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swotavator
01-08-2010, 12:56 PM
Hey all,
This is my first finished map here. I have been working on a project to reimagine ultima by cataloging it with heightmaps and an atlas. Ultimately I want to make one complete, hand-painted map of Britannia on real vellum.

This was my first test of the painting style. It didn't quite come out how I wanted. It was done on coffee stained heavy watercolor paper and was done Entirely using real calligraphy quills and sakura watercolors. Lessons learned: fixatif really helps keep watercolors from running when you ink over them, but it keeps ink from absorbing well. I have to use a color base that is less water soluable. I read that true illuminated manuscripts were done with gouche (sp?) paint. If you have done any of this, please tell me. That will be my next attempt.

The land is 100% fictitious, and I made the place names by using the fantasy name generator and gibberish. The font is my own and is based on early gothic insular miniscule.

Please comment. I like how the sea serpent and compass rose came out, but overall the map is way to bright and colorful and therefore doesn't succeed as I wanted. Also, the kingdom names don't stand out enough, the city names stand out too much, and the city markers aren't distinguished enough . I would appreciate ideas.

PS - my other computer, with photoshop, is being repaired, so if anyone could correct the perspective and crop for me I would really appreciate it.

Gamerprinter
01-08-2010, 01:23 PM
That's an astonishingly nice map, nice colors too! Have some REP!

GP

Locution
01-08-2010, 02:00 PM
This is an amazing map! Have some rep from me too.

My only tiny nit-picky thing is I feel the colours are a bit too vibrant. I would maybe desaturate them a bit. But thats just me. Depite that its a beautiful map.

Sapiento
01-08-2010, 02:15 PM
Amazing! Repped!

jbgibson
01-08-2010, 02:17 PM
Awesome work! As far as "too bright colors"... pfffft. If you want the look of a five-hundred year old map, yeah, they would've faded some. But if your map was made "in 1505" (or whatever the calendar of these realms says) and "today's date" is 1510, then the colors are more reasonable. Just as you chose them, I'm sure the master mapmaker who created this would've chosen nice distinct colors if he had them available. If the place isn't Earth, then who's to say the locals don't have access to nice vivid tints? You haven't cracked / burnt / aged the edges of your 'parchment', so to me it's a "new" map, and wholly believable.

The amount of detail seems to indicate the cartographer has pretty good geographical knowledge... but as we've seen, mappers have always been loath to leave space blank, and always claimed intimate knowledge that Just Didn't Exist. With that in mind, and getting into a 1500-ish mindset, there's details on here that get a free pass, which on a modern map would bring out, for instance, the River Police. Caveat - I am NOT a duly deputized River Officer, nor do I play one on TV. Really, even presuming the master who drew this knew river-flow patterns, all three main dividing-river instances might be deltas, especially the nice marshy one at the border of yellow/pink. The northern one's divergent streams are cased like coastline, so maybe those are two big sealevel islands instead of delta-lands. Casing the two passages leading inland from the east coast of NE "Redland" leads me to figure they're sea-level too, making that an awesome harbor instead of a questionable lake - is that what you had in mind there? Same only smaller on the east coast of NE quadrant Green - whether island at river's mouth or delta <shrug> doesn't matter. It's beautiful and no doubt admirably meets the needs of mariners.

Country name / city name balance ... again, not bad, unless it doesn't match what YOU wanted :-). If there's only 14 domains in this part of the world, and everybody (or everybody in the map audience) knows them by their banners, maybe the names don't matter much. Maybe in these realms, the nation name changes with every ruler, or every administration, whereas the flags have remained the same for millenia. <shrug> It's your story to tell! One possibility off the top of my head to both distinguish between and emphasize labels as desired is to use a bit different font for each. The eye can pick different messages out of a mass of text that way - all-caps spaced out for the nations, leaving cites tight 'crabbed' writing, that sort of thing.

As 'art' to appreciate I really like the totally nonLatin font. It emphasizes that We're Not In Kansas Any More. If your purpose shifts to using it for a book or a game, then a font that folks can easily pronounce would be a help - no matter if the pronunciation isn't what the locals would use. I once drove around Wales for a weekend with my boss the navigator calling out town names from the map and me recognizing them on road signs... no doubt in strings of sounds that would have left locals ROFL.

Have I said I like this a lot? I like this a lot. :-)

Steel General
01-08-2010, 02:35 PM
This looks quite good...looking forward to seeing more from you.

Ben
01-08-2010, 02:47 PM
I really think the color is just personal taste. I can see how you dislike how the color came out but at the same time, as a stylized map, I think it looks good. Great map! Rep!

Rythal
01-08-2010, 03:14 PM
:o /jawdrop

awesome map!

Noon
01-08-2010, 03:49 PM
Very well done.
Have some rep.

Ascension
01-08-2010, 04:51 PM
Actually, I think the colors work pretty well for the time period you have chosen. If you want to change them I'd make the country outlines darker to fit this time period. Lighter colors look nice but (I think) that's more 1600s...minor quibble but either way, shrug. I'll look it up for sure as I have a calendar of old maps. Really sweet hand work there, being lettered and painted like that...very nice. I'll see if I can crop and correct for you later this evening - I have my fantasy football playoff draft tonight so it should be around 9ish central time unless someone beats me to it.

