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View Full Version : Help needed in making hand-drawn coastline



Edward Protera
07-31-2008, 06:26 PM
As the title says, I need some help. Coastlines have always been a problem for me. It's exceedingly hard for me to create detailed, natural-looking landmass outlines, mostly because I have no real process for it.

Anyway. Basically, I'd like to know how you do it, in hopes of picking up some techniques. What's your process, from blank page to detailed outline? I don't need anything really in-depth, although I certainly don't mind detail. :3

ravells
07-31-2008, 07:05 PM
Have you checked out RobA's tutorial on how the make a coastline in Gimp?

Edward Protera
07-31-2008, 08:21 PM
Well, no, I haven't. I hadn't considered looking at tutorials meant for a given program. n.n;

EDIT: Having checked out the thread, it's really not what I'm looking for. See, I'd much rather be able to do it using only my tablet and ArtRage, without the use of layer effects and all that.

RobA
07-31-2008, 10:24 PM
Went to the artrage site:

ArtRage makes it easy to recreate photos or other images using its paint tools. When you load a Tracing Image the original is projected on to your canvas so that you can use it as a guide while you sketch and paint.

Couldn't you just draw a smooth coast then using the quoted feature, trace over it "squiggly" with a fine brush?

That is how I do it by hand with tracing paper....

-Rob A>

Ghalev
07-31-2008, 11:14 PM
My process boils down to:

Constantly ogle real-world coastlines as if they were porn. Notice the way a bay curves, the way rivers break up a smooth curve, the way islands fragment away in tandem with the fall of mountain ranges and ... anyway, as if they're porn.
Because they are porn.

...

...

I'm sorry. I forgot what I was saying. Something about coastl ---

I'll be in my bunk.

The Cartographist
08-01-2008, 06:45 AM
S John Ross is a dirty, dirty man...

torstan
08-01-2008, 07:58 AM
I had noticed a certain lowering of the tone whenever he pops up.... though the firefly references add a whole new depth.

I'd sketch the shape you are after roughly on one layer, not worrying about much other than a nice shape. Then I'd locate major features like rivers and mountain ranges on a new layer. As Ghalev says, note how they affect the coastline - google maps is the best way to nail this. Then rebuild your sketch on a new layer with these effects in mind. That should give you a believable shape. Finally. go around the coast carefully with a fine brush and allow your hand to squiggle as you do. I find that my own hand jitter is lot better than any built in jitter.

I don't have art rage, so these are my steps in Gimp. They should work fine in other programs though. It's also an interesting exercise to import a real image of a coastline and trace around the edge. You can always rotate and/or flip it, to make sure no one will notice where it is.

Midgardsormr
08-01-2008, 09:14 PM
That's a good point, Torstan. It's also sometimes useful to use, say, an island and rescale it for use as a continent. Not many people are likely to recognize the shape of a random Philippine island, especially if it's being used to represent something much larger.

jezelf
08-02-2008, 05:04 PM
That's a good point, Torstan. It's also sometimes useful to use, say, an island and rescale it for use as a continent. Not many people are likely to recognize the shape of a random Philippine island, especially if it's being used to represent something much larger.


You could go further with this and take various bits from different islands you like and add them together to break up the shape. As long as you don't choose too big a piece that could be easily to identify.

Edward Protera
08-05-2008, 05:37 PM
That's a good point, Torstan. It's also sometimes useful to use, say, an island and rescale it for use as a continent. Not many people are likely to recognize the shape of a random Philippine island, especially if it's being used to represent something much larger.

That's a great idea, actually. I remember having a student teacher in my Junior year of high school who took the Philippines (I think) and turned the whole island chain into the landmasses of a world...

also, something I've noticed in fantasy-themed video games is that most of them tend to take a map of the Mediterranean and deform, rotate, whatever it to turn it into a world. I think I might try this. :3

waldronate
08-05-2008, 08:40 PM
http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/Colder.jpg demonstrates what you can get with a slight change in sea level and a change in perspective.

Korrigan
09-29-2008, 04:53 PM
As the title says, I need some help. Coastlines have always been a problem for me. It's exceedingly hard for me to create detailed, natural-looking landmass outlines, mostly because I have no real process for it.

Anyway. Basically, I'd like to know how you do it, in hopes of picking up some techniques. What's your process, from blank page to detailed outline? I don't need anything really in-depth, although I certainly don't mind detail. :3

Personnaly I always hand-draw my coastlines, then scan them, it's a lot easier for me because I haven't got a graphic palette (yet, maybe soon thanks to ebay).

First step is to draw the general shape of the continent in order to see where I'm going. Second I re-draw them, adding the detail. There is one unique technique I use (it's silly but it works): I let my hand shake with tension while drawing. You can see the result in the post I made in the world maps section.

The advantage is that I can immediately see what I get. Plus, I've got access to a big Xerox printer at work so I can scan them at 600 dpi to work them on a big scale (but my pc finds it rather tricky to work ^^)...

Rovingjack
10-07-2008, 10:17 PM
Um if you'd like I can give you my ultra super secret technique for making coastlines for computer based maps. Which I don't real do that many of since I no longer have a working computer at home.

It's important to have access to a scanner.

Okay what I want you to do is take a big peice of paper and rip it up randomly into small peices (not squares or strips or anything) now sprinkle those peices onto your scanner bed ontil the form a mass. Scan the thing and using an eraser erase the material in the middle of the mass, leaving you with a continent like object.

now save your coffetti in a box, because you will never make the same thing twice with this technique.

delgondahntelius
10-07-2008, 10:48 PM
My next little mini tutorial will deal specifically with coastlines, rivers and lakes.... :D .. wow you timed that almost perfect huh?

It will be up, hopefully shortly ... still working on some stuff... http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=34117#post34117

Steel General
10-08-2008, 08:21 AM
Um if you'd like I can give you my ultra super secret technique for making coastlines for computer based maps. Which I don't real do that many of since I no longer have a working computer at home.

It's important to have access to a scanner.

Okay what I want you to do is take a big peice of paper and rip it up randomly into small peices (not squares or strips or anything) now sprinkle those peices onto your scanner bed ontil the form a mass. Scan the thing and using an eraser erase the material in the middle of the mass, leaving you with a continent like object.

now save your coffetti in a box, because you will never make the same thing twice with this technique.

Now that is a pretty interesting and refreshingly different technique.

delgondahntelius
10-08-2008, 02:50 PM
Ok... it's up :D... and not a moment too soon, cause that was a chore putting that one up...

Hope it helps
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=34117#post34117

Rovingjack
10-09-2008, 12:01 AM
Now that is a pretty interesting and refreshingly different technique.

Thanks, it's the scavenger/artist in me that discovered that one. It's one of the things that drove me to try making some of my own maps.