View Full Version : The Principality of Leshan and her neighbors

05-14-2009, 04:24 PM

I decided to brush off my old fantasy campaign and it seriously needed some new maps, since I wasn't 100% happy with the old ones I had done.

I started last week with doing up the new landmass shapes based (very roughly) on the last map I had done in Illustrator a couple of years ago (attached). One of the things I'm going to do this time around is not make the Leshan area so small in comparison to the rest of the continent, but try to use the same, general basics on placement and such.

I fought with how I wanted my map to look for several days. I did one in color that I liked the general colors, but I was very unhappy with how my mountains looked on it.

I put it away for a few days and realized this morning that part of what I really like in my fantasy maps is to have a hand-drawn look, like all the hand-drawn maps that I've filled sketchpads and loose bits of paper with for years, so why not just hand draw them?

I sat down with the landmass layer on one screen of my computer and the crappy old Illustrator map on the other so I could get a rough Idea of where I wanted to put mountains, grabbed some blank paper and started drawing mountain ranges and a few individual peaks while I was at it.

I scanned all of this and either created brushes (for the small bits) and/or copy and pasted the scanned images into my map (after dumping the white background of the scans).

So far, I'm much more pleased with the results than I've been with other stuff I've done lately. I did copy and paste a couple of bits more than once, so there may be some obvious replication to the mountains (not sure), but they are all hand-drawn mountains.

I'll be doing more to it, going to play with the idea of doing forests the same way next, since it's the other area I can't get my computerized versions to satisfy me on.

Anywho, all that is just build up to show you my latest efforts. . .

Oh, this has been reduced in size for placing on the forum, the original is set up for 24" x 18" or 36" x 24", don't remember off the top of my head which. And the rough scale (which I've not put on the map yet), is that the area of leshan (the peninsula on the east coast) is about 350-400 miles across at it's widest point.

05-14-2009, 04:43 PM
I like both maps... the style of the first is very friendly to the eye I think. I can see why you don't like the mountains, but the colors mix really well.

Steel General
05-14-2009, 04:44 PM
Nice - the black and white is particularly pleasing.

05-14-2009, 04:44 PM
That's lookin great so far. I also like the colors you chose for the older one. Good good stuff.

05-14-2009, 04:55 PM
I think both maps look really great. Not sure why you seem to hate the old one but I really like it. Simple yet very effective with great colours.

The new one is really wonderful though and I'm really looking forward to seeing how you handle the forests. :)

05-14-2009, 06:29 PM
Nice start.

05-14-2009, 06:49 PM
I think both maps look really great. Not sure why you seem to hate the old one but I really like it. Simple yet very effective with great colours.

The new one is really wonderful though and I'm really looking forward to seeing how you handle the forests. :)

I'm gonna go with the crowd here. I think both maps are very nice. The color palette and simple, abstract shapes on the first one make for a very clean and stylized map. Don't be so hard on it... it deserve some love!

The new one is also banging.

05-14-2009, 09:18 PM
Thanks for the comments.

I think if I could have found a different solution for the mountains, I would have been much happier with the way the old one had turned out. If I colorize the new one, I'll probably stay close to the same palette on the colors.

Hope to have some forest tests tomorrow - been watching the season finale of smallville tonight and it's about time for bed

05-15-2009, 11:02 AM
Today has been slow at work, so I've been working on my forests. This simulates the style I typically use for showing major forests and woodlands on my hand-drawn maps.

My big question is, with or without legs? (The tree trunks. . . I've put them in around some of the northern woodlands, but not on the rest. . . Tell me what you think)

I've labeled some of the major terrain features and the three countries of the region. There are a couple of very significant and powerful city-states, but I don't know if I should label them on this size map or wait until I do the closer-in view. They exist on the coasts on opposite sides of the Sea of Dust.
Opinions more than welcome

After Lunch, I may try a colorization of what I've done.

Steel General
05-15-2009, 11:16 AM
Very nice :)

05-15-2009, 11:19 AM
I like the version with trunks best but either way looks cool.

05-15-2009, 11:33 AM
I like the version with trunks best but either way looks cool.

I like trunks too.

You might try either lightening the trunks, darkening the forest outline, or adding some shadow. Its subtle and people may well disagree, but I think the trunks stand out a little bit too much.

05-15-2009, 12:08 PM

I wondered if the trunks were too dark. I'll try lightening them up a bit when I go add more in.

05-15-2009, 03:18 PM
I'm going to show you three versions that I did this afternoon.
I have a black and white, a colorized version and a parchment background version.

Whattya think?

Now I have to decide which version I'm gonna run 2 copies out on my plotter and mount to my office wall and my home study wall :D

05-15-2009, 03:33 PM
Wow, you certainly have been busy!
I prefer the second... I like colors :D
The first is my second favorite and the third comes last. I don't really like the brown look.

05-15-2009, 04:25 PM
My 2 cents is that you need more tree trunks, also make em a lil longer but thinner. I'd vote for the third if you went to far as to add a vast amount of labeling and colors for borders and some antique effects (like stains, rips, burns, etc.)

05-15-2009, 05:00 PM
I think I'm in agreement with Gandwarf - coloured first, then the white one.

They all look great though. :)

Steel General
05-15-2009, 07:08 PM
Though I like the b&W one the best, if you're going to print, mount and hang one Id go with the colored one.

To me the third seems incomplete, almost bland in a way - though if you followed some Ascension's suggestions about 'weathering' it I think it would "come to life".

05-17-2009, 09:48 AM
Decided that with some weathering and tattering, the parchment map would make a nice player handout for an adventure hook, so this is what I wound up with