View Full Version : Elvrae

03-24-2014, 05:24 PM
Well, as I said in my introduction (http://www.cartographersguild.com/member-introductions/26609-insert-amazing-creative-title-here.html), I've been working on this map for quite some time, using a conglomeration of several different tutorials. My artistic skills are pretty mediocre, so I need some advice from some people that actually know what their talking about.
Anyway, here is my map. I have a color version and a B&W version, but I'm just posting the B&W at the moment because that's the one that will be used if I ever get my book published. That, and the fact that the color version takes up 5 times the amount of disk space, and I'm too impatient to wait for it to upload:).

fabio p
03-25-2014, 10:08 AM
I need some advice from some people that actually know what their talking about.

I do not always know what I'm talking about (especially when talking about maps) :P, anyway here's my two cents on your map.
I must say I like it, it's pretty detailed and still clean and neat. If you're aiming to a simple yet complete way of illustrating a regional geographic area, I think you're on a good road.

I think the mountains need a reworking, it's ok they're basic in this kind of map, but their shapes don't convince me, they seem to be more rushed compared to other features of the map.
I would also add a border (even the most simple one generally improves the overall work.) and maybe a legend and a title.

03-25-2014, 01:02 PM
What kind of border do you think would look good on this type of map. Maybe something like this?
Or does it need something more substantial?

In all actuality, I think I've spend more time on the mountains than on any other one feature on this map. (Except maybe the forests. Maybe.) I can't for the life of me seem to get them right, which is really sad considering I live in a small valley with mountains on every side...
Personally, I like this style from fantasicmaps.com:
My attempts at emulating it don't look quite so nice, but do you think it could work?

Anyway, thanks a lot for your advice!

03-25-2014, 01:22 PM
Mountains are worth spending a lot of time on. They become real attention-grabbers when you add shadows, because the eye is drawn to areas of contrast. So experimenting a lot to find the perfect look for them is good!

The example style is quite close to what I often use, and if I would try to offer some advice, I'd say that your mountainsides are too steep. If you draw them more gently sloping, they'll flow together with the flat land and make it look like the range has risen out of the ground across millions of years (which most probably is what happened!). You can also make the "spine" more jagged, which adds a feeling of size; the more detail you add, the bigger the mountains will look :)

fabio p
03-26-2014, 10:25 AM
You’re welcome!
As for the mountain’s, I think Lingon’s advice is precious so I would stick with it. Also, you can experiment drawing not only mountain ranges but individual ones (as you did in your map) adding more detail and shadows. You have tons of examples on this site and even great tutorials and walkthroughs to look at. I think observation, experimentation, trial and error, are the keys.
The border you propose is ok, it’s really essential but also consistent with the style of the map. If you have time and do not have to "deliver" the work within a deadline, I’d try also to experiment with something more complex just to see how it fits; usually a visual comparison among different version can get you nearer to what you’re aiming for.

03-26-2014, 07:00 PM
Thanks guys! I think I get what your saying.
What do you think about something like this?
Or do you think it looks better with shadows?
Or am I even on the right track?

I really appreciate you guy's advice.

- Max -
03-27-2014, 06:48 AM
I think you're on the right track, keep it up :)

fabio p
03-27-2014, 07:25 AM
Both seem ok to me (and if you have Max approval you’re surely doing good); if you put them on the map you will more easily see which one fits better.
I’m not expert in shading, but for the shaded mountain range I would check that the light side of the range don’t have shadows that can’t be explained given the position you chose for the sun.

03-27-2014, 10:44 AM
Definately much better mountain range. i would make the shadows a bit darker though and if you really want to get crazy with them then make the shadow darker at the peak and fade into nothing as it gets closer to its base. Keep it up. Theyre looking great!

03-27-2014, 04:00 PM
Huge improvement! Only thing left to do now is to choose a side the light is coming from, and remove the shadows on that side. Personally, I also like when mountain shadows are quite dark, but that's a matter of taste :)

03-27-2014, 06:20 PM
Alright guys, thanks for the input! I've spent quite a bit of time working with it today. I'm not quite done with the mountains yet, but I thought I'd see what you guys thought of them so far. Also, what do you think of the border?

03-27-2014, 08:14 PM
I think they look good, but could do with some more offshoots like the one 1/3 of the way from the bottom. At the moment it's just one ridge - if that's all you want then that's cool, but I just think it'd look better with some more :)

03-28-2014, 07:09 AM
This is coming along nicely! The shaded mountains look good to me, but be careful not to draw the shading past the outer lines.

The shading should be darkest close to the top of the mountain and the shadow-light rim, and fade away to nothing before it actually touches the flatlands. It takes a lot of time to get it right, but working on the details will make the difference between "yeah this is kinda shaded, I guess" and "good heavens, those mountains seem to be poking out of the screen! Argh, it's like teeth, waiting to shred me to bits! Run away!!"

Details. It's aaaaall about the details ;)

03-31-2014, 04:19 PM
Oddly enough, it seems the more free time people think I have, the less I actually do. :)

Anyway, I've been working on the mountains, mainly shading, though I've also added a few more lines off the mountains as well (I think that's what you were meaning by "offshoots," Raptori.). What do you guys think?
I need all the critique/ideas I can get, so please post whatever comes to mind! It really does help.

fabio p
04-02-2014, 07:27 AM
I think you did a good job on the mountains, congrats.
Now maybe you could add a title and a legend, so that it becomes clear e.g. if the oval dots are minor cities and the dots with the star major cities or capitals.

04-02-2014, 03:30 PM
I think that the mountain "ridge" looks okay, but could use some more variation. If the ridge curved more, I think this would be okay, but a mountain range this straight looks to monotone as it exists. Maybe add a larger (visual, not actual) gap where the road crosses the ridge, just to break it up? Other than that, congratulations on how your other geographical features interact with the mountains. Very realistic!

04-04-2014, 07:31 PM
Okay, I've tried to clean up the shading on the mountains a bit (Does it look better?) and widened the pass just a little (I just scooted the top part up a few pixels; I'm afraid of widening it too much).
I've also added a key a la fabio's suggestion. Something about it seems a little off to me though, but I can't put my finger on what it is. Any ideas?

Just a side note, I've noticed if I spend too long working on a post, the site logs me out for some reason. I get that it's probably for security, but honestly getting logged off every five minutes is quite frustrating. Would anyone happen to know how I could up the time limit or something?

04-04-2014, 08:58 PM
I think both mountains look good, too. That example you gave from fantasticmaps.com, I noticed that that little range slightly juts upwards at each point. That certainly gives it the feel of having higher elevation. The impression I get from your mountains is that they are not epically tall. Is that what you were going for?