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marcuslee
01-04-2010, 05:38 PM
Hey Everyone,

I would like to write a fantasy story, but before I get too far into the project, it would be nice to have some visuals. I started to create some maps myself but quickly learned that it was going to take a lot more effort than I thought. I can do simple shapes, but I'm not sure I want to learn enough to do moutains, rivers, lakes, forests, multiple realistic islands, etc ...

If anyone would like to help me, I would appreciate it. I may want further maps in the future if my project gets some momentum, so I am not completely against the idea of compensation. I just don't have the budget to pay you anything at the moment, but different forms of payment in the future would be appropriate depending on circumstances. My project may require webspace in the future, so free ads or free webspace would be an appropriate payment (if you have something to advertise). My wife is trying to start a home business selling soap. Free samples/products would also be an appropriate payment as well. And, the soap we could probably do a lot sooner than the free webspace or free ad space.

Here's the details:

Commission:

* Unpaid with possible payment(s) in the future

Time Constraints

* No particular time contraints, but something within a couple of weeks would be nice.

Style

* I am looking for a simple map with simple graphics. Some color would be nice but not required at this point.

Description of Map

* I have attached a rough idea of the map I have in mind
* Description: A regional map of a large coastal land with one or more islands a few miles off the coast. A real world equivalent would probably be England with continental Europe nearby.
* One point of the larger island should be rather close to the larger land mass, like the English Channel.
* At least one river on the larger island coming from a moutain range on the island.
* Forest areas, Plains, Deserts, & Lakes, etc ... on all or most of the larger of the landmasses.
* The far side of the large landmass (the one at the edge of the map) should probably end in something that ancient civilizations would have viewed as a boundary, such as a large moutain range or large desert.
*NO PLACE NAMES, please.

* I don't particularly care about the scale, but it would be nice to be able to have several cities on the larger of the islands. (Couple hundred miles across east to west, maybe!)

Quality & Size

* Lower Quality Sketch ... although a little color to distinguish different types of land would be nice.
* Only for the web at the moment, but if my story gets published, a larger print version would be nice as well.
* Dimensions of map: 800 pixels wide or so for the web, larger original if it isn't that much extra work.
* Raster for initial map is fine / possible Vector version for later.

Copyright - (I don't want to get a lawyer involved unless it looks like I will make money off this project).

* The artist will retain copyright of the map, but I would like to use it for whatever purpose I desire, commercial included. If I make money off my project, payment can be discussed.

My email address is MSL**underscore**007**AT**live.com
(Replace **underscore** with _)
(Replace **AT** with @)

If I did pay someone for this, I have no idea what it would be worth. You can suggest a price, if you like.

Much of the plot of my story may come from your imagination, so have fun.


Mark

ravells
01-04-2010, 05:48 PM
With such a nice request I hope someone helps you for free. What you ask for should not take long at all and this would be a great project for someone to pick up just for the fun of it. If you have no takers in say, a week, I'll do it for you.

best

Ravs

p.s. send me a PM in a week if you have no takers.

marcuslee
01-04-2010, 06:08 PM
With such a nice request I hope someone helps you for free. What you ask for should not take long at all and this would be a great project for someone to pick up just for the fun of it. If you have no takers in say, a week, I'll do it for you.

best

Ravs

p.s. send me a PM in a week if you have no takers.

I appreciate the offer. I was hoping that I was not being too demanding. I don't need much, just the use of someone's imagination to help spark mine.

After this, I think I will need two more posts to use PM. ;)


Mark

ravells
01-04-2010, 06:51 PM
No worries, Mark, not demanding at all. I wish more of the community would take up unpaid requests. They are usually fun to do and they make people happy :).

I find it interesting that you need the use someone's imagination to spark your own. I am not an author, but I do find it strange when authors who are at the inception of their novels/stories ask for maps for a world which is only embryonic. Surely the map should follow the finished or nearly finished novel or story? Chances are that as your story develops, locations might move and new features might appear and disappear. Wouldn't a rough sketch using a pencil, paper and judicious use of an eraser be more versatile?

