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Luminous Crayon
09-12-2007, 01:14 PM
Here are some of my modest first attempts.

They are drawn and inked on graph paper, with as much of the inking (ins and outs of the coastline, etc.) being "spontaneous" as I can manage. The various drawings get scanned and assembled with image editing software.

I have four separate drawings below: the contour of this continent, the political boundaries, the mountains and various other geographical features, and the labels. That way, the political and geographical maps have exactly the same coastline, and the labels don't clutter up my hand-drawn sketches.

I'm sure there are probably much more effective ways to go about doing this, so I'm definitely open to suggestions.

RobA
09-12-2007, 02:22 PM
LC-

Those are very nice! I spend a lot of time trying to get hand drawn maps on the computer...maybe it is time to just try hand drawing them!

Couple of questions... where these drawn in pencil then inked over? Did you make the "overlays" on onion-skin, transparency sheets, or just regular paper? If paper, did you use a light box?

Have some rep for passing on the technique!

-Rob (sharpening up pencils) A>

thebax2k
09-12-2007, 02:39 PM
Crayon, your hand drawn maps look very sharp. I like the semi cartoony aspect to them--straight realism with a hand drawn map does not do it for me. If you can, go to amarynceus.deviantart.com and look around. Amarynceus is a cartoonist and illustrator who has done some incredible hand drawn and colored maps. He sometimes goes incommunicado for months at a time, but if anyone can give you pointers, he might.

You mention that you have four drawings or layers, yet I can only see two--did you post up all four drawings?

I also find it interesting that you are hand drawing layers and eschewing Photoshop or illustrator. I don't know if you're aware or not, but many of the professional cartographers out there typically will use Illustrator, Gimp, Photoshop, or a Cad/drawing program and combine several different digital layers to form their maps. Butch Curry has been hosting mapping podcasts on his site and I believe some of them demonstrate uses (and the usefulness) of that technique. If you can afford it, you might want to look at getting a writing tablet (Wacoms are supposed to be good, but they range in price from $500-2500. I can't remember if its Pyrandon, RobA, or another user, but I do know there's at least one person on this board who uses a tablet.)

If you are comfortable with the method you use, then by all means stick with it. It just seems odd though to be drawing out multiple layers when doing it digitally would enable you to manipulate your images far quicker and assemble them in a shorter amount of time. There is a definite expense and a learning curve to going digital, but there are quite a few folks here who would be happy to help you out with advice.

RPMiller
09-12-2007, 02:59 PM
Welcome to the community! (since I didn't get a chance to welcome you in your intro thread)

You asked for biting constructive criticism so here I am! :twisted:

Actually, the thing with criticism is it is very much in the eye of the beholder. Eye, get it? See my avatar? Oh never mind...

Anyway, I really don't have much to point out here. I have to search hard and the only thing I come up with are the "water lines" are too heavy. If you drop line weight on them I think they'll be less distracting and still be useful.

Another one, but even less so is the area around the text. On a few labels things got a bit cramped. You could use a little more space around them.

As for the suggestion from thebax2k regarding layering in a digital medium it is a great one. You can still scan in the various hand drawn layers, but then you have an incredible amount of freedom to really control the over all map and its components.

Luminous Crayon
09-12-2007, 08:24 PM
Couple of questions... where these drawn in pencil then inked over? Did you make the "overlays" on onion-skin, transparency sheets, or just regular paper? If paper, did you use a light box?Thank you for the kind words.

The pencil work is minimal, here. I agonized over continent shapes and whatnot for quite some time before working on these maps. With those basic ideas in mind, I did very quick, very minimal pencil sketches-- just the basic shape of the continent and the peaks of mountain ranges-- in about 10 seconds or less. When I inked them, I added all the detail, making more complex shapes out of very bland and streamlined coastlines and whatnot.

