View Full Version : Story World Map

11-14-2009, 10:23 AM
Well this is my first serious attempt at doing a map. Thought I'd share what I have done so far with everyone and listen to any suggestion.

If anyone has any suggestion about a great way to represent swamp and grasslands that would be great. I have been finding that drawing the towns/castles to scatter around the my world to be very time consuming. The only place currently added is the capital, but the scan did not come through really well so I'll probably have to redraw it all over again.

Dismiss the names at the moment they are a work in progress. I want to put the 12 capitals names onto scrolls and the rest scattered around I think.

I have also been trying to create my own brushes where I could. The sea monsters are both slightly altered form of another bush I aquired and the same goes for the compass. I do think however that they turned out quite well. Now all I have to do is draw some ships to scatter around the place and my sea area will be all finished (maybe a couple of mermaids).

I'm doing this with Photoshop CS4. The water texture is drawn on using a mixture of soft lighting at about 24-27% opacity for both the shallow and deep water with a solid brown colour on the background. The land mass was then created using the lasso tool to delete out all major areas I didn't want and then I used the eraser to create the rivers. I don't know if it's the best way to do it but that's the way I have been doing it.

I have read some tutorials from the forum and have found them very useful.


11-14-2009, 10:55 AM
I really like the way you've done your sea, it looks great. And your coastal shape is very nice too.

The rivers are a cause for concern and I'm pretty sure the river police with be writing you a citation soon.
Your mountains are kinda strange. Some are really thick and heavy and then some are quite thin and delicate.

Good start. Keep it up.

11-14-2009, 11:05 AM
wow that looks really good so far. can't wait to see it done.

as for grasslands and swamps, generaly lines sticking up at various degrees is your best bet

ie: \||/ for grass lands

_\|/._. for swamps/wetlands

take some looks at psyekl's maps if you need ideas for detail ;)

11-14-2009, 05:58 PM
Thanks guys for the comments.

I just realized from your comments that some of my rivers are facing the wrong direction . And I think you are right about my mountains. Initially I used a mountain brush I created and scattered it around the map using size and scatter on the brush and deleted the mountains I did not required. Then I got my hands on some mountain brushes and started updating the landscape to add a pass and a volcano on the island and couple of other mountains which has resulted in the change in mountains. Wanted to keep the terrain stylized which is creating this problem so I'll probably revisit the landscapes.

Thanks once again for the advice.


11-14-2009, 10:13 PM
Just finished creating a brush to represent shipping for my map and thought I'd share what I've created so far. Every brush was created using the default Hard Elliptical 45 brush set to a size of 6. They have all been created using a mouse which is painfully slow. (I must give recognition that two the sea monsters and compass is not all mine. I have attached the originals to the brush pack)

I have deleted my generic mountains I created and have now been hand (mouse) drawing them in. Also I have flipped/changed some of my rivers so they are flowing towards the sea instead of the other way around. So Ramah thanks for the suggestion I think it looks a lot better now.

Rythal I still have to looking into psyekl's work which I will be doing shortly.


11-15-2009, 05:41 AM
Actually your rivers are still very strange/wrong. There are many posts on here about how rivers will actually flow so I won't try to go too far into it here but I think it is Ascension who recommends imagining the river as a tree, with the trunk being the main river entering the sea and the branches are any smaller rivers or tributaries that join the river further up. Your rivers are splitting on the way to the sea, which isn't normal and also your lakes have more than one outflow, apart from those which have none. :)

I much prefer your new mountains by the way. But let me get this straight... you drew that little sailing ship with a mouse? That's very good. I know how hard it is to draw a single line correctly with a mouse so kudos for that.

11-15-2009, 06:50 AM
I like the map. Interesting landmass, forest looks good.
The mountains still don't fit in I think. They are made of really thick lines and attract too much attention.

As for the rivers:
- They generally start on high ground (mountains).
- They end up in the ocean.
- They don't split as water takes the way of least resistance. An exception to this is near the coast, where a river might form a delta.
- Lakes can have multiple inlets but generally have only one outlet.