Best

Ravs

marcuslee
01-04-2010, 07:09 PM
I find it interesting that you need the use someone's imagination to spark your own. I am not an author, but I do find it strange when authors who are at the inception of their novels/stories ask for maps for a world which is only embryonic.


Your comment is definitely true. That's one reason why the map doesn't have to be super professional. I would like the land to be as authentic as possible. My pencil sketch wouldn't be that ... I promise you. If someone wants to take part in my project, a detailed pencil sketch might be all I need. Color is only a plus.



Surely the map should follow the finished or nearly finished novel or story?


Normally, this is true, too. But, in my case, I would love to publish my story in a standard way, but it probably won't go that route. I will probably have a selection of short stories on a blog, each short story detailing a different detail of the land and its people. I would like a map in place not only for me but also for the blog once I create it. That could happen in the next 6 months or so. But, the short stories could take years to write.



Chances are that as your story develops, locations might move and new features might appear and disappear. Wouldn't a rough sketch using a pencil, paper and judicious use of an eraser be more versatile?


During the brainstorming stage, a penciled map would be helpful since things do change a lot in that stage. But, some writers, like myself want something a little more concrete when they start writing the actual first draft. So, for example, if I describe a city as 20 miles away from this other structure ... that figure probably came from the map. Location names may change (that's why I don't want place names), but geologic formations won't change as much because as long as I have every geologic formation to work with, all my ideas can happen.

Thanks for you comments.

Mark

ravells
01-04-2010, 07:29 PM
Well this does sound like fun. Give me a shout in a week if you don't have any takers.

Ascension
01-04-2010, 09:41 PM
I kind of like writing to fit a map as well, not that I do a lot of it but, shrug. If some place ends up being too far away and would result in long boring trips then I just fill that with "it rained for the next few days and they traveled in grouchy silence". Filler like that is invaluable when writing to a map. Mapping to a story is much more precise and takes way longer to map properly in order to get distances correct and results in lots of editing the map.

marcuslee
01-04-2010, 10:04 PM
I kind of like writing to fit a map as well, not that I do a lot of it but, shrug. If some place ends up being too far away and would result in long boring trips then I just fill that with "it rained for the next few days and they traveled in grouchy silence". Filler like that is invaluable when writing to a map.

And, you can always alter the filler to make it interesting. Character development can be done. Or, if you need a character to be somewhere that take three days to get there ... but you only have two days, come up with a plausible excuse to either start their trip one day earlier or place them one day closer to the location. For example, on their way to town A to buy supplies, they have to go to town B because of whatever is wrong in town B ... instead of going straight to town B, which would have been too far for whatever reason. Rambling, I know!


Mapping to a story is much more precise and takes way longer to map properly in order to get distances correct and results in lots of editing the map.

This is precisely why I would like a more detailed map right now. Before I start to write a single word of the final story, I will study the map, come up with some possible place names, brainstorm possible story lines, etc .... Right now ... without a map ... I sit around with writer's block or only with a few vague ideas of what I would like to do. As it is, my ideas right now will work for most maps.


Mark

Ascension
01-04-2010, 10:36 PM
I'd take this week and do some backstory/history/character development and then if no one jumps on it then talk to Ravs. He'll do ya up right and then your heroes can start their journey.

marcuslee
01-04-2010, 11:00 PM
I'd take this week and do some backstory/history/character development and then if no one jumps on it then talk to Ravs. He'll do ya up right and then your heroes can start their journey.

Good suggestion.

Today I have been collecting research on ancient people and thier lives since I am going to pattern my story from real life. Just a few minutes ago I was watching a video on YouTube about metal smelting. I still don't think I understand completely but enough to put it in a story, methinks.

The other day I was thinking of ways to come up with character's names. I think I am going to use non-English phoenetic combinations.

So, in other words, I have a lot going on. Anyone who wants to join me ... because there will be room for multiple authors, you are welcome.


