View Full Version : Practice Map

07-28-2014, 06:03 PM
Hi all!

I've decided to finally get back to mapping and thought I could start by actually learning how to map using Photoshop. Most of my maps up until this point were just simple sketches done on paper and not worth showing here in my opinion. One exception was a challenge map I've done back in November 2012. The problem is that I have never actually finished it. That's one of the reasons I've decided to start this thread. I've always had trouble with finishing any of my maps and this is meant to be another one of my miserable attempts at changing that. I hope that this time I am actually going to succeed... I have no idea where this map is going and how often I will have time to work on it, so updates might be slow coming. I will try to post something every week though - that's my goal at least, it's not much but for me it's very ambitious. ^^ During its creation I hope to learn new things and put into practice the knowledge I've gained from all the awesome tutorials found here. I especially want to learn how to paint digitally and how to label properly. I mainly want to concentrate on the artistic side of things but wish to figure out the technical stuff as well as much as I can. My hope is that posting a WIP thread will keep me motivated enough to continue working on this project. I'm also looking forward to all the constructive criticism you can give me. All comments are welcome and appreciated. :) I wish to improve myself and am counting on you to help me achieve that. ;)

On the first WIP: I'm fairly happy with the shape of the landmasses but am not sure about the scale. As always it's extremely difficult for me to figure it out. I thought the area could be somewhat similar in size to the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent lands. Do you think it's plausible? It would mean that the upper half of the map is an area similar in size to Europe... I'm really at a loss here so any feedback would be appreciated. :)
When I've drawn the shapes I wasn't thinking too much about the geological side of things. I placed the mountain ranges where I thought they looked right and have no idea if they are probable in real world terms. I'm not too worried about this aspect since, as I've already said, I wish to mainly focus on honing my drawing skills, but if you think that something looks wrong please tell me, I want this map to be as natural looking as possible. I have figured out more or less where the rivers and such will go, so the next step will be to draw them.
I'm not sure about the paper texture, I might change it at some point.

Pleas tell me what you think so far! :)

I will be posting links to resources and tutorials that helped me along the way. I am going to update this list as my project progresses:

> Max's tips on drawing mountains (http://www.cartographersguild.com/general-miscellaneous-mapping/27500-maxs-workshop.html#post247782)
> Coyotemax's aged paper textures (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-elements/7564-make-your-own-aged-paper-textures.html)

07-28-2014, 06:59 PM
This already looks fantastic to me! I really like the land shape and textures of the map, I think your mountains might be a little small and maybe it just seems that way since they aren't colored or anything yet. I would love to see an old grungy border around your map and I also think that would make the paper folds look better. Great job already! I really hope you do finish this map!

07-28-2014, 07:35 PM
Thank you Domino44! I plan to add the frame later on. I haven't decided yet if I want it to be simple or more ornamental. I love ornaments so I would certainly like to add some. I agree that the mountains do look small but hopefully the colour will make them look better. I'm certainly not re-drawing them. ;P To me their size is appropriate for the proposed scale though. What do you think?

07-28-2014, 08:07 PM
Wow, that looks really great so far! I think the scale of the mountains works, especially if this is a larger landmass. That's actually a good cheat to make the same landmass look like it's of differing sizes: change the sizes of your mountains, forests, other icons.

I especially like the channel between the two continents with all the hundreds of little tiny islands; lots of story potential there.

07-28-2014, 09:12 PM
Looks fabulous! I love the paper texture and the colors you've put on so far. The landmasses have nice shapes. The mountains are pretty as well, though the ranges look a little bit regularly spaced and of similar length - tapering off at equal distance from the coast. Lots of parallel ranges that are perpendicular to the channel between may not be strictly natural... but I'm not at all sure it wouldn't be... it's just something that caught my eye. I think the size of the mountains compares well with the size of the map; maybe a little larger than actual scale if the northern part is Europe-sized, but any smaller and you'd definitely have trouble painting them. Is the picture you uploaded the actual document size or shrunk down? I've found it helps to do digital paintings at least twice larger than the final image. The brushes work better, too, when they aren't just a few pixels wide. Sorry. Rambling. :) I look forward to seeing this progress.

07-29-2014, 04:58 AM
Thank you Diamond and Chashio!

I'm glad you both think the mountains are fine size wise. I am not 100% happy with the mountain placement and want to add some more to make the rages look more irregular. Maybe when I draw in the hills they will look better. I will certainly think about what you've said Chashio! I have to figure out how to justify those ranges perpendicular to the channel but for now I will just leave them be. Maybe it will come to me later what geological phenomenon could have created them. ;) I'm glad you like the colours so far, since I really like how they turned out (especially the sea). The image is downsized quite a bit. The original document is 9600x5400 pixels so I think it's pretty large. I plan to add a lot of details so I wanted to have a large space to work on. You weren't rambling btw. I really appreciate your feedback. :)

07-29-2014, 06:10 AM
As others have said, that's an awesome start!

07-29-2014, 11:46 AM
That very interesting channel between the continents got me thinking that, unless none of your cultures have water-going technology, states and cultures would be able to develop in interesting directions and not be bounded by landforms. A given cultural group could easily occupy both sides of the channel since it would be easier to sail straight across than to travel any distance inland. Does that make sense?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I really like the potential you've created!


07-29-2014, 04:34 PM
Thank you Ilanthar and Meshon!

That's an interesting thought Meshon. I will keep it in mind when deciding where to place different realms and cultures. Should be fun to figure out what influence the geography would have on the inhabitants of those lands. :)

07-29-2014, 04:44 PM
Very interesting looking landforms. One thing though, any plans for lakes? Especially in the far north and south, you have a lot of big areas to work with. Definitely interested to see where this goes, though.

07-29-2014, 05:02 PM
Thank you BlackChakram!

I am working on the rivers and lakes, hills and additional mountains at the moment. For now I have figured out a placement of one big lake and most of the rivers. I want to add a host of smaller lakes as well. I will probably post an update when I've finished drawing them.