View Full Version : World Map for WIP book(s) - take one...

08-19-2014, 06:49 PM
So I've been slowly building this world for I don't know how many years, but it's always been in a fairly abstract way (kingdoms, conflicts, history, etc...), but the overall land development was rarely fleshed out. There's some basics I know I want/need to have, but one area that I never had anything sorted out was rivers, so I can already hear the screams of outrage when I post a version with rivers telling me that I'm breaking the fundamental laws of nature because of where my rivers are...I promise...I'll fix those as the errors are pointed out.

As a side note, I don't intend for any of the rivers in the south to make it into the final build of this map, as most of them have almost entirely dried up from an extended drought, which is one of the primary problems in the south.

Anyway, I don't want to start rambling about the history and what not, because if I do, I'll be here all day, and people will start throwing things at me.

So this is my starting point, it was 6 pieces of 8.5x11 grid paper, hand drawn, scanned, grid lines removed, and cleaned up so it was basic lines on a white background.
The image has been reduced in size because I have no idea how large of an attachment I'm allowed to post.


08-19-2014, 07:20 PM
I somehow have very little in the way of functional "in between" pictures between the initial hand drawn scan and my next picture, but oh well.

So first things first, the mountains are brushes that I found on this site, and I think credit goes to Ramah, though if I'm wrong, please correct me and I will give the appropriate credit where credit is due.

Secondly, there are waterways in this edit, so here's a note on that:
1.) The scattered looking inland water is the after effect of doing some edge roughing work on the map to give it a more "organic look", some of them will be turned into actual lakes, rivers, or dried lakes/rivers, some will be filled in.
2.) The lakes/rivers south of the mountains are fairly "set", so I can't blame their design on my previous "roughing the edges" explanation. If you find yourself going, "Well, well, well...looks like we have ourselves another river rule breaker here at the cartographers guild..." Then by all means, let your grievances be heard and I'll try to fix them so that I don't further anger the great map gods and thereby incur their future punishment.

The mountain range that cuts the north from the south probably needs some work, and I'm aware of that. When I was putting them in, I got careless, and I can see some overlapping lines from where one brush sits on another.

And lastly...all the shading that's currently done in the island looking masses in the south are more or less me experimenting with shading to try to work on land shaping, so some of that may not stick around, some of it will.

Apologies for the rambling.

08-20-2014, 06:37 AM
As someone who's been called out on breaking the laws of rivers, I think you're good except for the very first split in two of your major rivers. I do really like the way you drew the river bending into the mountains at the source, it looks really cool and its not something you always see. Also, I like the huge ass mountain look you have going on in the the middle of the map, but you're going to have a tough time drawing anyones' attention away from the middle of the continent because of it. By the way, what are the two swirls near the center of the map? Is that some of the inland water effects?

08-20-2014, 05:02 PM
Thanks for the insight! I made the mistake of running rivers with a "well...that looks nice" mindset, and then after the fact was like, "oh yeah, 'rivers merge, they rarely divide'...better fix that," and then went backwards and tried to clean em up. So, not too surprised that there's still some river rule breakin' goin on in there. :P
I have a bad feeling that you're gonna end up being right about those central mountains, and that eventually, I'm gonna regret having them look like they do. Only justification I have for it is that the range and the specific large mountains all work for the naming conventions I have established...though, in truth, I could have achieved that same effect with mountains that aren't quite so...imposing...
And as for the swirls in the land texture, the reality of that is, I got to those sections of land and started shading, and was like, "Ya know, it'd look kinda cool if there was a sort of whirlpool effect...but ON LAND!" Makes no sense really, but hey...there it is...I have a world component that I have in mind that needs a home, and I might use that area for it...I dunno. The one farther north, I wanted it to look like the land sort of eroded and rippled downwards to where water level is, creating a sinking land effect...almost a quicksand type region perhaps. Not fictional "swallow you alive" quicksand, just the kind of terrain you wouldn't want to travel through.

Stephen Koch
08-20-2014, 06:41 PM
I like the map Syris, But I do have a few suggestions :P

First, I'd like to say that rivers flow down both sides of a mountain range (unless there is something specific about the range that prevents it), so having one or two large rivers merge and flow away on the norther side of the continent will tie in that portion of the map to the southern portion.

Second I would like to mention that the shading on the mountains may be a little dark. The contrast of them to the land, is fairly sharp right now and detracts, in my opinion, from the map as a whole. The high contrast really draws the eye to the mountains, and if they are central to the map, no pun intended, then the contrast will work for you. Otherwise I would suggest lightening them slightly.

And third, I would not add any more mountains. Right now they look great where they are and it gives the impression that two continental shelves have been pushing together for 30 million years or so now. I think that adding any more would make it look awkward.

And finally a note on rivers in general. They do can split, so its not always breaking the laws of nature. If a river meets an object that is hard and not easily erodible, then it will simple flow around, and depending on the size of the river, it can end up flowing in two separate directions. Just remember, that ultimately, rivers follow the laws of gravity; they will take the shortest and easiest route to sea level, and only move aside when they encounter something that takes decades or more to erode.

