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Ilanthar
05-20-2014, 09:24 AM
I came back to drawings! I hope (and believe) that I have improved my skills in the matter (the numerous wonderful maps of the guild are inspiring :)).

I'll probably need a few maps for my Ave Tenebrae setting (loosely based on a mix of Howard's Conan, some D&D setting, and the "Ave Tenebrae" board game, of course). So, here's an attempt of the Kingdom of Aquilonia. I'm at the point that I wanted to try a bit of everything, just to see... except for labels and other signs.

I'm really interested of what you think of it, because I'm hesitating about a lot of things...

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- Max -
05-20-2014, 09:56 AM
One issue is that your mountains/forests are pretty sharp and that your city icons, rivers and coastlines are blurry. Also Mountains are nice but not that much convincing as a mountains range (atm it rather looks a pile of rocks).

Cuin
05-20-2014, 10:10 AM
Very nice hand work. The trees are particularly good.

Ilanthar
05-20-2014, 10:22 AM
Thanks for the feedback (and a quick one, I have to say ;))!


By - Max -
One issue is that your mountains/forests are pretty sharp and that your city icons, rivers and coastlines are blurry.

Well, that was indeed one of my wonderings. I didn't spotted it for the coastlines & rivers, but you're right. As it is far more easier to add a blur, is the test below better?

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Also Mountains are nice but not that much convincing as a mountains range (atm it rather looks a pile of rocks).
Sigh... yeah, I just sticked too much to the old world map I guess... I'll redraw that.

- Max -
05-20-2014, 10:39 AM
I think it's a bit better with the blur (at least more consistent overall). Maybe if you'll add a touch of color on city icons, that would make them pop up more.

acrsome
05-20-2014, 01:46 PM
I think the pattern for the swamps is a bit dense. It's almost as dense as the forests, and thus hard to discern from the forests without looking closely.

Ilanthar
05-20-2014, 06:08 PM
Here's a new version with mountains redrawn (again, not all the mountains, just a try). I lowered a bit the blur effect, better?

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@ - Max - : haha, in fact, color is my other main wondering... Colored or not, I mean. How you'd you color the cities, I've no idea (never done that before, I think).

@ acrsome : that is an excellent advice, thanks a lot! I did'nt noticed, but now you mentioned it, it seems obvious!

- Max -
05-20-2014, 06:38 PM
As for the color icons you could ever color them in red like on 16-17th centuries maps or go with a base color, some shade/highlights (don't know how big the icons are actually)

Ilanthar
05-21-2014, 06:16 AM
Yeah, the icons are pretty small (it's the ones I used before for my Nightfall map, with some addings). So, I followed your advice and colored them in red.
I added a few things and changed the swamps. I will add other elements, and the desert things on the south part.

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- Max -
05-21-2014, 07:36 AM
Why not a full opacity red? Maybe because the icons outline is too strong and that makes them very dark at the end?

Ilanthar
05-21-2014, 09:02 AM
I'm not sure to get what you mean, honestly. Here's a test with the color of the cities at full opacity (but still with a blending effect). I corrected the color of the swamps a little bit and worked the desert (color or not, what do you think?).
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I guess, I'll have to do the rest of the mountains soon!

- Max -
05-21-2014, 09:15 AM
ok, I got what you've done so what I meant is full color opacity with no blending mode (here it rather made it looks pinky than red).

Ilanthar
05-21-2014, 09:29 AM
Yes, but it is very dark (on the left, as you suggest). I tried a different blend on th right that may be better...

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Viking
05-22-2014, 01:24 AM
Nice. I like your map symbols for swamps and forests. I would suggest turning down the saturation on the settlements though.

Ilanthar
05-22-2014, 05:09 AM
Thanks Viking!

I'm in the mountains right now, but I'll have to solve the cities's issue indeed!

Ilanthar
05-22-2014, 12:19 PM
I supposed it, but doing those mountains is a very long task... Anyway, some more mountains and a new test for coloring the cities.

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Ilanthar
05-23-2014, 08:45 AM
More mountains and a few volcanoes (on the west), a plateau (on north east) and an crack. How does those last look?

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- Max -
05-23-2014, 09:11 AM
Some smoke or Lava will help to spot volcanoes quickly ;)

Ilanthar
05-23-2014, 07:07 PM
Mountains are normaly done now... Or do you see something wrong?


By - Max -
Some smoke or Lava will help to spot volcanoes quickly

Thanks for the idea! I think the volcanoes are more obvious now, aren't they?

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Ghostman
05-24-2014, 05:42 AM
It's looking pretty good now. I think the town symbols are fine also.

Ilanthar
05-24-2014, 11:39 AM
By Ghostman
It's looking pretty good now. I think the town symbols are fine also.

Thanks! I'm glad to read that, because I've been just unable to do other convincing icons as a replacement... and I've done all the town & castles now. I've reworked the "national" borders more. I'm going to work the labelling and the legend now.

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Azelor
05-24-2014, 12:18 PM
I have to admit that the pine and the broadleaf forests do not mix very well. Frankly, I never solved that problem so I just put them apart, separated by plains or mountains.

