View Full Version : [WIP] "Proudly" presenting Westfall

08-20-2014, 10:36 PM
Hello, Cartographer's Guild! I'm new here. I think this is my first post ever, though I've lurked a bit on and off over the years. I'm getting ready to start a D&D campaign for the new edition (5e) and I'm taking the time while they publish all the books to do some serious world building.

I would like to take a moment to thank all of you. This community is pretty amazing and all of the free guidance/tutorials here are simply awe-inspiring.

I want to share my (very rough/WIP) continent map of "Westfall", which I've used a few tutorials I found here or linked from here to create. Be gentle; I'm far from done. But please, by all means, offer advice if you feel you can contribute or help me out. I'm a complete noob in both GIMP and art in general, so this is really my first go at something like this.

(I can't figure out the upload thing, so I have to post an external link unfortunately. It keeps saying it's done, but nothing shows up.)

There it is, in all its... glory? Anyway, I've quite a ways to go. I desperately need to darken up the coast so it's more readable. I would like to add some sort of "wavy" effect around the coast, and I still need to add forests, cities, roads, labels, etc. I spent half the day today working on this, mostly because I'm brand new, but I think I made decent progress for my first project. Most of this was hand drawn, with GIMP to touch it up. I used tutorials from RobA (coastlines and "parchment") and fantasticmaps.com (mountains).

Comment away!

08-20-2014, 10:56 PM
Not a bad start...I'd definitely like to see the interior of the map filled with something that doesn't match the parchment so the distinction between the two is more prominent. Not much else I feel like I can add at the moment, as the map is currently a bit sparse. I'll try to check in as it progresses.

08-20-2014, 11:06 PM
Thanks for the feedback, syris. I was trying to think of a way to differentiate the continent from the ocean without losing the "hand drawn" appearance, but I wasn't able to come up with anything. I'm hoping for the "some guy penned this on parchment" look. When it's finished, that is.

08-20-2014, 11:11 PM
Ahh...gotcha...you might just find a way to lighten the interior a bit, and then also darken the exterior a bit. It might add just enough extra contrast so that the interior kind of "pops out" a bit more...
A layer with a shade of black (to darken) and a shade of white (to lighten) set over your main picture with mode set to "overlay" can darken/brighten pretty easily...

08-20-2014, 11:27 PM
Do you have any advice for how I can lighten the interior without losing the hand-drawn feel? My only concern is that if the continent "pops" too much from the paper, then it will be hard to recognize that it's ink on paper. I definitely have some work to do, but I'm not sure yet how to differentiate those regions without conceding the ink-on-paper style.

08-20-2014, 11:29 PM
I did a sort of quick and dirty overlay brighten/darken layer over your main picture...See if something like this strikes your fancy...

08-20-2014, 11:33 PM
You are clearly much more skilled in the digital arts than I am :) How did you manage that without the xcf file with all the layers? Also, while I love this (really I do), how do I justify the "dude with pen" appearance? How does somebody scribble in a lighter interior? Just noob questions :)

08-20-2014, 11:38 PM
I just captured the picture from your post and edited on top of it. Doing an overlay layer is pretty simple stuff, just add a new layer, and find the "Mode" setting, and set it to overlay. Put black where you want it darker, and white where you want it lighter. You can probably do it even faster than I did since you have all your layers to work with, so you can use your selection tools to better isolate each region and properly brighten/darken.
As far as justification...think about it like someone shading in the exterior portion of the paper to create a darker area to sort of frame in the interior image. When you draw some things with pen or pencil, it's not uncommon (or, at least I don't think it is...) to fill in the outer edges with a darker tone so that the centerpiece of what you're drawing is pushed to the forefront...
So...don't think of it as "He made the interior lighter", think of it as, "The interior color is what the whole page looked like...and this guy meticulously shaded in around the continent to give better contrast to his coastal divisions..." ;)

Mark Oliva
08-21-2014, 03:12 PM
You might want to think about just posting your stuff here instead of linking to Google whatever.

All your link does is tell me to log into my Google account (don't have one) or create one. Not by the hair of your chinny chin chin would I create a Google account!

So ... only those who want to play Google games can look at your work. That seems kind of pointless to me (unless you're a Google sales rep) when you could post your work here, like most of the rest of us do.

Stephen Koch
08-21-2014, 03:41 PM
I wouldn't even bother with lightening the interior. If a person really is putting something down on parchment they will have a color palette of two. The ink color and the parchment color. Just continue to fill in the landscape and human-scape with the ink brush and I think you will achieve the effect you want. Right now, because it's sparse, it may seem like something is off. But in the end with artistic embellishment on the compass, the legend, the oceans, then it will fill in nicely.

08-21-2014, 04:36 PM
Mark, I mentioned above that I tried to upload directly to the forum and it failed repeatedly, so I gave up and used a link to Drive. I'll try again later (I'm pretty busy tonight), but you can, in the meantime look at the one syris posted. It's exactly the same except that he lightened the interior of the continent.

08-21-2014, 06:00 PM
Stephen has a good point there...once everything is all dialed in, the continent might stand out a bit more all on its own.
Another idea I had is maybe putting a light "cross hatching" style outline around your hard edges...it could retain the pen look while still deepening the contrast between land and sea...

08-21-2014, 06:30 PM
I may try that. My plan was to use the "wavy lines" style I've seen on these boards (almost like literal waves around the coastline). I'll play with it and see what looks better. As for the lightening, I'll try it without first and see how well it reads. My number once concern is that it read well and look good. Second priority is keeping the "ink on parchment" style believable.

08-21-2014, 07:17 PM
I have no idea what I'm doing wrong (or if it's on my end), but I can't upload the image directly myself. I've tried 3 different browsers (Chrome, FireFox and IE) using the both the "embed image" and the "attachments" buttons and no dice. It seems to upload fine - all the way to 100% - then the upload dialog goes away and nothing has changed.

08-24-2014, 10:26 PM
Still failing miserably to upload to the site. I even tried to add it to an album. No success.

Anyway, if anybody is willing to look at the file on Drive, here's my progress so far...

08-24-2014, 11:15 PM
Definitely easier to tell land vs water now that the inland region is less sparse...at a glance it looks like it's coming along quite nicely...

08-24-2014, 11:27 PM
Thanks, syris. I also darkened up the coast considerably. The tut I followed to "fractalize" the coast left it awfully thin, so I printed it out and went over it with a pen. I don't know how to thicken a line in GIMP :\

08-25-2014, 02:38 AM
If your coast line is its own layer, then look up a tutorial on "stroke to path" in gimp...should help thicken the line...