Ascension
01-08-2010, 08:33 PM
Ok, this was the best I can do. A lil bit of warping due to the curled paper (noticeable on the scale bar), chopped off a few pixels on the bottom and right (less than 20, though, so the map is still intact). I'm no pro at manipulating photos but it looks pretty good.

Djekspek
01-09-2010, 07:23 AM
wow, this one is going straight into my inspiration folder. A really great map Swotavator! repped

swotavator
01-10-2010, 10:26 PM
Thanks everybody! and thanks Ascension for the manipulation.

I have looked at a LOT of antique maps to try to pin down what I did differently. Looks like the problem with the colors isn't so much the brightness, but rather the fact that they were watercolors. The period I like is about 1550-1610. After we knew the world was round, before we knew how to print maps on the press. The ones after this time period look very bland, fake, etc. The ones in my time period are all hand-drawn, have areas of unknown information, really strange illustrations, and very utilitarian lines, rhumbs, and markings. In this time period, it looks like they were using more opaque, less water soluable stuff. The colors, I am finding were actually supposedly pretty bright, but oxidizing iron and copper in ink makes them turn green.

With my map, I intended to have areas of unknown, but I was shooting for an area the size of the mediterranean. I have seen maps in my era of study that show the whole surrounding area in complete detail. The biggest thing I screwed up is that I mark up the map as a nautical chart yet show cities that aren't all on the coast. Almost every historical map shows ONLY coastal cities. Meh, lesson learned.

Next step is to seek out better materials, and find some real vellum. I am going to try to recreate an actual historical map. Below are the two best candidates:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/Portolan_by_Jacobus_Russus_of_Messina_1533.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pedro_Reinel_1504.3.jpg

Anyone know any other good ones?

RobA
01-11-2010, 09:19 PM
Next step is to seek out better materials, and find some real vellum. I am going to try to recreate an actual historical map. Below are the two best candidates:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/Portolan_by_Jacobus_Russus_of_Messina_1533.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pedro_Reinel_1504.3.jpg



I used that second link as a source image on a colour match with your map:

20232

-Rob A>

Locution
01-11-2010, 10:39 PM
I really like this more "subdued" version. That's not to say, however that I think any less of the original.

Davros01
01-11-2010, 11:20 PM
a very nice map!!!

swotavator
01-12-2010, 01:34 AM
Thats TIGHT! RobA! Thanks. What did you do, lower saturation?

Did some interesting work today with paper vellum. I used permanent india ink on it (calligraphy) then let it dry. I wet it in coffee and then ironed it dry and flat, and it looked like real vellum. I might be using this as the next map. The only problem with it is that it is too transparent to use as real vellum. (ink shows through the back side too much). on the plus side, in water, the vellum really held up well (unlike normal paper). Another downer is that it is very crinkly when it dries. I am going to try to tape it flat as it dries to see if this has any effect.

RobA
01-12-2010, 04:04 PM
Thats TIGHT! RobA! Thanks. What did you do, lower saturation?

I cheated ;)

I wrote a gimp script that takes the histogram from one image and applies it to another by adjusting curves... much like the photoshop Match Colour function.

Here (http://ffaat.pointclark.net/blog/archives/162-Gimp-Script-Histogram-Match.html)is a description and a link for gimpers out there...

-Rob A>

a2area
01-15-2010, 04:10 PM
I love it. Nice to see you did this by hand too. I like both color versions and don't think the first was too bright per se... just depends what you're going for.

Coyotemax
01-15-2010, 04:37 PM
on the plus side, in water, the vellum really held up well (unlike normal paper). Another downer is that it is very crinkly when it dries. I am going to try to tape it flat as it dries to see if this has any effect.

One of the things I found works is to iron the finished product. Low heat, no steam.

Another method would be to weight the paper down while it dries (I used a paper towel over and under, then a phone book on top, then anything I could find that was really heavy - a car battery and several paint cans works really well, seeing as I couldn't find an anvil or an engine block, hah) then again, i was experimenting on letter size paper, I don't know how large yours is.

swotavator
01-15-2010, 11:06 PM
I will give it a shot, but right now I am waiting for my secret weapon. I bought 30$ worth of 150 year old english land deeds on vellum. They should be here in a week or two. I will wash and scrape them and then have two 22*28 sheets of REAL vellumm!!!!!! I also did some research and found out that vellum makers produce a composite product called opaline. I have contacted an SCA limner to find out where I can find it. Apparantely it is much cheaper than the real stuff.

Coyotemax
01-15-2010, 11:21 PM
Excellent find!! be sure to scan them before you scrape them too, never know what use you'll have in the future for that sort of thing :)

swotavator
01-19-2010, 10:36 PM
Sounds like a plan. I think I may have found a source for opaline. I will post when I have a response from them about whether or not it is available.