View Full Version : New To Cartography and I'm Finding Myself Oddly Entranced

03-10-2009, 08:09 PM
Hello everybody. I'm new to the Cartography Hobby, but I'm being quickly consumed. I play Dungeons and Dragons regularly with my friends from back home in New Mexico, but I've been on a National Student Exchange to Kansas State the past year. Obviously, I haven't been gaming with them much, so I decided that I'd work on creating my own world for them to go adventuring in when I do get back home. So far, I've gotten... 3 Major continents in this world drawn up, one minor island off of the coast of one of them, and I'm working on the fourth as we speak. I'm actually taking breaks in writing this to jot some things down on that map. :lol: Anyway, I discovered this site while Googling for some hints on geographical realism because I want this world to be at least mostly realistic in its setup. So far, I'm finding a lot of useful tools here in the various forums and stuff, but I haven't taken the time to make a post myself. Something I have noticed is that there aren't many users that draw their maps by hand; at least not completely. This is what I've been doing, so I guess it's a different twist, but I've fallen in love you might say. Anyway, I'm glad to be a part of this community and I hope that I might be able to contribute some in the future.

:compass: John Boucher :compass:

03-10-2009, 09:11 PM
Welcome to the Guild, JBoucher!

It really depends on what a given mapper is looking for in a final result. Some of us hand-draw with pen or pencil, some of us draw with a drawing tablet, while some of us couldn't draw themselves out of a wet paper bag, so many depend on the capabilities of software for doing the work. There is no right or wrong method - its all good.

I like to create my coastline, mountains, rivers and other major land forms by hand (sometimes), then I scan it, color it and finish it on a PC. I have maps, though that are completely generated using software, that is drawing with a mouse, then using texture fills or even photo images to complete. The first type is usually more artistically satisfying, while the latter only takes me an hour or two to complete. It all depends on how much time I have to dedicate to a given project and how many projects I have to do.

For me, I like to hand-draw, but I hate to paint and I'm not into lineart only maps, so I need color/textures and I do that on computer.

In your case, you're making your world map for you group, and you're away, and have plenty of time to do the work. If you want to do it all by hand, great and your gaming group should appreciate it.

Truth is we love maps and mapping here, but not everyone is an artist. With the right tools and techniques cool, realistic maps can be created even by non-artists, which probably describes the bulk of members here. So we do what we can.

Post up some of your current world map so we can take a gander. Perhaps the more artistic of us can give you some direction. We all have something to offer.

Again, welcome!


03-10-2009, 10:33 PM
Well, my maps may be COmputer generated, but I actually have a little book (a bunch of them actually), where I make a hand drawn 'sketch' of where I am going to put things, and then I open up my software and bang-em-out!.

Welcome to the Guild though!

03-10-2009, 10:50 PM
I could draw out a map by hand...but I can't paint worth a lick so it's easier for me. Welcome to The Guild, enjoy your stay, and post up some work so that we can all oooh and aaah...for some reason we all seem to love the hand-drawn stuff. :)

03-11-2009, 12:16 AM
Haha, thanks, Gamerprinter, NeonKnight, and Ascension for the welcomes. :D Yeah, I completely understand the use of Photoshop. I've just never been really introduced into using it and I'm a real traditionalist. I think that second part is the real reason why I want to hand-draw everything I do.

And NeonKnight, that actually makes a ton of sense. I've liked to keep a sketchbook myself, but that was more in my days when I drew other various comic-booky things. Most of my maps kind of tend to be very outliney and colorable (yeah, I realize I just made up two words) because of it. :P

I might post some things up... a bit later. Once I've gotten more things done here, I'd probably want to showcase a little bit of it to see what other guild members think of my work. I was kind of surprised to find a Cartography Guild. I didn't realize there were so many Cartographers out there until I'd started on my own project, so it's great to find so many people out there with the same interest.

03-11-2009, 12:41 AM
I wasn't trying to say those who can't work with pen/pencil/drawing tablet weren't artists, just that we have both extremes here the true artist and the true lover of maps that can create with the help of software. Many of the maps on this site are very artistic, yet never did a pen hit a piece of paper in the making of it.

I didn't mean to insult anyone with my first post! :P


Steel General
03-11-2009, 06:54 AM
Welcome Aboard!

I will sometimes make a very rough sketch on whatever paper I have handy - actually worse than chicken scrathes is probably a more accurate description.

When I was younger I did almost everything on paper, but now the majority of my work is done on the PC.

03-11-2009, 09:47 AM
I'll add my welcome to the group.

... while some of us couldn't draw themselves out of a wet paper bag
I'd be one of these. Fortunately, there are cartography tools for even the artistically inept. I use Campaign Cartographer to assuage my mapping addiction. :)

03-11-2009, 11:35 AM
What exactly is the Campaign Cartographer? I think I've heard about it a little, but not all that much.

03-11-2009, 11:59 AM
Campaign Cartographer 3, by Profantasy, is a CAD (Computer Aided Drawing) based program with tools especially suited to create maps. Though the basic program is ideal for overland maps (regional fantasy maps), it can produce dungeons and cities. Though Profantasy offers add-on software that specifically create dungeons (DD3) and Cities (CD3) - look at any of Gandwarf's work, that's all CD3 stuff.

Plus Profantasy has both existing add-on symbol content, and offers an annual subscription that provides monthly tutorials and additional symbols for different styles or types of maps.

Profantasy offers other applications, its best to visit: Profantasy.com site. Although if you were to order, use the link on the home page of this site, the Admin gets a small kick back for purchases made through that link.

For those who are more technically adept than artistic, its an ideal program for strictly mapping work.

Others here are more expert than I, though I too have the software.