View Full Version : Ethiedus WIP - Hitting some snags

04-11-2014, 07:51 PM
Hello everyone, this is my world of Ethiedus. I've scaled it down by half from the actual size. I've recently used two tutorials on this map, one for making mountains and one for making forests. I'm running into some snags with my water - specifically, where to put it, ESPECIALLY the rivers... ohhhh gods the rivers. :\ I made my first go at rivers and lakes invisible and started over, but this is as far as I have gotten and it's getting pretty frustrating, so I thought I would take a step back and see what kind of advice I could get here. I'm not sure I'm satisfied with the mountains I have, either... And the color of the land bugs me, I can't figure out a great way to color the land appropriately. So now it's kind of monochrome. I've been working hard on the map for several months, dedicating a few hours here and there along the way, and there are some things about it I love, but I think I'm hitting the limits of my current abilities! This is my first map making project, tied in to a novel I'm writing. The map is still very very WIP and I expect it'll look a lot different by the time I'm done. Help me figure out how to fix my issues please! :)

Link to map (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3EaAqk4nOdM/U0h-uaFDGJI/AAAAAAAAAOU/4URs2S4isQI/s1600/World+Map+working16.png)

04-12-2014, 07:43 PM
I did some underpainting on the forests today. Also I fixed a road going through a mountain... LOL oops.


04-17-2014, 02:17 PM
Well, it's been almost a week with no bites :\ Anyone out there willing to help me improve my skills a bit? Any advice, comments, etc would be very much appreciated! Pretty please?

04-17-2014, 05:06 PM
Do you have a higher resolution of your map? At this size, the smaller labels are very hard to read and it's difficult to emit an opinion. The only thing I could say right now is that I would probably do a lining around the lakes as you did for the coastlines.

04-17-2014, 05:28 PM
A thread that might help with your rivers: http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/3822-how-get-your-rivers-right-place.html Extremely helpful!

As for the rest of your map: I think it is quite nice, but somehow it does not resonate with me. I cannot exactly explain why, but the placement of your land seems a little arbitrary to me.
The style looks good in my view... I like the muted colour of the land as well as the forests. On the other hand, you said that this map is meant for a book. Perhaps some style that is printable in B&W might be better suited?

04-17-2014, 09:03 PM
Ilanthar, yes, the working resolution is much much bigger, but I couldn't fit the full size image on the forums.

Freodin, I can definitely see how the land placement might look kind of off. I drew in the major shapes on tracing paper originally, I've noticed that there are some more realistic looking ways to make land since joining the site so at some point I will probably go in and add some little details to make it look a shade more natural. This color version I intend to eventually, somewhere down the line, have printed on vinyl and hung up in my room. For printing in, like, the first few pages of my book, though (if all hopes and dreams come to fruition) I'll probably make a b&w version separate from this endeavor.

Grateful for the responses! I'll keep your comments in mind. :D

04-19-2014, 05:35 PM
Lake Nyoma has two outlets. While not impossible, this is very unlikely. Such arrangements don't last long, geologically speaking- eventually one outlet erodes a bit more and "wins." (Or, it could just be one hell of a coincidence, or the result of magic, etc.)

OTOH the river/lake system in central Aengvald has no outlet. Nor does the system on Vorenth. Nor Lake Pybo on Sereche. Did you intend for these to be endorrheic lakes? That would presume a drier climate, which your map doesn't resemble. If a river feeding a lake is large enough to be seen on the scale of the map, there should logically be one draining that same lake that is also big enough to be seen. Unless, as I mentioned, the lake is endorrheic for some reason.

The routes of the rivers on the very skinny island of Galloway strike me as unlikely.

That's a heck of a density of lakes, unless you're going for a look like the lake country surrounding Hudson Bay or your theorectocal geology otherwise explains it. (Most people put in too many lakes.)

Yes, a scale would be helpful. Since we can only see a compressed version "six pixels to the mile" doesn't help us much... :)

The only port that I see on the outer side of any islands is the one on Vorenth. Is there a reason for so few? Is there no outside trade?

I do like the light ground coloration. It reminds me of the map of Central Alemnia that Daelin just posted, where the ground is bone colored. One hell of a map, that.

I'd make the political boundaries a color other than black, so as not to confuse them with roads.

Don't take my criticisms too sharply- I have certainly never posted a better map than yours... :)

04-26-2014, 05:17 PM
Hey arcsome, thank you for the response! I've been messing with the map since then and it looks a little different now. I killed the river going through lake Nyoma because I'm just not sure how to work that. All the info on how to get your rivers in the right place makes me feel downright dumb, honestly. I keep going back and re-reading it, but I'm still having trouble. Maybe it works better on smaller maps... I am attempting a pretty ambitious sized map here. D'oh. Oh, and the bit about the scale - yeah, I had that in there from the beginning and it's a detail I meant to change and totally forgot was even there. I've seen some pretty, free scales in the mapping elements forum that I will eventually go and grab. I just want to get this water sorted! It's driving me mad! The ports are another detail that I haven't worked on in a while. I've added a lot of places since I first put in the ports, so going back and deciding where the new ports will be is something that's on the to-do list. I really do appreciate you taking the time to point some of this out for me. Here's an updated map... I'm honestly at my wits' end where water is concerned. I tried making an elevation layer to help decide where to place water, but it didn't work out so well. I re-did the mountains and the forests, added a bunch of islands (to help with the arbitrary land placement issue - I think it looks a little better now, anyway) and for now I've toggled off the text and legend layers so it won't look so cluttered. What are yalls thoughts on the current water markers? (Obviously they won't be that color and they'll have some more "wiggle" to them)

04-26-2014, 05:24 PM
I'm getting an error message on that image so let me try one more time.