Mark

Korash
01-07-2010, 12:28 PM
Not that I am taking this, but just to see if I am thining along the same lines....Here is a quick sketch of what I understand to be what you want. I didn't put the other islands in, but let me know if this is even close.

this might help others if they do it instead (Go Ravs! ;-) ) or your making corrections....

marcuslee
01-07-2010, 03:00 PM
Not that I am taking this, but just to see if I am thining along the same lines....Here is a quick sketch of what I understand to be what you want. I didn't put the other islands in, but let me know if this is even close.

this might help others if they do it instead (Go Ravs! ;-) ) or your making corrections....

You see, what I was looking for wasn't that hard. It isn't instantly usable but it is a lot better than anything that I have created myself.

Now, I know that there are tutorials on the forums on how to use different resources. Honestly, I haven't looked at them because I didn't want to work for hours to just figure out the style that I want, sifting their several tutorials just to find out that they are teaching me something that doesn't fit my criteria.

Your example is good enough for me. So, a specific tutorial or instructions on how you did you what you just did would be great. Even if you just briefly tell me what you did.


What programs?
How did you contour the land?
How did you get the double line for the contour of the land?
How do you decide where to put forests, mountains, deserts, etc ...?
(Not included in your map)How about rivers and lakes? How do I decide where to put them?


Any info you can provide would be helpful.

I tried drawing a map with a mechanical pencil this morning. It was better than the fractal maps I was creating a few days ago.

And, perhaps if someone still wants to help me, I don't mind working on this with you. So, if I can figure out part of it, maybe someone else can either help me get started or help me finish. Only time will tell.

Thanks for your help already.


Mark

ravells
01-07-2010, 03:21 PM
There you go! Korash is your man!!!

marcuslee
01-07-2010, 03:25 PM
There you go! Korash is your man!!!

Your help would still be helpful, though not in the form of a map if you don't want.

Thanks



Mark

ravells
01-07-2010, 03:45 PM
Nah, I'm just into the maps!

marcuslee
01-07-2010, 03:54 PM
Nah, I'm just into the maps!

So, no words of wisdom to help me create the map that I want?


Mark

ravells
01-07-2010, 04:03 PM
Sorry, not really. It sounds to me that what you're after is not a map but someone to collaborate with you in making your stories which include maps. It would be unfair to you if I agreed to do this and didn't follow through - which is almost certainly what would happen. I like simple projects which complete in shortish timescales. I really don't have the time (particularly with my gnatlike attention span - Look there's something shiny!) to go in for the long collaborative projects, unless they really, really, really grab me.

:: edit :: Sorry, typed at speed, let me clarify: I would be happy to do a 'one off' map for you with stuff in to pique your inspiration, but what I don't have time for is to get involved in the project for the long haul. Happy also to post up the .psd file here so others can take it on and continue to edit it as they wish. If you'd like to make the map, then all I can suggest is that you browse through the tutorials (the quickstart sticky is a good place to begin) and see which ones grab you.

marcuslee
01-07-2010, 04:29 PM
Sorry, not really. It sounds to me that what you're after is not a map but someone to collaborate with you in making your stories which include maps.

I don't believe that is what I am asking. Collaborate with me on the first map, and I can do all the following.


If you'd like to make the map, then all I can suggest is that you browse through the tutorials (the quickstart sticky is a good place to begin) and see which ones grab you.

I have an attention span such as yours. Reading through bunches of tutorials will not help me. It will encourage me to give up. I've done that on other difficult tasks, and since I have other hobbies, I would just go to one of those.

However, if you or someone else has a particular tutorial in mind that would answer all my questions, then feel free to point me in the exact direction.

Or, if someone has a few minutes, we can chat about my questions. Either way.


Thanks

ravells
01-07-2010, 05:50 PM
Well, deciding where you want to put features (like forests, rivers, mountains etc) is more worldbuilding than map making, although the two are related. You might want to do a site search on worldbuilding, there is a good guide which is available free online which tells you where to put mountains, rivers etc, I can't recall it but it may be worth a google or someone else here may remember. Have a look in the mapping references subforum too on worldbuilding.

