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View Full Version : Designing a map for a fantsy kingdom, have a look!



t_S
04-20-2009, 01:10 AM
For the last little while now, I've been working on a map for a friend of mine who is writing a novel. Figured it'd be a decent piece to stick in my folio, and I've always wanted to make something similar to his since I was a kid. :P
I've little idea on how to actually go about making maps, but after browsing through a few on here (and being thoroughly impressed), I decided that it'd be worth a go putting mine up to get some critique from people who know wha they're doing.
The kingdom itself is currently nameless, so I'll be sure to include that in once I actually know what it is.

Here are a few shots of what I've made so far;


http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/7554/draffft.jpg

This one was made after my friend described roughly how she wanted the countryside to be. Details were vague at this stage and we still hadn't come up with definite names for the towns.


http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/7849/alexland.jpg

By this stage, we'd come up with a more refined version, changed a couple names, some more details and some locations had been formed.


http://fc04.deviantart.com/fs44/f/2009/109/3/2/Fantasy_Map_by_tehShane.jpg

This is what I've done tonight. It's still not finished, I still have to add a few more landmarks in, and I want to redraw the mountain ranges as they no longer match the rest of the detailings on the map.
Parts of it may also be hard to read at this resolution because it's made primarily to be printed at A4 size.
Depending on what happens, I'll probably make a version that's more web resolution friendly later on.


• Samphire is a fancy pants coastal city and is also the capital of Annai.
.......... - Upper Class citizens with good and bad motives reside here.
• Averil is a key point for trade between the two provinces - it's also a historical battleground for a war fought between Ashrah and Annai.
.......... - It has no official leaders, but is governed by a mercenary group that commands trade in the area.
• Bryn is a small town that would probably cease to exist if it weren't near a trade route.
• Othoran is basically the city for the criminal underworld.
.......... - Prostitution, gambling, illegal trading and other sly activities happen here. People go here to disappear.
.......... - Due to being on both sides of the river, it makes the rivers mouth a controlled and dangerous place to be going in/out of unless you've got the right amount of cash.
• Ilidás is an inland city and the capital of Ashrah.
.......... - Relatively safe/well natured environment due to steady military presence.
.......... - Because it's inland, it's home to many different races that have traveled across the landscape and is quite cultural.
• Damaris is a military based (possibly private) city, akin to the Vatican. As far as I know, it helps monitor trade between the southern towns/cities and Samphire.
• Dale is a river based trading town that makes a living via the Averil trading route. It's home to the mercenary organisation that police North and South averil.

So far, I've spent a few hours working on it in total (roughly 6 I think), plus a couple more spent on creating the paper that I've superimposed the map design onto.

Once the names/locations are more finalised, instead of using a font, I'll probably write the names onto paper, scan them in and superimpose them onto the map.

I also have to redraw the mountains, as they no longer suit the rest of the maps style. I'll draw them with a finer point and add some basic shading etc. to them.
Hopefully then it'll start to look really legit.
I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out so far, although I'd love to hear what you guys think. Any suggestions?

Blaidd Drwg
04-20-2009, 03:30 AM
Really nice work.
Is there anywhere that I can get those fonts?

I actually rather like the mountains the way they are. Simple. It kind of looks like a map that one adventurer drew for another in a tavern while enjoying good beer. Making it more realistic might actually spoil that look a bit (though I'd love to see in anyway. Maybe I'm wrong ;)).
Have you considered a wet circle in a corner where someone put his dirty mug on it? :P

As for the resolution: upload your images as attachments (see below the message window when you post something) rather than using the image tags. You get a thumbnail that way and the images open in a different window when you click on them.

EDIT: hmm, I suppose a semi-intoxicated dwarf drawing a fellow adventurer a map, wouldn't have bothered with the colours. Yeah, I'm interested in seeing those mountains ;)

Gandwarf
04-20-2009, 05:06 AM
I like the style of this map, have some rep. Like Blaid Drwg I kinda like the mountains, but you can always experiment and post it up here for us to comment on :D

A lot of people writing fantasy novels it seems :D

Steel General
04-20-2009, 07:27 AM
First off... Welcome Aboard!

Secondly since you included a map in your very first have some 'rep' *bonk*

I'm quickly becoming a much bigger fan of hand-drawn maps. Your's is quite nice so far. Love the table background. While the mountains don't appeal to me personally, they do fit in quite nicely.