11-15-2009, 06:06 PM
I much prefer your new mountains by the way. But let me get this straight... you drew that little sailing ship with a mouse? That's very good. I know how hard it is to draw a single line correctly with a mouse so kudos for that.

Thanks for the encouragement and yes the sailing ship was done with a mouse. I am still trying to come up with the funds to buy a wacom pad. The two things that I think that help me draw nice lines with a mouse is to ensure that I use the shift key to connect two points where ever possible. The second things is I get a nicer rounder stroke pulling the mouse towards the body so I try to move in that direction as much as possible. So I flip the image constantly and so I can stay on that angle.

Gandwarf I agree that the mountains draw a little to much attention specially now that I'm trying to draw names and travel routes. Sometimes I think I should ditch the who idea of a map created with ink and parchment and move onto a more realistic version. But I always loved reading stories with these sorts of maps. I could picture it rolled out on a desk somewhere being read by some sage. So I will persist and change the river layout and hopefully we get something more believable.

I'm just finished drawing up a couple more stylised castles to add to my map so it is progressing slowly.


11-17-2009, 11:32 PM
Well let's just say my map first Idea was a flop. The river system and the ability to show layout was severely flawed, My hills didn't just sit right. If I changed the colour they would blend in with the sea if I changed the perspective it destroyed other elements to my map. The lake in the centre of the map sit didn't sit right and I didn't take into account was scale or natural conditions (I.E. Position of Desert doesn't really happen, I had no concept of global position e.t.c), all things I've just started to contemplate and more due to what I have been reading around this forum. So with all these things said I decided to change what I was doing. Thanks to all who helped on the other map but like all things sometimes you have to let go and try it from a different angle.

I just realised that I had not given any background to the map. The map is based on a story I am writing. It's about 12 Kingdoms and the plot to tear them apart. Anyway if 12 Kingdoms or even 6 went on my original map the other map I think it would have been very cluttered which doesn't tie in with the story. So I have created the attached map instead. There will be at least another map of another continent to join this map with which will contain at a minimum 2 of the 12 Kingdoms.

I've been writing this story trying to come up with names but they all sound terrible and so they have changed many times.

Currently I am using Artorosia as the continents name, Artorosia is located in the southern hemisphere of the planet and the scale is 1 pixel to 1 mile. Any comments would be appreciated. Hopefully this is a better map then my last one, I used the outline of my previous map and extended it. Changed the centre island also to resemble a dragons head and joined it to the sea. If you look closely there is a little clawed hand on the central coast and the north west landmass looks a little like wings. I have tried to make it very subtle.

So round 2. I hope this is a better attempt. I've been looking at satellite images trying to get the conditions for the the western coast and don't know if I should shade it more to make it a little more arid.


Steel General
11-18-2009, 08:43 AM
Other than it being a bit dark for my tastes, Looks good so far.

11-18-2009, 06:29 PM
My tut always produces something dark because my monitor is so bright...maybe I should rewrite it with lighter color codes for those with normal monitors who see things darker than I do. This looks pretty good so I'd say that you've done a good job with it. If you want it lighter, then put a layer of white on the very top, set the blend to soft light, and turn the opacity down to something that you like.

11-19-2009, 11:03 AM
Maybe you should calibrate your monitor! ;)

But seriously, having too bright a monitor can contribute to eye-strain and headaches.

-Rob A>

11-19-2009, 07:52 PM
Comes from to much gaming. You crank the grammar up and the brightness so you can see in all the dark places. I have not played any games for 2 years and I still have (had) my monitor cranked like that oh well things you forget to change.

I could see that all my islands down south were way to dark. I tweaked the colours added some extra layers for colour correction and I think it looks better. Thanks for the advice Acension with the white layer on soft light really helped brighten things up. Started to add some names and working out major routes and towns now. The land is a little to square for my liking but I'm hoping to fix that with my adjacent continents.