View Full Version : Nameless Bolkenheim

07-11-2009, 02:18 PM
Heyo, it's been about a week+ since I signed up here on the forums. Since then I've been doing a ton of research, a lot of experimentation, and a lot of pipeline building to create this map. And being my first map, I am happy with it.

If I had only one thing to say about the cartography and the processes behind creating maps (which I don't!), I must say that after doing it, my respect for everyone in this field has shot up by a large exponential factor. This stuff is hard. But I must say, it is also very rewarding. I busted out every chop I know that was relevant to an illustration like this, and more.

To give a brief summary of this map, this took me around six days to complete. I used Photoshop CS4, and my Wacom tablet to paint this. Most of my research came from the forums, local cartography archives (aka town hall), people in the field, and a lot of peer review with my fellow friends and classmates here in Burlington, VT. I wanted a direction I felt was functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Readability was a big concern of mine, and this became a halting point when applying typography since I refused to relinquish my color pallet. Thanks to a constant critique process, I was able fix a lot of my issues and to finally get a result I was happy with. Also, this map is based on a DnD campaign I am running for my friends. My naming conventions are lacking any level of caring for fantasy names in general (and I am horrible at thinking of names to begin with), so I simply wrote down the first thing that came to mind when creating this land. Have fun picking out my jokes!

I can go on for hours... and I will! I am writing a tutorial for how I made this map. But for the sake of brevity, I will cut this post here and attach the link to the tutorial later. Taking the time to sit back and record a process is a great form of reflection, and is something I feel all designers and artists should try out - it is very beneficial to improving one's work flow, I believe. And finally, I want to thank CG for being a great inspiration. This process was so fun, I can't wait to start up another (bigger) project!


07-11-2009, 02:23 PM
That's one very very pretty map. I like the style, definately.

The river police, tho... they be coming ;)

07-11-2009, 02:28 PM
River Police: Bring it on. :D

Seriously though, C&C is welcome, always. One can't get better without a critical eye (or in my situation, acknowledge that I know nothing and try again)! :)

07-11-2009, 02:45 PM
Beautiful map! The colors work really well together and the mountains look great. I also like the symbols you used. A tutorial will definitely be a great addition to this forum.
Consider yourself repped.

Now, as I have been recently added to the river police force:
- Near the Far Reach and Aissur you have a river that starts and exits into the ocean and it's also splitting. Rivers tend to start on the high ground (mountains mostly) and then exit into the ocean. They seldom split, as the water takes the path of the least resistance.
The rivers there might also be considered straits by the way. Still, they wouldn't normally split.

Just remember this is your map and you can do whatever you want with it, especially if you have a good reason for it.

07-11-2009, 02:58 PM
Oh, and as for the place names. Interesting world.
I can see locations that remind me of wodka, artists (Blue Man Group, lol?), ancient locations buried by volcanoes, modern cities, ancient computers (Amiga ftw), etc.

Your map is really something to look at. Very interesting.

07-11-2009, 03:01 PM
Thank you! And thank you very much for the river critique - frankly, I only loosely tried to originate them in highland areas, and I put in splits only for what my mind either perceived as aethetically pleasing or as a good spot to screw my DnD party. :)

Let me know if you find my pipe bomb. :D Also, Tomb of the Mind Flayers: that is totally there just to screw with my party. They're level 9 but they don't know the name of the keep they are encroaching upon.

Steel General
07-11-2009, 04:24 PM
This is very nice, Gandwarf covered the river infractions so need to to expound further on those.

Well done...

07-11-2009, 10:31 PM
There are quite a few river violations; mostly of the going from ocean to ocean kind but there are a couple of splits and lakes with multiple exits as well. The river shapes are great though and the color palette is gorgeous.

07-11-2009, 10:39 PM
very nice! what other art type work do you do?

07-15-2009, 12:38 AM
Ascension: Thank you very much! I will be sure to pay better mind to the anatomy of the rivers next time, I assure you all on that much. :)

misteradam: Funny you ask, since it is what's preventing me from finishing this tutorial I promised as fast as I want to (I will get it done)! At the moment I am technically unemployed (I hate this economy!), but I'm doing volunteer work with some friends on some production projects, and I am an intern for a company I am under NDA with, doing environment art. Sometime in the near future I can tell ya' what specifically but its a video game and its a very damn good one. :)

I specialize as a game production artist, 3D asset creation and conceptualization via illustration/painting. I am currently a student at Champlain College, entering my senior year. If you ever see me mention the gauntlet I pass my work through before I approve it for posting at a place like here, conceptart.org, zbrushcentral, etcetc, those are my friends, peers, professors, and coworkers I know at Champlain, usually. :)

07-16-2009, 11:46 AM
This is amazing! It's a great map!

Would you mind if I used this map in my own D&D game (I am about to start crafting a world for my PC's to live in, they'll be playing in about 2 months)?

Great Map!

07-16-2009, 03:16 PM
This looks pretty great. I love the overland map, and the color palette.

My only critique is that the ocean/sea portion of the map doesn't really fit, stylistically, with the land. I really like the look of the land; I wonder what could be done to bring the sea in line.

As for interesting names, I see:

Gates of Iraq
Mines of Barack (Obama?)
Car Bomb
Pipe Bomb
Liter? bomb
and an oddly Spanish "Los Cincos Muertes"... (was that from Lost World: Jurassic Park?)

07-16-2009, 04:55 PM
Karro: Hahahaha! Yes! That is from Lost World!

Ingingsvar: I have no problem with anyone using the map I posted for personal purposes. Copyright rules apply of course. :)

Also, the tutorial I promised is still being cooked - I got sidetracked by a deadline I'm on. Need money to eat! :)

07-16-2009, 05:00 PM
Ingingsvar: I have no problem with anyone using the map I posted for personal purposes. Copyright rules apply of course. :)

Sweet! Thank you so very much.

@Karro: Kudos to you on the names (and the cartographer as well!)! I did not even notice that!

07-20-2009, 06:01 PM
Ahahah, yeah, Dan's got quite the collection of names sprinkled throughout this map.

I see

Schmirnov Mountains
Magi-Nation references (Naroom, Cald)
The Towns of Goron, Boron, and Moron
Gibraltar Range
Lwo Reab (Bear Owl)
The Gap

10 bucks says that there are more references that I just don't get.

07-29-2009, 07:51 PM
VERY nice piece of work!

Maybe the River Police got on you; but I, as self-appointed Estuary Inspector, give the thumbs up.

08-06-2009, 03:12 PM
Oh very usable! I couldn't create something like that.

I looked at the mentioned river issue more as a split in the continent composed of salt water. I only now realized it was supposed to be a river, so I don't think it matters much.