View Full Version : [Variously WIP] Maps of Telluris

05-13-2014, 03:26 PM
These are some maps I've created for a game I've recently started playing. It's years since I did any mapmaking and this style I was working out as I went along, so they vary a bit in quality. I have corrected some of the issues with some of these but not got round to uploading the newer versions yet.

I have used a number of brushsets and elements I've found elsewhere on the site. Trees and mountains are from Schwarzkreuz (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-elements/19431-%5Bbrushes-other-tools%5D-schwarzkreuz-map-elements-collection.html) Some of the towns are from Ramah. I'm not sure about the others, as foolishly I didn't keep a proper record when I first downloaded them last year. If you notice any familiar brushes please let me know.

This was the first map I did. It's pretty crude to look at now but it was popular and I got a number of requests for me to map other peoples' regions.


This was one of my first requests. I spent a while trying to work out the right font but there are still legibility issues.


Another early request. By this point I'd remembered to put a glow around the lettering to help it stand out from background. I experimented with a new coastline style on this which I don't think I repeated but have mixed feelings about.


05-13-2014, 03:33 PM
This is one of the maps I am least happy with. Having reduced the size of the dotted-line border to match the greater level of detail compared to the Guilder map above (where the mountains and trees are far too large, in my opinion at least) I struggled to get the line looking good. The lake also gave me a headache - unfortunately the region had a special "island within an island" and the coastline in general was a problem. On the other hand I was quite pleased about the mine entrance in the mountains.


By this point I was seriously losing patience with the dotted-line border and trying to think of other ways to do it. It took me about thirty tries to get this result and I still don't think it's very good.


This was one of the first maps I was actually happy with, although I might still redo the border and one of the rivers needs to be moved. In retrospect the compass rose (from bartmoss (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-elements/19361-compass-wind-rose-public-domain.html)) is poorly-placed and needs to be moved.


With this one I experimented with a new border style, which I think is ok but not great. Legibility problems have recurred.


05-13-2014, 03:42 PM
Reasonably happy with this one, which is the latest to date (apart from a reworked version of the very first map I haven't uploaded yet). The western edge of the large lake doesn't look right, though, and will probably need fixing.


And then there's this, which at the moment is a horrible mess. It's actually closer to the style I have previously drawn maps in (using techniques from pasis's mountains and terrain tutorial) but I was thrown by the large quantity of coastline, and tried to do the colouring in a rather lazy way, which has backfired. Speed was of the essence on this one because the map was about to get a lot bigger, but I'd like to re-do it properly.


Any feedback, advice or tips relating to any of the above would be much appreciated. :)

05-14-2014, 05:41 AM
You're very productive! A bit hard to comment all those maps at once, so I'll do just my two general comments. Some of your maps could have a more drawn coastal line to match the drawn elements (moutains, forests and the like).
I would use a blend effect on the sea and shields. The sea looks far too digital to me, and it would gain to be textured with that old paper you used for the lands.
I hope I'm helping!

05-14-2014, 10:01 AM
You're very productive! A bit hard to comment all those maps at once, so I'll do just my two general comments. Some of your maps could have a more drawn coastal line to match the drawn elements (moutains, forests and the like).
Heh, I had a couple of weeks with nothing much else to do so have been churning them out... I attempted edging the coasts by hand but found it hard to get an organic-looking coastline - you can see the products of my line drawing on the borders :x - so what I have ended up doing on the later maps is using a stroke around the "land" layer and editing that with a soft brush or eraser to remove jagged edges (although I've probably missed a few). That's what I've done on the last couple (the Maos/Rannara and AQUA map) at least, but perhaps that still doesn't look quite right.

I would use a blend effect on the sea and shields. The sea looks far too digital to me, and it would gain to be textured with that old paper you used for the lands.
As it happens the sea is textured the same as the land (probably most visibly on the Triumvirate map), but I think you're right about it looking too digital and I guess the filters I've applied are too heavy. I'll see about fixing that.