08-20-2014, 07:25 PM
Thanks for the input, I'm not entirely sure what you're suggesting with your first suggestion, and I feel like I probably should...you mean I need more rivers through the southern parts of the mountains...if so, I planned on that, I just haven't gotten there yet...weaving rivers through the mountains is tedious, and I've shifted from that to land shading because it's slightly less tedious. If that wasn't what you meant, is there any way you could post a visual with some arrows or somethin? I'd definitely prefer to get some of the more "organic" concepts of the layout nailed down before I throw up the "mission accomplished" banner and have everyone go, "Oh...yeah...hey...good job...EXCEPT!"
The mountains are actually a pretty big deal in this continent...not sure if they're such a big deal that they should be that dark, so I might try to lighten em up...it shouldn't be that hard to do (fingers crossed).
As a quick aside (hopefully quick anyway) the mountains are meant to have a big imposing look for a few reasons, but namely it stems from the namesakes that go with it, the entire range is called "The Leviathan", and is supposed to have a shape reminiscent of a massive monster laying dead, with "The Tail" in the south-west, "The Spine" through the center, "The Horns" near the top, "The Nose" on the far east coast, and the curved section beneath is "The Teeth", and that little bit of land extending back towards the "The Nose" is called "The Tongue"...Figured it made sense, on some level, to have mountains that gave the vibe of some enormous titan of a beast that protrudes from the earth, reminding men that once this land was walked upon by creatures of such enormity that only gods could put them down.
Ok...so...that wasn't that quick...apologies... :P
And worry not, those are all the mountains for this region...I think they already border on being "a bit too much".
And again, thank you for your input! :D

08-20-2014, 08:09 PM
Shading/Shaping of the southern continent is...done...ish...I dunno, it's what it is, I'll change it if criticisms or suggestions move me in that direction.
Had a nice looking overlay I've been waiting to paint over the top of it, but wanted to get the south shaded first, so here that is, shaded and with an overlay to make it look...how...it...looks... :P

Stephen Koch
08-21-2014, 04:26 PM
My first comment was meant to say that if you have a range going from sw to nw, then you will have rivers flowing off the range heading in both the se direction and the nw direction. Sorry I did not make that more clear before.

08-21-2014, 09:57 PM
Ah...gotcha. See...that's my problem with rivers, or at least one of em, I end up putting lines down and thinking, "Gee...that sure looks nice!", and totally forget that there's a method to nature's madness, and it has nothing to do with how nice I think it looks. I feel like I just followed the directional path of the coast with my southern rivers because it gave me a chance to make them longer, but yeah...now that I'm looking at it, my rivers should have traveled more eastward than westward, yes? :P

08-23-2014, 01:12 PM
"Dried up" some of the rivers, tried to give it the look like they used to be there, and now they've left behind low inland areas where the ground looks like it still has the deep cuts from where water once was. Not sure I pulled off that exact effect, but it's what I was going for...
Also put in some greenery. The south is meant to be more or less dead in regards to plains and forest, the aftermath of centuries of turmoil that's left the land relatively lifeless and unforgiving. As such, the regions of plant life is sparse. Not fully committed to how the green areas look, so if anyone has any comments or criticisms about it, lemme know, I got no qualms about erasing that layer and trying something else.
Anyway, here's the current state of this particular section of land...

08-23-2014, 02:24 PM
The general layout and the colors look great. I guess the thing I'm not sold on is the 'swirls' effect. The perspective is off compared to the mountains and it makes the whole map look a little skewed to me. I feel like I'm looking straight down on those areas compared to the iso/three-quarters view of the rest of the map.

08-23-2014, 10:09 PM
I've been struggling with that very issue for quite some time. Once I got into all the land shading, I felt so compelled to keep going with it that the awkward perspective shift was just dismissed in hopes that it would somehow just "come together"... I feel like that's not gonna happen... :P
Here's a capture of it without all the ground shading so it doesn't have so much of a drastic perspective shift.
I'll try to work up from this point with other terrain elements (plains, forests, etc...)

And before I forget, thank you for the input! :D

08-23-2014, 10:19 PM
Very cool. Now that you have all the detail in there the spirals and the shading give it the impression of an old dried up lava flow. You've got a ton of detail in there, now it's making me wonder about the history.

Are you going to add cities/towns on the map or are you going to do little cut aways from the bigger map for more detail (not really sure of the scale of the continent, I'm assuming it's big)? I'm mostly just wondering if your going to indicate population centers with little dots or little drawn buildings or what, because I think the map is lending itself to more detail oriented indicators, like little monuments, buildings, etc.

08-23-2014, 10:23 PM
Oops, didn't see page two and the new map you loaded up there. Comment still stands, except for the swirls. I will say without them it will be easier to place roads, cities, towns, and special places on the map- that is if you were planning on doing that.

08-23-2014, 11:16 PM
gtwucla, thanks for comments, and I do intend on putting cities in there. In that regard, I do agree that the more detail I added to the ground the more it was going to hinder placement of roads, cities, etc...having that much on the ground was probably going to start looking very messy. Having spent as much time as I did putting it in, I was probably a bit biased towards finding ways to rationalize keeping it in the mix. These things happen I suppose... :P
The history of this continent, which is the main continent in my story, is oddly long...the history of the planet, in fact, is long. When coming up with all the hows and whys for the world, I kept finding myself going, "Okay, but how did it get that way?" and by the time I stopped myself from asking that any more times, the history of the planet was back tracked all the way to a point when the world was in a different solar system...which is probably a bit more than is logical or necessary, but that's just how my brain works I guess...

08-26-2014, 08:21 PM
First attempt at putting in two of the kingdoms for this continent, tried to blend them into the world as best I could.
Two versions of the map, one with the over-done ground shading, and one with a flatter design...
Comments, criticisms, threats, etc...if ya got 2 cents, feel free to throw it my way... :D