Ilanthar
05-25-2014, 12:01 PM
Yes, thanks for noticing that, Azelor. You're right, obviously, and I'm not sure to see how change that... I may put the forests labels over the separation when I can.

jbgibson
05-25-2014, 09:18 PM
The borders do look very nice. I like their shading effect.

In a few places you might want to place the river level beneath that of the mountains - unless the mountains are just skeletal linework? The nicely 3-dimensional mountain work with rivers crossing lines is jarring.

All the myriad different city symbols are delightful.

That large southern lake is going to be very salty, with probably no plant or animal life, and it will probably grow and shrink a lot as the seasons pass, since it receives all the rainfall of a large piece of a continent.

I'm not sure I believe the two major southwestern rivers paralleling each other so far, with no indication of even a minor rise in land to separate them. In fact, the large marsh area implies "very flat" across its whole extent, yet the two rivers remain distinct even across the marshes. It would take only a few minor hill symbols to hint that at least some land between the two has a bit of elevation, and the viewer's mind would assume the rest.

For the two types of forest to be visually similar seems all right to me. The distinction is there if you study it, yet for a casual user it probably matters more that there's forest here and there and yonder, with the type of trees not so important.

With most of your mountains and hills you have avoided the "flat bottom" look to individual symbols that would make them look just stamped as ink symbology instead of nicely "jumping up" from the paper. If you look there's a few that do have that issue, and if they were bothering you and you didn't know why, perhaps a bit of editing would "root" them better. I see a few in the upper center and a few in the southwest. None are outright jarring, so if they had not bothered you, let them lie.

Related to that, I know it is typical to draw little city symbols like you have (like you have very well!), but I wonder if they would ever benefit from a similar "rooting" in 3-d with a hint of projecting toward the viewer. I have no skill at little pictorial symbols, so this is merely an idle wondering - have any of you who use such settlement icons ever tried less of a straight foundation-line?

Please take all these as suggestions from someone who cannot come even *close* to producing something that looks so good - I like this a LOT already!

Ilanthar
05-26-2014, 05:53 AM
Wow, that's a big and constructive comment! Thanks a lot for this and the rep jbgibson :)

About the rivers, I knew it, and just corrected it on the one below.


By jbgibson
That large southern lake is going to be very salty, with probably no plant or animal life, and it will probably grow and shrink a lot as the seasons pass, since it receives all the rainfall of a large piece of a continent.


It's an enclosed sea actually. But not very salty and with life... and it's a fantasy setting, so some scholars have strange theories : a underground river flowing to the Western Ocean, or a connexion with another Plane. Both are true of course ;)


I'm not sure I believe the two major southwestern rivers paralleling each other so far, with no indication of even a minor rise in land to separate them. In fact, the large marsh area implies "very flat" across its whole extent, yet the two rivers remain distinct even across the marshes. It would take only a few minor hill symbols to hint that at least some land between the two has a bit of elevation, and the viewer's mind would assume the rest.

Yep, you're right, thanks for pointing that out. And, I've just forgotten some past ideas here... After all, "Pierrecolline" means "Stonehill", so...

For mountains and cities, I'm not sure to catch your meaning. You seems more skilled than I am with 3D questions. And truth be told, I didn't spotted the flat bottom mountains that you're mentionning.

Well, I'll need advices and views on this. I decided to add a few more towns and indications, and mostly : all the labels. Does it look fine? Readable?

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- Max -
05-26-2014, 07:54 AM
Labels looks legible when zoomed in. Though you better have to check it at print size (if this map is intended to be print).

Ilanthar
05-26-2014, 10:01 AM
Yes, it is intended to be printed (my players would yell at me if they were forced to look at a computer screen :D). I've printed a part and it seems OK, at least to my opinion.

I added the hills in the swamps and corrected a few things. I'm thinking about putting the title in the bottom left corner. I was wondering about a legend, but I won't have the place... and I think that we can guess what is what (between castles, villages, town and fortified town/city). Please, tell me if I'm wrong about that.

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Ghostman
05-26-2014, 01:16 PM
That sea in the map's corner is just a plain area of nothing but water so it's a good place for the title. You could probably also fit the legend there if you can make it small enough.

jbgibson
05-26-2014, 03:43 PM
What I meant about the 3-d effect and a straight baseline, is

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if A looks better than B, does A look better than B?

Ilanthar
05-27-2014, 04:25 AM
A good drawing is often better than a long speech. Thanks, it's very clear now!
The funny thing is that I got that result with mountains just because I wanted a barrier feeling... generally vertical or diagonal. And so, I suspect that my flat bottom mountains are those displayed in the horizontal way.

It's indeed a good idea to apply that to cities, but I'll have problems to do it for this map. I think : 1) the icons are very small so I won't be able to do much more than you do in your example, 2) there are a lot of them... 3) the "walled" cities will pose a serious problem to get that perspective 4) there is not much time left to finish it as I'll need the map for gaming soon.

Ilanthar
05-29-2014, 10:38 AM
Thanks for all the comments and advices!

Here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/27266-kingdom-aquilonia-ave-tenebrae.html)'s the final result.