I really can't think of a tutorial that will help you with your map if all you want is a basic sketch - most of the tutorials are geared towards making something more advanced than that. It may be that if you want a sketch the best way to do it is with an HB pencil and paper.

Hope this helps!

Korash
01-07-2010, 11:54 PM
What programs?
How did you contour the land?
How did you get the double line for the contour of the land?
How do you decide where to put forests, mountains, deserts, etc ...?
(Not included in your map)How about rivers and lakes? How do I decide where to put them?


Any info you can provide would be helpful.

I tried drawing a map with a mechanical pencil this morning. It was better than the fractal maps I was creating a few days ago.

And, perhaps if someone still wants to help me, I don't mind working on this with you. So, if I can figure out part of it, maybe someone else can either help me get started or help me finish. Only time will tell.



The first thing I did (was at work and only a short time to do it) was use "Snag-it" (a print-screen ap that we have at work. you might be able to find something like it) to grab your map, and then replaced the land colors with black. The water with white. Then edge detect to find the edges.

Seeing as how you used a prog to produce the map to begin with, you should be able to outline your land masses in that prog. Once you get the outline, if you still want the double line just select the line and offset it.

As for the mountains, forests and stuff....You did say that you wanted some sort of "unpassable barrier like mountains or a desert" on the right edge. Hence those mountains and the desert :) As for the rest, They just sort of placed themselves there. All you need to do is look at the land mass and say that "I think some mountains should go here and there, some forests here and maybe there, hills in this area and so on. Once you have some basic stuff laid out, remember that rivers flow from High ground to Low, and the steeper the faster it flows (and the straighter it is) and when it hit the low lands it will start to wonder a bit. ( as steel General has said a few times, Think of Rivers as a tree > the leaves are the high ground and as the branches get closer to the trunk (and the ground) they come together and get thicker. Only rarely will the trunk split before it gets to the ground (sea or ocean). Sometimes you will see exposed roots (think deltas) but not very often. In the lowlands, you may get swamps that spread the river a bit. Forests will usually have some sort of stream or river passing through it somewhere as a source of water.

Lakes will usually be be in low land, or at least lower than the land around it. One thing to remember, more than one river may flow into a lake, but only one will flow out. Placing the rivers and lakes is mostly a "I want something here" sort of thing. One thought to keep in mind is that most early towns and cities are placed along coast lines, lake shores and rivers (major trade routes don't you know) so think about where you want to have the cities.

Like Ravs said, the best way to figure out your map is to pick up some paper and a good pencil and go at it. Seeing as how you already have the land mass, make the outline as I described above and print it out. I would suggest doing it initially on a 11x17 and print out a few copies. I tried to find the tut that I was trying out for the mountains to show you what I was doing if you like that style, but I couldn't. Sorry. :(

Once you have a sketch that you like the look of, post it in the WIP forums. If you would rather, I could help you out developing the map, but available time is not something I am long on, so the help is most likely to be spaced quite a bit. I have been trying to get better at terrain features so I don't mind doing something like this. Just let me know what you want to do, or any corrections/additions/placement issues you want me to make.

marcuslee
01-09-2010, 01:19 PM
Well, deciding where you want to put features (like forests, rivers, mountains etc) is more worldbuilding than map making, although the two are related. You might want to do a site search on worldbuilding, there is a good guide which is available free online which tells you where to put mountains, rivers etc, I can't recall it but it may be worth a google or someone else here may remember.

I don't know if this is the one you are talking about, but it is a good general resource.

http://www.web-writer.net/fantasy/days/index.html

And, there is a video on YouTube which is kinda helpful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z00S7WsYGA


Thanks for the suggestions.