All the paper used is regular graph paper. (I scanned the images in black and white, so the faint lines of the pencil and the graph paper grid were not picked up.) I put the inked coastline drawing two pages behind a blank sheet (so I could see it through the paper, but to prevent ink bleed-through) in order to draw mountains and trees, and political borders (on separate pages.)

I don't know what a light box is, so I am relatively certain I didn't use one. (Unless it was by accident.)


Crayon, your hand drawn maps look very sharp. I like the semi cartoony aspect to them--straight realism with a hand drawn map does not do it for me. Thank you. I am pretty pleased with the way the style effects have worked out for me so far. My idea was that a basic, simple map could be manipulated in various ways. For example, I could distress it to get some sort of yellowed, crumpled, weathered effect, or I could replace the black with a pale green and use it as a website background image, et cetera.


If you can, go to amarynceus.deviantart.com and look around. Amarynceus is a cartoonist and illustrator who has done some incredible hand drawn and colored maps. He sometimes goes incommunicado for months at a time, but if anyone can give you pointers, he might.Thank you for the recommendation. Amarynceus' work is quite amazing, and even a brief browse of his gallery has given me some ambitious ideas. A more in-depth study is definitely in order.


You mention that you have four drawings or layers, yet I can only see two--did you post up all four drawings?My earlier description was unclear. My four components are as follows:

1.) The coastline, with stippling, water lines, and so on
2.) Trees, mountains, rivers, lakes, et cetera
3.) Political boundaries
4.) Assorted labels (drawn as lists, not "in place" relative to the maps)

One of my two maps contains components 1, 3, and 4. The other contains 1, 2, and 4.

I came up with this idea because I wanted to have a political map and a geographical map that could both share exactly the same coastline shape, and because I wanted to be able to affix labels after the fact, without worrying about placing them "around" various map elements.

The various separate components were drawn on separate sheets and scanned as separate images, then combined in Photoshop in distinct digital layers. I think I may have inadvertently misled you about some of that process. But I do leave myself a little wiggle room to manipulate things digitally, although it's usually minor details like rotating and placing labels, and duplicating or deleting a tree to fit a certain space.


Butch Curry has been hosting mapping podcasts on his site and I believe some of them demonstrate uses (and the usefulness) of that technique. If you can afford it, you might want to look at getting a writing tablet (Wacoms are supposed to be good, but they range in price from $500-2500. I can't remember if its Pyrandon, RobA, or another user, but I do know there's at least one person on this board who uses a tablet.)

If you are comfortable with the method you use, then by all means stick with it. It just seems odd though to be drawing out multiple layers when doing it digitally would enable you to manipulate your images far quicker and assemble them in a shorter amount of time. There is a definite expense and a learning curve to going digital, but there are quite a few folks here who would be happy to help you out with advice.I will check out the podcasts, but I'm afraid a tablet is simply out of my price range at the moment. (My next computer-related purchase absolutely must be a piece of music notation software, and that's going to hurt my wallet pretty severely.)

I will definitely solicit advice on how to streamline my process, and I am looking for ways to more efficiently digitize a greater portion of it without losing some of the cartoony, hand-drawn feel of it all.


Welcome to the community! (since I didn't get a chance to welcome you in your intro thread)

You asked for biting constructive criticism so here I am! :twisted:

Actually, the thing with criticism is it is very much in the eye of the beholder. Eye, get it? See my avatar? Oh never mind...Thanks for the welcome. As for the criticism, well... I hold a degree in music, and I've taught in public schools. I don't think there remains much criticism left that can faze me, so bring it on-- especially if it'll help me improve.


Anyway, I really don't have much to point out here. I have to search hard and the only thing I come up with are the "water lines" are too heavy. If you drop line weight on them I think they'll be less distracting and still be useful.Now that you mention it, I agree. This will be hard to fix on this map, since I don't know how to change the line weight of the water lines alone. (I am a photoshop neophyte. I'm sure there must be some way to accomplish it, though.)

In subsequent maps, I'll just use a different pen for those lines. (These maps were inked with a 1.0 mm beast.)


