View Full Version : My first world map - please critique

07-12-2009, 06:49 AM
I'm creating a world for our table top d&d game...

Been using photoshop since forever but this was a whole new adventure! LOL


I still need to add aging to it...

And a name for my little world.

And probably a million other things I'm not thinking of.

Your help is greatly appreciated!

07-12-2009, 06:50 AM
The original is big enough to cover a tabloid sized paper 11x17. Will go to office depot to print up a big one for everyone at the table.

07-12-2009, 07:16 AM
I like it, have some rep for posting your first map.

Some of the good:
- Really big map, interesting to look at.
- Colors work well together.
- Interesting land shapes and symbols.
- Nice way to do mountains.
- Excellent choice of fonts. Would love to hear which fonts you used...

Some critique:
- Most of the rivers seem to start on lower ground? In the real world most rivers start in the mountains.
- There's some black spots near coastal regions and I can't understand what they represent. Near the "White Wasteland" label for example.
- I am not sure if the tree symbol is the best choice for this map. It doesn't look bad, but I think there could be tree symbols that looked better in this particular map. It might also be the size, the trees are pretty big.

Steel General
07-12-2009, 08:20 AM
This is quite nice, and I pretty much agree with everything Gandwarf already mentioned regarding any critiques.

Looking forward to seeing more.

07-12-2009, 10:29 AM
You might consider some various terrains such as deserts, swamps, and grasslands. People always put mountains and forests but leave everything else bare.

It's a really good map, I dig the country shades.

Estuaries, though. Not too bad, but not brilliant. And this is not the first time I've seen those "shore outline" double (or triple) lines, which don't help the estuaries at all. I need to start and Estuary Police. Problem is, I don't know what to enforce. All I can do is complain :\

07-12-2009, 11:20 AM
I'd have to agree with most of what's been said, so far, but I also have a slight nitpick about the nation borders.

The border of a nation usually follows major landmarks - whether they're natural like rivers and mountains, or artificial, like lines of longitude or latitude or something.

Here, most of your borders are near rivers, but don't follow them, and it causes things to look strange. If there was active fighting there, causing the accuracy of that border to be somewhat in question, then I could maybe see it, but that would probably be better served by some sort of mix of the two neighboring colours (maybe hashed lines of alternating colour or something) indicating a contested area.

Other than that, great first map!


07-12-2009, 11:52 AM
You might consider some various terrains such as deserts, swamps, and grasslands. People always put mountains and forests but leave everything else bare.

This is good advice, but make sure you don't overdo it. Maps can get crowded quickly if you lots of different landscapes in it.

07-12-2009, 12:55 PM
don't overdo it. Maps can get crowded quickly if you lots of different landscapes in it.
That's true. Everything in moderation.

But I also want to point out that an RP map especially wants such features for adventuring. If it weren't for RP, you wouldn't need them at all, really.

I see some slight green shading here & there, and some sandy shading around some coasts that might be intended as beaches. But I think it has to be played up and maybe even labelled. Your players will love you for it.

But yeh, moderation. You don't have to fill all your space.

07-12-2009, 02:07 PM
For me, the biggest issue is a contrast in styles. The side view towns(in nice pencil style drawings) don't match with the tree symbols which are solid black and neither of those match with the top down mountains. You have a good start here, but IMO, need to do some clean up work to synchronize the look of the map as a whole.

07-12-2009, 03:33 PM
Thanks all for the feedback! I've added some terrain and some trade routes and am looking for some better trees... If anyone knows of a good place to find map-worthy tree brushes, let me know!

07-12-2009, 04:28 PM
There's some tree brushes posted on this forum. A quick search turned up this for me, but there's probably more to be found:


07-12-2009, 04:55 PM
added some terrain and some trade routes and am looking for some better treesPost yer wip, muchacho! (Or muchacha, whatever.)

07-12-2009, 05:18 PM
Took some advice...

Added more mountains where the water comes from to (hopefully) make it look as if the water is flowing due to gravity :D

Also added some sand dunes in my desert and changed the trees...

Added traffic routes (land and sea)

Still am stumped on the title box thingamajiggie and have yet to age it or add fold lines or long and lat lines.

Please take a look and give me more advice!

Tonight is the first night of our new campaign!

Thumbnail and link to big freakin' map provided:

07-12-2009, 05:29 PM
I'm not a fan of those city & tower icons, either. For one thing, all the cities are the same. For another, the city icon looks crooked. :\ They work well enough as placeholders, but I hope you'll replace them.

I think the routes, when they aren't hugging a coast, would generally be straight, unless they are avoiding some kind of doldrum or sargasso ... or unless the pilots are dipsomaniacs. :p But I like that you included routes. Good touch!

07-12-2009, 06:36 PM
Personally, I like the city images. The repetitiveness of them does drag the quality down, though. Maybe get a couple similar images and use them for the most important cities and monuments?

Kinda like the image given to the Lonely Mountain in most maps of the Bilbo's journeys in The Hobbit


07-12-2009, 06:45 PM
I don't have anything against town/tower/castle icons per se. Just this particular set seems a little bit cliparty. I think the rest of the map is of a much more appealing style, and it deserves better than the current icons.

07-12-2009, 07:23 PM
hello fellow new person.

looks pretty good. I dont know if the intent was a sort of retro look, but I like it. I agree what just about everyone is saying (don't worry they find it in my map also),

There is one thing that I may have noticed, but may not be accurate and thats your font sizes. it looks like font sizes vary even between similar types of labels. I would tro to make them as standard as possible, just for GP.


07-12-2009, 09:39 PM
Thanks everyone for the critique...

Am working on finding more suitable clip art / brushes for the cities and towns.

As far as different font sizes goes, I was using a 10pt for bigger cities and 8pt for towns...

I guess its not obvious about the cities and towns though.

We're sitting here at the table about to begin playing and my players can't believe that I actually created that from scratch :)

07-12-2009, 11:00 PM
Even though I hand-draw any city/town icons that I need, I usually try to pick a single structure the most represents the uniqueness of a given location. Like the local wizards tower, the Ranger's Lodgehouse, a Temple or Shrine, the Lord's fortress, a major bridge or dam or... - each one different, but you don't have to come up with a dozen different town layouts, since you're focused on just one structure per site.

Now I don't mean to ask you to hand-drawn your own, but you could. Or then looks for similar themed clipart that depict single structures only.

Another way is to pick a single icon that represents a town, a village, a city, a capital, that way you have more variety at least, though several copies of the same icon.

I prefer the former method, but whichever way works best for you.


07-13-2009, 12:00 PM
Well, I've been looking for an excuse to buy a tablet for a few years now. I do a lot of photoshop work for work and have always been confined to a mouse... Now, I've got my excuse and found a small one on NewEgg for $100


Should be here tomorrow according to them so maybe I can draw up some good cities :)

07-13-2009, 05:50 PM
Ah yes, the Bamboo Fun. That one gets a lot of good reviews here so I think you'll enjoy it very much.

07-26-2009, 12:13 AM
Thanks for all the great advice! After reading some great tutorials and getting a tablet (amen!), I've made some little trees that are better fitting for my map... Or at least I hope. :)

Still need to create something better for cities, towns, temples, etc...