Mark

marcuslee
01-09-2010, 01:29 PM
All you need to do is look at the land mass and say that "I think some mountains should go here and there, some forests here and maybe there, hills in this area and so on. Once you have some basic stuff laid out, remember that rivers flow from High ground to Low, and the steeper the faster it flows (and the straighter it is) and when it hit the low lands it will start to wonder a bit. ( as steel General has said a few times, Think of Rivers as a tree > the leaves are the high ground and as the branches get closer to the trunk (and the ground) they come together and get thicker. Only rarely will the trunk split before it gets to the ground (sea or ocean). Sometimes you will see exposed roots (think deltas) but not very often. In the lowlands, you may get swamps that spread the river a bit. Forests will usually have some sort of stream or river passing through it somewhere as a source of water.

Great info. Much better than simply rivers go from high ground to low ground.



Lakes will usually be be in low land, or at least lower than the land around it. One thing to remember, more than one river may flow into a lake, but only one will flow out. Placing the rivers and lakes is mostly a "I want something here" sort of thing. One thought to keep in mind is that most early towns and cities are placed along coast lines, lake shores and rivers (major trade routes don't you know) so think about where you want to have the cities.


One river out? Didn't know that. See, I am learning something.



Like Ravs said, the best way to figure out your map is to pick up some paper and a good pencil and go at it. Seeing as how you already have the land mass, make the outline as I described above and print it out. I would suggest doing it initially on a 11x17 and print out a few copies. I tried to find the tut that I was trying out for the mountains to show you what I was doing if you like that style, but I couldn't. Sorry. :(


Yes, I have been experimenting with drawing the map myself on paper. And, yes, it is easier than fractal programs. And, it looks a little more real, methinks.



Once you have a sketch that you like the look of, post it in the WIP forums. If you would rather, I could help you out developing the map, but available time is not something I am long on, so the help is most likely to be spaced quite a bit. I have been trying to get better at terrain features so I don't mind doing something like this. Just let me know what you want to do, or any corrections/additions/placement issues you want me to make.

Whatever help you can offer is greatly appreciated. And, I hope your comments thus far will help more than just me. Because this info is really good.

I have an outline for a map that I did recently. It has no features, for it was my first attempt at drawing my own map. Don't worry about adding features to it. I was just wondering if the contour of the land is realistic. And, if not, what did I do wrong?

http://www.everythinglee.com/terra/maps/map1000.PNG


Once again thanks for the help.



Mark

Korash
01-09-2010, 06:57 PM
I think it is OK, but I do have a few comments.

The left half of it looks a bit too square, as if you were trying to fill the paper. If you look at an atlas, you will rarely something as blocky as that. When drawing a landmass, don't draw it so big that you might be restricted by the paper. Try drawing it around the center of the page (not circular, just don't be guided by the edges) and let the hand flow where it wants to.

I do like some of the features you have there. I do like me fiords.

Another thing you might want to try as well, is sometimes add a few little islands as you draw the coasts. Adds a bit more "believability" to the whole land mass. Once the land is drawn, you might think about a rough scale. The next step would be figuring out where the features go. Start with physical features like mountains, hills ect, then forests or maybe rivers.

Once you have these placed, it would be a good time to decide on whether you will continue by hand (and here is where the real work begins) or by computer. If you want to go the computer route, there are plenty of tutorials in the Tutorial/How to forum at the bottom of the site's main page. Once you find a tut that you like the style of, look in the first post to see the prog used, and check out the Software forum to find out about that. Be warned, it take a lot of practice to get good at doing it by hand, but the results are usually worth it. Check ot the Finished Maps forum to see what can be done with both computer and some Hand work too.

Have fun mapping, and don't give up too soon. :)

marcuslee
01-09-2010, 07:48 PM
I think it is OK, but I do have a few comments.

You are too gracious. ;)



The left half of it looks a bit too square, as if you were trying to fill the paper. If you look at an atlas, you will rarely something as blocky as that. When drawing a landmass, don't draw it so big that you might be restricted by the paper. Try drawing it around the center of the page (not circular, just don't be guided by the edges) and let the hand flow where it wants to.