Another one, but even less so is the area around the text. On a few labels things got a bit cramped. You could use a little more space around them.This one is more easily fixed. The labels are on a separate layer in the digital image, and the "space" around them is provided by a fairly opaque, white Outer Glow effect on that layer. (This is a little more noticeable in certain places, like around the J in "Jagged Sound.") Giving the labels more breathing room will be as simple as widening that glow.


As for the suggestion from thebax2k regarding layering in a digital medium it is a great one. You can still scan in the various hand drawn layers, but then you have an incredible amount of freedom to really control the over all map and its components.This is what I'm doing already. (Man, I must have really botched that initial description of my process.) I think that increasing my facility with digital manipulation, as well as perhaps refining my planning of the distribution of the hand-drawn components to give my digital manipulations more "leverage," will probably go a long way to improve my results.

Thank you all for the helpful ideas and suggestions.

RobA
09-12-2007, 09:42 PM
Thanks for taking the time to answer everyone questions!

TO answer one of yours, a light box is just a box, with a light in it that lets you see through paper easier for tracing.....The simplest version is holding pages up to a window in the sun :) but there are commercial products in various sizes: http://www.dickblick.com/zz553/28/ (as a random example).

When I did drafting years ago (pre-CAD) we had one that could handle an ANSI E size page (34x44 in.)

I have one I use at home made from a broken flat bed scanner. I gutted it out and put in a compact fluorescent bulb for light. I applied a sticky material from Home Depot used to "fog" bathroom windows for privacy as a light diffuser. on the back side of the glass.

Just remembered to add that I was the one who posted about recently picking up a Wacom 5x7 tablet for $100CND used on Craig's List (http://sfbay.craigslist.org/). It was well worth it for any sketching.painting directly on the computer.

-Rob (occasionally crafty) A>

Luminous Crayon
09-12-2007, 10:31 PM
Thanks for taking the time to answer everyone questions!No worries. I'm nothing if not long-winded. (As the CBG crowd can ruefully attest.)

Thanks for teaching me about light boxes. I was going to say I feel "enlightened," but then I realized it was a pretty awful pun. So I'll just say I feel more educated than I did this morning. :)

pyrandon
09-13-2007, 12:34 PM
Hey, LC: Love the maps! Hand-drawn is my favorite!!

Not sure what your eventual outcome for these is, but there is plenty you could do to touch them up in your computer app (such as adding colors, effects, etc.). But since I really like this style of cartography, I'd say most of that is just "play." Great post.

PS: Yes, I use a Wacom. It's a small one, but is sweeeeeeet. $99 at Best Buy. Worth every penny. :)

Ishmayl
09-13-2007, 10:36 PM
Pyrandon,
You probably use the same one I use, the Graphire4? I got one for Christmas last year and it has saved me so many headaches.

Venardhi
09-14-2007, 05:26 AM
Tablet is definately the way to go, and the Graphire 6x8 is very affordable and will do for most anything you want to do with it as far as mapping. The intuos line is focused more on the digital painter with angle recognition and extra sensitivity which you aren't likely to notice anyways.

My maps are all done on my tablet in photoshop, but really the tablet plays very little part in getting the stylistic looks I've acheived. Layer effects do most of the heavy lifting for me once I've played with them enough.

I do like the look of this map, I like the hand-made look which is why I've been working to give mine at least the illusion of that quality. There are definately a few things I'm going to take from seeing this and incorperate it into my own style.

Jolly good.

RobA
09-14-2007, 09:36 AM
I'll agree with them - the Graphire is the best for the price. I am using an older Graphire3 6x8.

Oddly enough, I only use the tablet as a tablet when working in a bitmap/paint program (for the most part). When using Inkscape (a vector program) I tend to switch back to a mouse as I find it gives me more control when adjusting nodes and handles. (I do use it in Inkscape when freehand sketching or using the calligraphy tool, however)

-Rob (carpel tunnel no more) A>

P.S. sorry for the tablet threadjack...