are more than welcome too. Also yes, the continent is supposed to look vaguely like a triskelion.

Those grey splodges on the second image represent where my major forests will go; I'm struggling to find 1800s maps showing forests, so if anyone has any suggestions on how to depict them on this map I'd be much obliged.



Henderson Guthrie and Arthur B. Walpole are here played by Gaetano Casati, nineteenth-century Italian explorer of Africa, and Elisha Kent Kane, nineteenth century US explorer of the Arctic, respectively. I'm guessing (and hoping) that the engravings were made while they were alive, and thus are within public domain.

01-19-2014, 04:10 PM
Oh, this is awesome. You definitely hit my magic 'like' button with this. :D

I feel your pain r.e. showing forests on 17th/18th century maps; for now I've just been labeling the area where the forest is with text and not showing any boundaries, which is a pretty bad way to do it, but like you, I haven't found any convincing way to depict 'em.

01-19-2014, 04:29 PM
Thank you! I did find one example of woods on a period map, but it's a campaign map and they look more like tiny shrubs than a reasonable indication of a forest.
Here's the map in question. (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/First_Manassas_map2.jpg)

I guess at that point only the military really needed to know where forests were, 'cause common folk would just stick to roads or railways.

01-19-2014, 07:27 PM
Maybe some evergreen-style trees around a big shrub-shape. You're right, they wouldn't worry about aesthetics so much, so you'd only need a hint of a forest, but you could dress it up. Otherwise you could do something ancient/unrefined like a single overly large tree for each forest, a single mountain for a range, etc... and make the *size* of the icon indicate the size of the forest/mountain/whatever... ?

I'm not much help, sorry :(

Big like for the idea and the map so far, though! :)

01-20-2014, 03:06 AM
Lovely map, great job so far :) Most 19th century maps don't show forests because (I assume) they weren't considered important, but in your world they'd be very important, so my guess is the cartographers would want to show them very clearly – more like on a high fantasy map like most you'll find around here, than on historical maps of the corresponding period.

- Max -
01-20-2014, 03:25 AM
Most of the time, 19th century maps didn't show forests indeed and 17th/18th shows them using some more or less sparsed individual trees. Regarding your map scale, some dotted areas would be enough to show forests I guess.

01-20-2014, 03:45 AM
Great style !
I may have a little advice.
Real Black ink was not often used at the time.
I'd rather use dark brown or gray instead.

Anyway i really like it so far :)

01-20-2014, 06:12 AM
Thanks for your freedback, everybody! I'll noodle about with some possibilities for depicting forests, I'm hesitant to go for 'bunch of trees' approach because I fear it'll stand out too much against the otherwise stripped-down aesthetic, but if nothing else works I'll give it a shot. Also, I did not know that, Nathan, thanks! Didn't even occur to me black ink might be at a premium.

01-20-2014, 07:33 AM

Tried a simple halftone overlay to indicate the faerie lands. It doesn't immediately read as 'forest' and will probably be altered, but it'll do for now.

- Max -
01-20-2014, 08:09 AM
Honestly that works pretty good and fits the overall style imo. If ever you can expand the map size, It would give it more space between land shape and border (which will give some additional empty space on sea, that wouldn't hurt ;) ) that will allow you to enlarge your key box - or add a second one, where you can put a geographical features legend.

01-20-2014, 11:53 AM
I'm with - Max - on this. It fits the style. And it doesn't have to scream "forest" to you. You're in uncharted territory here. If that's how your people charted forests on their maps, it would scream "forest" to *them*. For me, it adds to the realism, a bit. Secondly.... if all forests are faerie lands.... you don't need to indicate FOREST, you need to indicate *borders* for the faerie lands. Which you've done :P

01-20-2014, 02:23 PM

Having stared at it for a bit I'm not so averse to the halftone now - those were good points y'all made. I took Max's advice and gave the map a bit of breathing room, plus started laying down the text.

01-20-2014, 03:55 PM
Oh, that looks much better!

It really is a nice little map, you know. I can't wait to see it finished! :D

01-20-2014, 08:32 PM
Great job so far HBL!


01-20-2014, 11:41 PM
Oh wow, that halftone might be the answer - it looks fantastic, actually.

If I was to look at it with a super SUPER critical eye, I'd say the only thing that I don't 100% like is that in the key, the faerie lands boundary dots are much bigger than they are on the actual map, giving a sort of disconnect there. But that's a super anal-retentive criticism. :D

01-21-2014, 05:31 AM
Indeed. Looks good ! Keep going.

01-23-2014, 03:00 PM

Thanks, everybody! I think I'm somewhere in the region of finished, but feedback and suggestions are still very much welcome at this point.

01-23-2014, 03:19 PM
I'm trying to find something to suggest but I can't :o

Also, I kind of want that notice as my signature like... everywhere:

"Remember: All woods are Faerie woods until proven otherwise!"


But seriously... the map looks wonderful, and I really want it to be a book so I can read it :P

01-23-2014, 03:26 PM
Thanks Jalyha! This is actually for a webcomic I have planned, though it's still in the scripting/worldbuilding stage right now.

- Max -
01-23-2014, 03:47 PM
The curved labels for cities don't make really no sense for me since you have room to put straight labels. Great job overall.

01-23-2014, 03:58 PM
I was mostly doing it because I thought it looked nicer, to be honest C= Is it convention to put keep labels straight wherever you have room for it?

- Max -
01-23-2014, 04:08 PM
For more comfort to read them, pretty much for the city/town labels , since they go along with icons and you don't have to use curves and kerning. You can use curves for them only if that's necessary if ever you don't have enough room to put them straight.

01-23-2014, 04:11 PM
Aha, I did not know that! I shall tweak them accordingly.