I hope I'm helping!
Yes, thank you!

05-15-2014, 05:11 AM
Well, the coastline is fine on your last two maps indeed. Personnally, I'm using different things, depending of the maps, but mainly those two : drawing a line on a different layer or using two opposite contour lines (one on the land and another one more "blurry" for the sea).

05-15-2014, 07:07 PM
Well yes, those were my old mountains and trees. Nice to see some people are still using them.

05-16-2014, 02:56 PM
OK; I have redone the AQUA map with a different sea style, and put a blend on the crest, flag and "compass" so that they don't stand out so much. I've also changed the border and coastline styles slightly to try to make them look a little more organic and less pixellated. I think it's an improvement. The sea might still look a little digital; I'm not sure I trust my own judgment on this.


There will be at least one more revision since the guy I'm doing it for would like me to add a few more small islands.

Thanks for letting me know about the brushes, Schwarzkreuz.

05-17-2014, 10:16 AM
I think that the digital feeling come mainly from the spots of light near the Isle of Birds and in the lake.

05-18-2014, 11:02 PM
One of the aspects contributing to a digital feel might be the transparency of the title block and the flag.

There's a wonderful document on label placement, which these would benefit from. Sorry I don't have the CG link saved on my phone, but search should turn it up. On just this last one, I'd counsel that if you're going to cross coastlines with words, arrange things so no character actually lies stop the coastline. Usually one can avoid those crossings, but I don't figure it's worth major typographic gymnastics to stay 'pure' with that rule of thumb. Particularly with monochrome line work features, text gets lost when overlaid. I imagine a period cartographer putting down labels first, then filling in area symbols like your trees. If done in that order, I'm sure he would avoid laying one over the other.

Another thought about the mostly monochrome map... Adding vividly colored extras makes it clear the mapper had access to pigments - if so, why would he not make some on-map features stand out with color?

The lake having three exit rivers is a hydrologic illogic-- one sees multiple inputs to a lake but only one output. Take a look at the excellent tutorial on How to Get Your Rivers in the Right Place.

Overall you have a good look going- nice start. You've hit on the surest ways to improve-- post WIPs for comment, and make a LOT of maps :-).

08-22-2014, 10:16 PM
OK - so, first off, thanks for the feedback. I haven't made many maps since May due to computer issues, but I got a new computer a couple of weeks back and have been looking to make some adjustments based on the comments. This also gave me a chance to look at some of the maps which inspired my interest in cartography in the first place - Willem Blaeu, John Speed, the Catalan Atlas and, thanks to my parents, the Blaeu Atlas Major.

This is the latest one. It's not finished yet, particularly around the borders, and some neatening up, and more colouring on the ships and cartouche, needs to happen, but this is the sort of direction I've taken things in. I put the labelling in first in most cases, so the terrain features can sit around the lettering; I've done borders and rivers in a different style to make them more visually distinct (on the AQUA map there's actually only one river, but the borders look like rivers). I've tried to introduce some colour to offset the heraldry, and moved the heraldry to the border where at some point I'll try to put a proper border around it - I'm not artistically capable enough to draw those pictures of national dress that sit around the edge of early modern maps, so the heraldry will have to do. I'll also add some rhumb lines at some point once I've worked out a decent way to create them, and probably some more rivers.

I'd like for the maps to have more density of detail, and put more settlements on, like the maps I've used for inspiration, but since most of the maps I'm doing are for regions other people have designed (and because the world being mapped has a very low population density), that's not up to me so much. I could put more trees on, but I think less is more to an extent there. I'll try to encourage it in future, though, and will add some more settlements in the southeastern corner of this map where it is at least partly up to me.


08-23-2014, 06:10 AM
It's nice, but the borders seem slightly messy and there isn't much going on on the left side. That seems to take away the balance a bit, so work on that and it'll be a fair bit better straight away.