View Full Version : New in the Cartographer's world

01-30-2014, 12:07 PM
Dear Cartographers,

my name is Irma and I love to draw, and I love fantasy.
For quite some time I have this "fantasy world" in my mind, and suddenly I just wanted to make a map for that world.
I'm totally new into map-making so I started to google, and watched/read tutorials, and I was like: "wow this is really fun!"
In just a few days I became a huge fan of cartography and I couldn't wait to begin mapmaking myself.
So now I'm working on a map with Photoshop CS6. Since I love to draw I try to draw everything myself.
Because I really want to improve, and I have absolutely no knowledge about geography and such things, I thought I might need some advice, tips and critiques. So that brought me here :)
I hope you guys can help me out a bit, and ofcourse I hope to see here also a lot of maps just to admire them ;)

I don't know if it's allowed to already show a picture in this post, but well I just want to show you guys what my "style" is right now.

(It's a WIP btw)

01-30-2014, 12:27 PM
Hi Irma and welcome here at the guild!

I'm new to maps and cartography myself so I probably can't help you with anything, but I would love to hear more about that world you mentioned! What kind of world is it, and have you been working on it for a long time? Is the land in the picture all there is or does that world have more continents?

I wish you lots of fun mapping your world and hope you'll have a great time here :)

01-30-2014, 12:41 PM
Hi Lyrillies, thanks for the reply!

Another "new one", that's great. Hope you'll learn a lot around here :)
Well in the first place it is, ofcourse, a fantasy world. So besides human there are living many different kind of creatures, wich I am still designing. You see, I love to make up my own creatures and draw them.
The world probably has more continents, but they are all quite vague, this is the one I'm totally working out. (Writing the history, creating new cultures for the different tribes, designing castles etc.) It's so much fun to do!
For now this continent excists out of 9 tribes, some of them are quite agressive, others are totally into knowledge and wizardry, and others are just very plain and "peacefull" as far as human can be peaceful. The tribes are almost all human, they still be the "main creature" in my world.

What about you? do you like fantasy, and do you also create your own worlds/creatures/cities?

01-30-2014, 01:05 PM
oh lovely, I like fantasy worlds :)
so when you say most of your tribes are mostly human but you love designing many different creatures, are those creatures mostly animals? And I don't know if that is too far off topic for this forum but I would love to see your drawings one day! 9 tribes seems like a lot for that land btw, how big is it? And does it have a name? And how did you come up with the idea of creating a world?
Sorry for bombarding you with so many questions...

As for me, i see you replied in my thread, so I'll answer there - this is your place to say hello :)

01-30-2014, 02:32 PM
I don't think 9 tribes is a lot for a continent :s

I mean, I know it's a big country, but the US.. If you look at native americans there were different NATIONS... Cherokee, Chippewa, Hopi, Chocktaw, Sioux, Iroquis, Hopi, etc... HUNDREDS of nations... and each of those nations had many many tribes... from dozens, to thousands

So a single state (or a largish island) could have hundreds of tribes.

So a continent could have many more.

Right now I can see place for Northern tribe(s) the lake tribe(s) several mountain tribes... and that's only half the map :)

You'd be surprised, with less "modern" populations, how many different peoples a land can support.

01-31-2014, 03:24 AM
Some of the creatures are based on human, others on animals. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to show them here, since it's a cartographers forum, and also I haven't "digitalized" them yet. But I am a member of deviantart on the same name as here, and maybe I'll upload some creatures there. I give you two links to 2 snake-like creatures I made:
Watch out the trees... by IrmaZwart on deviantART (http://irmazwart.deviantart.com/art/Watch-out-the-trees-312927944)
Wormsel by IrmaZwart on deviantART (http://irmazwart.deviantart.com/art/Wormsel-312925006)

I just have been drawing a lot from since I can remember, and I mostly drew fantasy, so I thought I needed a world for my drawing to live in :P

About the 9 tribes in that land, I agree with Jalyha. I really love history, and that is very useful in creating a fantasy world. I live in the Netherlands, wich is that tiny small country in West-Europe. the Netherlands is smaller than the land I created here, but in history, the Netherlands (or republic in that time) excisted out of 7 different regions, each had their own rules and rulers, even their own money. So if that fits in a country that is too small for even mountains, then I think 9 tribes in my country will fit ;)

I also really like to work small, to be more detailed. If I had my tribes living on this huuuugggeee continent, then they would never be able to get in touch with eachother so easily. Also they would have enough room and so there wouldn't be any need for war or things like that, and war is a part of the history of my world :P

Haha yeah quite some questions, I hope my answers aren't too long :)
I'm note quite satisfied yet with the name of my world, but for now it's called "Waravos"

01-31-2014, 04:55 AM
It looks like you have a knack for drawing. Nice to meet you. By the way, I LOVE your Wormsel drawing. It reminds me of a D&D creature you might see from the Far Realms.