Map on!

NymTevlyn
04-20-2009, 08:20 AM
I actually don't like the font choices. Placenames on maps should be readable, even the artistic ones.

Karro
04-20-2009, 11:13 AM
It looks good, I think, it really does, but I do have one point of significant criticism, and it regards the font and the mountains in particular. Currently, the style of the two just don't gel together, to me. The mountains are thick, blunt lines, which is fine and doesn't look to bad, but the font is a very light, fine script. From a "hand-drawn/written" perspective, the two certainly weren't done with the same pen, and don't look they were drawn/written by the same hand. The coasts vary from the script as well, somewhat, still being a thicker line.

So, if you want it to look like one person drew the map and another labeled it, then maybe this is fine. But if you want it to look like a cohesive whole, then you'll probably need to change up either the mountains or the font, or both.





A lot of people writing fantasy novels it seems :D

Yeah... and sadly to suggest that 1 in 20 of us (yeah, I'm writing one, too) might actually get published (through a traditional, paying publisher, at least) is probabl optimistic. Of course each of us thinks ours is good enought to be that 1 in 20 that maybe does get published, but we generally lack a bit of perspective. But getting there (i.e. there = a finished novel) is half the fun, anyway! Getting paid is just gravy, right?

NymTevlyn
04-20-2009, 11:18 AM
Just self publish it via Lulu. =)

Karro
04-20-2009, 11:45 AM
Just self publish it via Lulu. =)

Sure, if you aren't so concerned about whether people read it. As I said, writing it is half the fun; having people read it (and like it) is the other half! The traditional publication format is the best way for that to happen, but I think generally that doesn't happen unless you're actually a hair better than everything else.

Anyway, that's aside, and a worry for another day. Now back to your regularly scheduled cartographic programming.

NymTevlyn
04-20-2009, 12:16 PM
There's Lulu and the Amazon store as well. Especially since the popularity of the Kindle/Kindle2 is growing. Just price them reasonably and make sure your introduction is well written.

NeonKnight
04-20-2009, 12:34 PM
Welcome to the Guild.

A beautiful map.

Gandwarf
04-20-2009, 01:08 PM
Sure, if you aren't so concerned about whether people read it. As I said, writing it is half the fun; having people read it (and like it) is the other half! The traditional publication format is the best way for that to happen, but I think generally that doesn't happen unless you're actually a hair better than everything else.

Anyway, that's aside, and a worry for another day. Now back to your regularly scheduled cartographic programming.

Writing is all the fun I think. It's almost impossible to earn any money. As a beginning novelist you shouldn't expect to receive more than a dollar for every book sold. You would need to sell many books to make a living out of it.

One of these days I am going to send my stuff to some publishers however. One of these days :D

Karro
04-20-2009, 01:19 PM
Writing is all the fun I think. It's almost impossible to earn any money. As a beginning novelist you shouldn't expect to receive more than a dollar for every book sold. You would need to sell many books to make a living out of it.

One of these days I am going to send my stuff to some publishers however. One of these days :D

Since I was a wee lad, I've always gotten a certain thrill when someone read what I wrote and liked it. As I said, getting paid would be gravy, but I'd love for more people to read what I wrote and like it... One of these days I'll have finished some of my stuff, then I'll bea able to decide whether it's good enough to think about what to do with it. My wife is having doubts that I'll finish, and I keep saying "Once I finish my map, then I'll be in the right frame of mind to start writing!"

Sigurd
04-20-2009, 03:24 PM
Since I was a wee lad, I've always gotten a certain thrill when someone read what I wrote and liked it. As I said, getting paid would be gravy, but I'd love for more people to read what I wrote and like it... One of these days I'll have finished some of my stuff, then I'll bea able to decide whether it's good enough to think about what to do with it. My wife is having doubts that I'll finish, and I keep saying "Once I finish my map, then I'll be in the right frame of mind to start writing!"


So you're 'full of crap' like I am :). Welcome to the board!


Sigurd

Gandwarf
04-20-2009, 03:47 PM
So you're 'full of crap' like I am :).

Haha, very funny :D

Anyway, it's one of the reasons I can't allow myself to map at the moment. I need to get some writing done. All I was doing was mapping stuff, lol...

Karro
04-20-2009, 03:55 PM
So you're 'full of crap' like I am :). Welcome to the board!