04-28-2014, 08:16 AM
I wouldn't mind giving you some help with river/lake placement, either. But there's two things one needs to know:

- what's the scale of this map? Is it an Indonesia sized archipelago? A Japan sized one? Or something the size of a couple of caribbean islands?
Even for your own guidance, I recommend figuring this out and then place an outline of that part of Earth over your map, as a layer.

- where is this archipelago placed in the globe? Does it cross the equator? Is it entirely on the temperate region, and if so on the northern hemisphere or the southern hemisphere? Are there are very big landmasses nearby?

This would make river placing both more accurate and much easier. Without this, it's too random to be fun (for me, that is ;) )

04-28-2014, 12:02 PM
You water placement reminds me of a tub because all the water seems to converge toward the middle. It means that most of the lakes are surrounded by mountains or some land elevation. As Pixie said that's not impossible, if it's a small archipelago then it's like a lagoon/ a crater but if your map is showing large landmasses, it look pretty odd.

04-30-2014, 08:36 PM
I took into account your advice, Pixie and Azelor. I made a scale, realized my world was way too small to be the whole world, and decided I basically needed to start all over and expand hugely. So the past two days I've been doing that! I think this version looks much better (thanks to Coyotemax's wonderful textures). I've tried to make the waters less tub-like. No wonder they were looking weird. Hopefully this one will be easier to work with now that it has a scale. I tried to make the inland waters bright enough so that you could see them here, they're nearly invisible in my working map, but that's only temporary... So here's the latest effort:


05-01-2014, 06:26 AM
So, if I get it right, this is a whole-planet-view?

If so (I used your scale to some simple measurements) - your equator circumference is about 4x smaller than that of Earth's. Is it intended?
Also, if this is a whole planet map, then a linear scale is wrong to use (because a planet is actually round and a rectangular map distorts shapes and distances). If you are drawing a whole planet map, mark latitude and longitude lines instead.

Well, and if so, I think that before making it a nice looking map with earthly textures, you could decide a few things on your planet climate. You don't need to go into much detail, but just decide whether there are polar ice caps or not, deserts at tropical latitudes or not, etc...

And also, if this is a planetary map, it has very weird/unlikely distribution of land (but you may well choose to ignore this bit - I don't want to put you down)

05-01-2014, 10:14 AM
Oh, hmm.. Is it bad that I have no idea how to do that (mark lat and long lines)? I mean, I can draw a line, but I wouldn't know where to place them.

It is meant to be smaller than Earth. It's just a little fantasy planet. Though 4x smaller does seem a bit much, doesn't it? Got a lot of "perhaps" and "maybes" running around in my head at the moment, as to whether I should make this a known-world view and/or map out a lot more world... It keeps looking smaller and smaller to me. I have a feeling this will be WIP for quite a while.

And I suppose it's only to be expected that my land would look weird. :oops: First attempt and all, with no prior knowledge of what the fudge I'm doing. Do you have any suggestions for how I could make it less weird? Did I space them out too much? I've been thinking about adding some more land/islands so it wouldn't look as sparse in some areas.

05-03-2014, 03:58 AM
And I suppose it's only to be expected that my land would look weird. :oops: First attempt and all, with no prior knowledge of what the fudge I'm doing. Do you have any suggestions for how I could make it less weird? Did I space them out too much? I've been thinking about adding some more land/islands so it wouldn't look as sparse in some areas.

The land masses/islands feel too evenly spaced out. I wouldn't add more land/islands in the empty spaces as that is probably the problem in the first place, if you keep putting in land where there is the biggest area of ocean, the map becomes too symmetrical everywhere with no big oceans left. This is definately something ive struggled with aswell. Its hard, but maybe try drawing out continent and island shapes randomly and asymmetrically.

05-03-2014, 03:38 PM
Thanks for the comment AlexSchacher! I've been fiddling with it a lot and removed some of the islands I was starting to add, and I think it does look better with fewer. I did add some landmasses to the very edges, because I enlarged the map by about 20% (my computer is furious with me) and I felt it did need something around the edges. I think I'll call the biggest open space the Endless Ocean. I also made a grid of latitude and longitude lines per Pixie's suggestion. I'm not 100% sure I did it correctly, or even 80% sure, but I made a gallant attempt, I feel. :lol: I did decide I wanted polar ice caps.

Here's where I stand now, with and without the grid:


If anyone's interested I'll post a few globe images. I don't want to flood the forums with too many pictures... :blush:

Aaaaand submit... *bites nails* I am so grateful for every reply, by the way. I can't grow very much without helpful criticism. :)

05-05-2014, 09:03 PM
Now this has a completely different feel to it. Adding the ice caps makes it look like a whole planet instead of an archipelago. And the graticule turned out just fine as well.
This much is just gains, imho.

However, I wonder where you want to go from here.
- The land distribution is a little odd as the continental bits are too spread and there are almost no perceptible tectonic boundaries. This is just fine if you wish to leave it, but it is also a dimension you can improve.
- You could also work out the climate distribution, but one could assume so many small continents adrift would result in a lot of maritime climate (rain and nice overall temperatures). Still there is room for improvement there as well.
- Etc... my point is that this is now a good basic planet to work on - well done!