View Full Version : WIP - Floating Isles

09-18-2008, 09:02 AM
I broke ground on this map tonight (Wednesday into Thursday). It is a regional map showing an enormous floating island with its various companion isles (also floating) from my Skybourne setting.

Again. Reasonably large format. 20"x32" approximately on parchment. Hand drawn 100%. I have a good feeling about this one despite its rather unexciting look at this stage.

So I plan to stay up after work, (I work grave shift) and finish up the ink portion, take a rest and then get up and paint it. Hopefully tomorrow night I'll rescan it and have a finished piece to show.


09-18-2008, 05:19 PM
Looks Great Arthnek.

I love hand drawn work. It has a good feeling to it. Any chance you could give us some details of your circled regions? They look really interesting.

Is it all one country?


Any chance of a better scan?

09-19-2008, 02:35 AM
Thanks for the encouragement.

Here is the finished ink work. The circled areas are important settlements located on the upper surface of the floating isles. Weather approaches from the far side of the isle and the body of the isle and opposite cliffs act as a sort of natural barrier to wind and storms...thus why most larger ports and settlements are built on that side of an isle.

One of the locations is the Duchy of Krymone and the City State of Krymone itself is circled. Krymone has a sort of early renaissance period tech level / conquistador feel and is engaged in the conversion of viking / iron age style pagani dwelling at the interior of the isle.

The floating isles are plagued with something called "the dust" which taints the living and animates the dead. Because the Isles of Krymone had been a frequently contested battlefield in ages past the dust has plenty of fodder to animate, forcing civilized areas to surround themselves with a wall to keep out the evil stalking the countryside after dark. The denizens of the isles use flying mounts and specifically dragons to attempt to fly up and destroy incoming storms of the dust as much as possible before they arrive at the isles. Dragon Riders of Pern meets Dawn of the Dead and The Village.

I didn't have a chance to paint this yet but I have my paints ready and will break ground on that tonight.

09-19-2008, 02:38 AM
I'll try and post a better scan after I get a chance later tonight.

09-19-2008, 12:52 PM
First, awesome idea, the floating islands bit, it's something I've been wanting to fiddle with as well. And the background sounds like a wonderful adventure rich setting. Second, the sheer size and scope of the map. Poster-sized and stuff. I like. Especially it being hand drawn completely.

Then finally, I like the inked version quite a lot already. Though the pdf is kinda pixelized at 100%, you can see a lot of detail everywhere, but not so much it clutters everything.

I'm eager to see what it will end up like :)

09-23-2008, 06:36 AM
Here is the final map as a digital file.

This was hand drawn at 24" x 32" on heavy parchment in ink. Then I used simple watercolors to color the map.

Finally I scanned it in on an oversize scanner and ran it through a simple filter to smooth some of the transitions in the watercolor to make it look a little more "finished".


This was largely a learning experience in the arena of painting with watercolors but I did learn a great deal. Next map will be smoother. Ultimately I'll finish a key seperately and drop it into the corner as a final piece.

09-23-2008, 06:47 AM
Here is a tighter detail of the lower left corner. Working in such a large size gives some flexability in how tight I can zoom or how far out I can pan using the same piece.

Still I could improve this by using white more efficiently around the lettering, improving the quality of the lettering by going to a caligraphy pen, etc...which I plan to use for the next go around.


This was a fun project and I'm looking forward to the next piece.

09-23-2008, 08:42 AM
Wow :). There is definitely room for improvement with your use of watercolours, but it's a very hard medium to master, and this looks pretty good! It's amazing how some relatively simple colouring can bring such a map to life :).

Steel General
09-23-2008, 10:16 AM
Very nice, looking forward to seeing more of your work.

09-23-2008, 02:55 PM
Love your work.

Rocketship Empires looks like fun too!

09-23-2008, 06:50 PM
Dude, sweet. I gotta try this myself. Nice job.

10-16-2008, 12:09 PM
Very impressive piece of work! I, too, would like to hear the story behind the circled areas...

The Stoat
10-18-2008, 01:32 PM
This a really beautiful map. I am curious if the island is floating what force keeps this group of island together. Is it like an iceberg and actually what you see is all one island connected below water level?
The circle around the cities reminds me of how some maps mark regions for expanded view. Did you ever consider using that to provide a more detailed view of the cities on a revision of this map in the future?
I would also love to hear more of the story behind it being a floating island. Does it come close to any other lands? Does it move in a fairly regular pattern? Can the inhabitants control its movement to any extent to say avoid other less mobile islands?
The map is one of the best I have seen. It is beautiful and simple and has a look that fits your theme.