Yes, you are the second person to say this, so I think I will be redoing that part of the map. I am creating it for a project that this other guy is working with me on, and he is creating another continent, so I was waiting to see what his looks like before I changed that square side.



I do like some of the features you have there. I do like me fiords.


I tried to vary the land as much as possible.



Another thing you might want to try as well, is sometimes add a few little islands as you draw the coasts. Adds a bit more "believability" to the whole land mass.


I wasn't worried about them at the time, but I didn't forget them either. Since I hadn't thought about scale, I decided to hold off on them.



Once the land is drawn, you might think about a rough scale.


What do you think would be a good scale for this map based upon what I have done with it so far?



The next step would be figuring out where the features go. Start with physical features like mountains, hills ect, then forests or maybe rivers.


Do you have any suggestions as to how many of each? For example, the map I created, assuming that I will vary the square side some, bringing it in a little, how many mountain ranges would be a good number?

I know the answer might vary based upon scale.



Once you have these placed, it would be a good time to decide on whether you will continue by hand (and here is where the real work begins) or by computer. If you want to go the computer route, there are plenty of tutorials in the Tutorial/How to forum at the bottom of the site's main page. Once you find a tut that you like the style of, look in the first post to see the prog used, and check out the Software forum to find out about that. Be warned, it take a lot of practice to get good at doing it by hand, but the results are usually worth it. Check ot the Finished Maps forum to see what can be done with both computer and some Hand work too.


At this point if I continue to do this by myself with hints from ones like yourself, I won't be worried about how good it is. Just will it work for my purposes?



Have fun mapping, and don't give up too soon. :)

I'll try to have fun and not quit. Of course, at some point I may move on to another project. We'll see. Your suggestions and info will help keep me thinking about the map(s), and thinking about them is the biggest thing to keep my attention.

Thank you so much!



Mark

Korash
01-09-2010, 11:42 PM
I will answer your last question first. The best person to judge if it suits your purpose is you. I know that sounds a bit hokey, but it is also true. I don't see any reasons why it wouldn't, seeing as how you are the one making it. If it doesn't fit right now, just change it 'til it does.

If you look at the world map (ours) you will see that North America looks nothing like Europe. Why wait for your friend to finish his? All that will do is put you guys that much further behind what ever type of shed you want to keep. I really cant think of anything that he may do that should invalidate anything you do.

This looks to me about the size of Europe, or maybe Asia, but just by changing the scale, I could have the Falkland Islands looking like a huge continent. And in fact have actually thought of doing that link (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=13372&d=1242537931). So if you want it to be smaller, just apply a smaller scale. Like I said before about terrain, just look at the map and see what come to mind and place them. Judge by eye as to what seems right. just try not to overload it. Scale will also affect how many rivers you will actually see. there are not too many rivers that appear on a full world satellite map, so the larger the scale the fewer rivers. Again go with what looks right. Just as a quick opinion, I see the the upper left part as similar terrain as the Balkans or the Scandinavian countries like Norway or Finland.

And finally, If you do start to put any real time on this, or another map project, I cannot suggest strongly enough that you post up a WIP thread and we could help you out a lot more, because more people look at those and they usually get much more response too.

marcuslee
01-09-2010, 11:59 PM
Why wait for your friend to finish his? All that will do is put you guys that much further behind what ever type of shed you want to keep. I really cant think of anything that he may do that should invalidate anything you do.

The reason for waiting was because I wanted to have an Africa/S. America effect - two continents that have a similar but opposite shape on one side, indicating a Pangaea effect.

The rest of your post was good. I will definitely start another post in the right area. Thanks.

I haven't decided if the scale should be small or larger. I am thinking that it should be at least medium, like you said Europe type size. When you zoom in real far in real life, land doesn't tend to make such drastic turns as my map. You have to zoom out some to get that effect.



Mark

Carnifex
02-08-2010, 05:34 PM
This sounds like a fun project. I can do a nice scetch if you want. Free to use anyway you want. BUT if I later make a high quality map AND this project grows commercial I'd like some payment though.