View Full Version : Valcia - 'Hand Painted' Regional Relief on Aged, Cracked Sandstone

04-08-2009, 07:13 PM

First of all, I want to say a huge 'thank you' to the Cartographers' Guild and especially those who gave me critique and pointers along the way for this project. You've helped turn a good map into a great map, and I am indebted to you all. (The original WIP/Critique thread can be found here:http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5016)

Map Background:

This is the map of Valcia, the land in an upcoming novel series I've been working off/on for the past 5 or so years. I tend to be a very visual person, and wanted to make a detailed visual representation of the land in the novels to make it easier to gauge distances, travel times, etc. My sharing of this map wasn't so much a ploy to garner interest in the novels (it is still a long, long ways off from being anywhere close to complete), but rather to gain insights as to how I could make the map itself better. I had worked on the map on my own and liked how it looked from a graphic design standpoint (I'm a graphic design hobbyist), but then I found the Cartographers' Guild and thought I'd get some input from those who know map-making best, especially since this was my first cartographic project (wish I would have found this place before I started though, haha).

At any rate, it quickly became apparent that my 'finished' map still needed some work. By following the graciously provided tips and pointers given to me, the map of Valcia has turned from a decent, almost 'video game-esque' map into something truly stunning and perfectly at home in an ancient fantasy setting.

Map Details:

The original version took me 15 days to create in Illustrator and Photoshop, working everyday anywhere from 4-10 hours/day. The entire map was originally sketched out with pencil & paper and scanned onto my PC some time ago, but it wasn't until recently that I decided to go all out with it.

I had tried to make a decent depiction of Valcia before by purchasing and using Fractal Mapper 8.0, but was displeased with the results (most likely due to my own inexperience with the program itself). I since decided that if I wanted this done right, I wasn't going to be able to take any shortcuts and needed to do it myself - by 'hand'.

I started by tracing over the sketch in Illustrator and 'hand-drew' (pencil tool & brush effects) all the lines, outlines, and details - rivers, lakes coastlines, islands, forest, and yes - even the mountains (very tedious). Once I completed all the outlines in Illustrator, I ported the data over to Photoshop to fill in the color and visual effects, and added in all the labels.

Every detail in the map is unique - meaning that every river, forest, lake, mountain, etc was individually drawn in and detailed. Also, every element in the map is original content created specifically for the map (IE no generic elements were used, such as symbols, trees, towns, etc) except for the fonts, of course.

It then took another few days of tinkering with it to get it where it is now, once again thanks to the pointers I received from this community. I added in a gritty sepia overlay to make it feel more aged, changed all the fonts to more 'hand-written' styles, added a crack for realism, and rendered some lighting effects which produced the result attached below.

Feel free to use this map for whatever personal uses you like. If the novels don't take off, at least the map will get some use this way, haha. And if the novels do get published, I guess you all can say 'I knew him when'. :)


- Auth

04-08-2009, 07:19 PM
That is a work of beauty! What a lovely map. Wow! That definitely deserves some rep!

04-08-2009, 11:24 PM
Very sexy map! Love the soft look to it. Gonna have to rep this one!

04-08-2009, 11:31 PM
Absolutely stunning! Congratulations, and thank you for sharing.

04-09-2009, 12:24 AM
Very nicely done, when I read how you did it I expected it to look more illustratorish, but it's got a very nice natural feel to it.


04-09-2009, 05:13 AM
As repeated, it is a very nice map. Good luck with writing your novel!

04-09-2009, 07:11 AM
That's one of the better maps I have seen in some time. Have you ever heard of Painter XI? It simulates natural media like watercolors, etc... plus heavy relies on using a Wacom Tablet to do that with... consider it, I think it is more you style then JUST Photoshop and Illustrator.

Wow, again thats a great map. I made it my Desktop Wallpaper to help inspire me... thanks :)

Steel General
04-09-2009, 07:36 AM
Bee-yoo-tee-full! :)

04-09-2009, 10:02 AM
The map is beautiful, and the publisher won't even have to hire an artist to do a map for you!

Seriously, if you do get published, put in a good word for me, eh? ;)

04-09-2009, 03:28 PM
nice map! repped

04-10-2009, 01:29 PM
That there is a beauty!

Have some rep!

04-11-2009, 03:00 AM
Thank you all very much. I really like how it turned out, and it's all thanks to the community here. :)

04-11-2009, 04:06 AM
I love the hand drawn mountains. Don't think I've seen them done this way before. Everything blends in nicely. Rich and soft colors. And what ads to this great work is the simplicity of the compass. Never ever have I seen a compass that simple but blending in so perfect. Reps, reps, reps...10/10.

08-27-2010, 09:40 AM
Gotta join in with the praise-heaping here! So far, this is my favorite map on this site, which is saying something, as there are some incredible maps here.

If I may be so bold, I noticed on your original thread that this was a version for the community, separate from your personal version. I am working on a D&D-style roleplaying game, with only my family involved. I have been searching for a world map to base my campaign in. I would be honored if you would grant me permission to use your Valcia map for my campaign world. The only request I would make is if you have an unlabeled version (so I can do my own labeling specific to my campaign setting) in hi-res (so I can print out sections as needed) you would be willing to share. Again, it would be strictly for personal use for my game. Thank you for your time & consideration of my request, regardless of your answer. Again, incredible work & a beautiful map.



email: synjon416--at-yahoo.com

08-28-2010, 06:47 AM
fantastic ... where can I read the background story of this world? ;)

08-28-2010, 10:11 AM
Absolutely beautiful!! I especially love the mountains, as I am currently working on making my own mountains more differentiated and detailed.

08-28-2010, 10:21 AM
great map - have some rep :)

09-08-2010, 03:04 PM
This is absolutely stunning. Obviously all of the time and energy you put into this was well spent. Any update as to any progress with the novel(s)?

Kiarelle Alaisdair
04-25-2011, 12:48 PM
This map is what lead me here, very very inspiring.

Ryan K
04-28-2011, 10:22 PM
Wowie! That really is a nice one! Duly repped, dude!

How in hell did I miss this one?

05-03-2011, 09:59 PM
This is one of those maps that I can just stare at for a while soaking in the detail. I love it! Repped.

05-03-2011, 11:41 PM
I'm awestruck. Rep.