01-31-2014, 06:17 AM
Hey, nice to meet you too!
Thanks a lot, it's just something I really love to do :)
I just saw your introduction post, so you like drawing too :D
I've never played Dungeons and Dragons, but heard quite a lot about it. I searched on google to see what monster you mentioned, could it be a "beholder"?
Looking forward to see your maps!

Oh and btw, I loooove your avatar :D

01-31-2014, 08:40 AM
Love the Wormsel drawing, I actually have seen it before on DA.

01-31-2014, 08:42 AM
Jalyha, that depends on the size of the place people live in - which is why I asked, because to me, this looks like a rather small place.
But also, in fantasy world building especially when you have different species than humans, you just never know what a "tribe" really is - is it a smaller group of people like you assumed in your example of native american nations or is it just a term to distinguish between various groups of species? Because the next bigger group of a tribe doesn't necessarily have to be a nation - nation is a political category, species a biological and sometimes it gets difficult to find words to describe all the different identities and categorizations for the groups you can have in a fantasy world.

And then add to that the very different perceptions of space those species could have - and it doesn't even have to be a biological difference (which might be a lot more extreme), but just imagine the difference in perception of space between a single group of nomads (small group, need a lot of space) and the german nation before Germany was even founded (hundreds of kingdoms and duchies and so, so many people in them, but confined to an area that's actually not that big)

Ok so to stop this before I talk too much (yeah already too late, I know :P) what I wanted to say is: you never really know, and that is why I was asking :)
And Irma basically did say they do not have enough room on that continent - cause if they did they wouldn't need to fight. And desiring your species, tribes, groups and nations to fight is a desire I can definitely understand! (Although there can be other reasons for war than the need for space but lets not get into that here)

Apart from all this, Irma, I never felt the Netherlands were too small for mountains, you guys were just kinda left out when they were distributed... :D Doesn't change the fact that your country is beautiful!

Oh and I really like the Wormsel, too! It actually looks rather cute with its enormous eye, but I guess its not a very cute creature when you meet it?
The dragon also looks great, especially the head - very nice work :)

01-31-2014, 10:00 AM
@Irma - having read your other posts, I thought you might be interested in the toponomy and linguistics area of the forums. There's lots of people here who create their own languages, and tons of posts on naming your world and its' creatures!

@Lyrilllies - I was judging the size of the continent from the mountain range ;P

01-31-2014, 03:30 PM
@Jalyha Thanks a lot for the advice, I just took a look and it's very, very usefull. Wow this guild gets better and better haha :D

@Bogie thanks! Lol, that's really cool! So you're on dA too then :D

@Lyrillies Your explanation makes sence :P After all, it does looks like a small place, especially in comparing with your map haha :P
(Just as a side note, it's not really that they make war because they want more space, but because they're close to each other and so it's easier to make fights about certain things. If they would be far away from eachother, they probably don't know each other :) Unless they've developed somewhat more ofcourse ;) )

Haha I guess that's the problem xD Yeah but I do miss the mountains a lot you know... and also the huge forests. If you take a walk in the Netherlands, you'll always see someone else passing by, you're never alone, wich sometimes can be a bit restless. But beside that, I'm glad with where I live :D

Thank you! The Wormsel are a bit like pets, they can be very devoted to one master. But it's certainly not friendly for its enemies.

01-31-2014, 05:08 PM
haha well those are the only ones looking their size though, I'm having trouble making my newest one look big enough… :P
so how developed are your tribes? :) Do they have electricity? And what means of transportation do they use?

Hmm, never saw it that way, but makes sense of course! I must say I really love the huge open spaces you have… And the coast!

02-04-2014, 05:06 AM
Yeah the size is quite difficult to manage, but you'll work it out I'm sure ;)
Oh no, my tribes absolutely do not know electricity, except maybe thunderdragons :P
No, some of the tribes are like in the medieval time, they have a king and villages with things like blacksmith, jails, taverns and such.
Others are really like living in small houses, having one leader, and hunting for food, they do not have shops, they don't trade, they're just totally dependant on nature.

And also to reply on your other message in the other thread:
Ascam seems really interesting, it must be fun to still develop the language, just like they're doing with the Na'vi
Well I just tried to randomly create a language, started with the grammer, but I just got so confused that I stopped it :P

Your website is awesome, so much information! Really fantastic. I'm still translating a bit though, haha, this is really good for my german, I've got exams this year so this definitely will help :)

Wel I'm not sure what to tell about my world, because the one moment I think of somethin but the other moment I change it again, I'm still really creating it, working it out.