Sigurd

I'd say thanks, but I've been here almost a year. I believe the good welcome goes to t_S (who's friend apparently is also writing a book).

My wife, by the way, agrees with you. ;)


Anyway, it's one of the reasons I can't allow myself to map at the moment. I need to get some writing done. All I was doing was mapping stuff, lol...

My wife tells me I should do the same. But I keep thinking "how can I show the true depth of my characters if I don't fully understand the world in which they interact?" Chicken or egg, I guess...

[/threadjack]

Ramah
04-20-2009, 04:19 PM
But I keep thinking "how can I show the true depth of my characters if I don't fully understand the world in which they interact?" Chicken or egg, I guess...


I'm pretty much the same. I've written about 45k words so far in my most recent endeavour and it was becoming harder and harder to wrench the story out. I realised that much of my problem was due to me not knowing enough about the world they were playing in. I had a character turn to the south at one point and he was supposed to be internally visualising what lay in that direction between him and a certain town. But it occurred to me I knew absolutely nothing of the land around there, or even about the town other than its name. I attempted to just fudge over it but it became apparent that I was doing it more and more and I was getting less happy about it.
Just working on my map is already suggesting certain plot points to me, which is pretty cool. I equate it to knowing your characters (which is basically what the land is, another character) - if all you know about your character is a name, height and hair colour then you are going to struggle to give them a personality and they won't be able to help shape your story based on what you know about how they would react to a given situation.
I've already spent far longer away from the writing than I wished to (I expected a map would take me a few days to a week :) ) but I am confident that in the long run I will be thankful for the time spent.

Gandwarf
04-20-2009, 05:31 PM
Really guys... you are dragging me back into evil.
I just starting downloading Campaign Cartographer 3 to my new computer. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooo....
My wife is gonna kill me as soon as she sees me plopping down houses in City Designer 3.

[/threadjack]

t_S
04-20-2009, 06:10 PM
Thanks to all of you that have replied to my thread!

For those who're saying that the mountains don't fit with the rest of the map - I completely agree! As I've mentioned already, I plan on redrawing all of the mountains in a bit of a fountain pen style (with shading), possibly the coastline as well.

It's still a pretty big WIP, as none of the locations are definite - once they are, I'll more than likely ditch the font and write/scan the names in myself for a much more authentic look.
:D

Karro
04-21-2009, 10:22 AM
Thanks to all of you that have replied to my thread!

For those who're saying that the mountains don't fit with the rest of the map - I completely agree! As I've mentioned already, I plan on redrawing all of the mountains in a bit of a fountain pen style (with shading), possibly the coastline as well.

It's still a pretty big WIP, as none of the locations are definite - once they are, I'll more than likely ditch the font and write/scan the names in myself for a much more authentic look.
:D

Wow. That'll take some dedication! Good luck!

t_S
04-22-2009, 07:32 AM
-snip-

I'll move the updated image to the next page. :)

altasilvapuer
04-22-2009, 07:39 AM
So are you actually handwriting all of these names, or did you turn your handwriting into a font to use?

If the former, your consistency is amazing! I wish my writing was that artistic and consistent. Turning it into a font might well be worth consideration.
If the latter, any chance we could persuade you to release the font for others to use, as well? It's amazing, and I think it really helps that lovely rough, hand-drawn authenticity.

t_S
04-22-2009, 08:04 AM
Well, I've updated the mountains;



Now, to get to work on the coastline, the ugly little islands up the top left and to hand write all the location names. :D


So are you actually handwriting all of these names, or did you turn your handwriting into a font to use?

If the former, your consistency is amazing! I wish my writing was that artistic and consistent. Turning it into a font might well be worth consideration.
If the latter, any chance we could persuade you to release the font for others to use, as well? It's amazing, and I think it really helps that lovely rough, hand-drawn authenticity.

Currently it's just a font haha, hence why the consistency is actually *perfect* :P

I'll update it again once I've written all the names in myself. :)

Oh, and here's the font for anyone who wants to use it!;

http://www.dafont.com/search.php?psize=m&q=Jellyka+Saint-Andrew

Karro
04-22-2009, 09:46 AM
Yeah, now the mountains and font are in line together. If your handwriting can match up stylistically, as well, then this will be pretty great!

Steel General
04-22-2009, 11:02 AM
I've reattached your image so that it will use the thumb-nailer.