02-04-2014, 05:21 AM

Welcome to the guild.


02-04-2014, 10:33 AM
Thank you!!

02-05-2014, 05:26 AM
First off, welcome to the Guild IrmaZwart! As to the map, very interesting blend of styles you've got. Combining painting (and pencil work) with textures is not something that most people can pull off well - it usually ends up looking sort of odd. I think the grass texture could work though. The mountains seem a bit ethereal to me. They could use a bit more solid color and contrast. Off to a good start though.


02-05-2014, 11:40 AM
thunderdragons - that sounds interesting! :D Do they breathe fire?
so it sounds like a somewhat classical fantasy world? Nice! :)

hmm as for the language: it always helps to have actual text to translate, that gives you one problem at a time and then you can use the things from that text for the next one when the next things come up.

haha thanks! :D Oh and if you need help with your exams let me know!

as for you still creating the world: I have bad news, that never stops! ;) just six months ago I completely shredded some of the very basics of my world...

02-05-2014, 12:12 PM
It does look very interesting.

I have to jump in on the language thing, though... (don't get me wrong, if it works for you, USE it, but) I've always found it best to start by creating an alphabet... the *sounds* your people produce, and what they're associated with. Then get all your prefixes/suffixes sorted out, and root words, and then you can translate anything :)

If you start word for word translating a document, and then later try translating something else (with all different words!) you can end up with your language sounding.. disjointed, somehow :/ I don't know how to explain it! :P

02-05-2014, 12:59 PM
oh well, you're right of course, I was talking about grammar only :) I said earlier that I started with a clear idea of what I wanted the language to sound like and with finding words that sounded right - but then, if the whole thing fails at inventing grammar, I think it's nice to start with an actual text because it just kinda gives you an anchor of where to start and what to do, and of course once you have the general principles it can always be adjusted so that it sounds right again :)
But again, I'm not a linguist so I just went with what worked and also that's only me, others might of course have completely different approaches :)

02-05-2014, 01:02 PM
I'm no linguist either... I just love conlangs :) (Bit of an obsession, at times!)

I'd probably be pretty good at it if I didn't have the attention span of a 5 year old :D

02-05-2014, 02:00 PM
Hi Arsheesh! Thank you so much :D
Well yeah i just started drawing and putted some effects with ps, and it worked out quite nice.
As for the moutnains, you're absolutely right, and then to think that I wanted to make even more of them, it's so hard to make realistic mountains.
I already removed the snowy mountains and am now trying to make them again, but more in a "line".
Your maps are amazing! How did you learn that all?

02-05-2014, 02:14 PM
Hi Arsheesh! Thank you so much :D
Well yeah i just started drawing and putted some effects with ps, and it worked out quite nice.
As for the moutnains, you're absolutely right, and then to think that I wanted to make even more of them, it's so hard to make realistic mountains.
I already removed the snowy mountains and am now trying to make them again, but more in a "line".
Your maps are amazing! How did you learn that all?

Torstan has some good tutorials for hand drawings mountains that may be of use to you in the thread Assorted Tips and Tricks (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/16819-%5Baward-winner%5D-assorted-tips-tricks.html). Pretty much all I know about creating maps in a photorealistic style came from a combination of scouring tutorials here and then my own trial and error. If you spend some time going through the tutorials section you'll find all sorts of helpful material here. I found Ascention and RobA's tutorials very useful when I first arrived at the Guild and since then quite a few other useful tutorials have been written. As to hand drawn stuff (what little of it I've done), I grew up sketching as a hobby, though I sort of let it slip in college and am now trying to get back into it.


02-05-2014, 02:18 PM
Nope, Thunderdragons bring great storms with them. The dragons are huge, and always surrounded with lightning bolts :)
Most of the time they live high up in the mountains, but when they pay a village a visit, everything gets destroyed, no firebreath is needed :P
Yep, very classical fantasy world :)

I'll give it a try, it's worth it I think :D

That's true actually yes, it never stops, that's also quite fun! But I'm not as far as you with creating my world :P

02-05-2014, 03:19 PM
That sounds very nice - I like the twist in the traditional idea of a dragon! Is there any explanation as to why these dragons cause storms and lightning? Or is it just magic? :)

I agree that is part of the fun! It can be all sorts of frustrating and annoying but in the end its somehow always worth it because one ends up with a truly original thing that came from nowhere but your own mind, right?
I hope the language thing works out for you!

I read that you are working on your map - why don't you post it as a WIP? I bet people would be interested in seeing the changes and hearing your thoughts as the map progresses :)