View Full Version : How to draw politcal borders for empires/kingdoms?

01-19-2010, 08:09 PM
So I'm new to cartography and I've been using CC3 to draw a world map that covers a fantasy series that I've been working on. I'm close to being done (in a rough draft format) and I can't figure out how I can draw political borders (empires/kingdoms) with relative ease. I want each empire to have a different colored pattern representing the empire that is transparent enough so I can still see the terrain, land features, structures, etc. Is there an easy way to do this or do I have to just draw out a terrain, or landmass (and try to stay along the lines of the landmass - which will be a pain) then change the sheet, try to find 15-25 different colored dashed/broken lined fill styles, etc.? Any advice/tutorial would be appreciated. Thanks....

01-19-2010, 09:29 PM
Check out my tutorial, DRAWING POLITICAL BORDERS IN CC3 in the tutorial section.


01-19-2010, 10:03 PM
Cool thanks for the reply. That will definitely help.....

01-19-2010, 10:24 PM
Okay so the tutorial really helped, but I want to use my terrains to trace to draw out my empires (and not my land), however i want some of my empires to cover two or more separate terrains. How do i join multiple terrains and turn them into a single "permanent" entity, so I can trace say four separate terrains (now one) and then use an appropriate fill style on the "now" single entity? I hope that makes sense. Thanks...

01-19-2010, 10:36 PM
Assuming you are not using 'overlapping' borders, simply draw your borders on a seperate sheet. As you draw one border, use the trace option to trace along coasts or rivers, and 'free-hand' it over forests, marshes, or mountains. It's really that simple.

01-19-2010, 10:48 PM
And what if they are overlapping? Am I hosed?

01-19-2010, 11:17 PM
just means you'll need multiple sheets

01-20-2010, 12:47 AM
Thanks for the help. I got it all figured out...

02-14-2010, 06:01 PM
I use Gimp, but what I do with this is I just make a layer entirely for political borders... and when I want to adjust a border, I use a 1-pixel pencil to cut into a neighboring empire with the color of the conquerors. I then fill the new space with the conquerors' color, and voila! The pencil tool makes it easy to fill because it's hard-edged, as opposed to soft-edged paintbrushes or the like.

02-18-2010, 04:01 PM
Borders are drawn in blood and iron.

02-27-2010, 10:58 PM
Borders are drawn in blood and iron.

That's actually an excellent point, both as verbal flavor AND as cartography-related advice!

That is to say, it's a good idea when drawing borders to keep in mind that they were likely established by ages of war. So they'll be choppy and will likely have been most contested around key strategic points such as mines, strongholds, trade routes, and mountain passes. But this isn't a direct answer to the question; just a bit of advice. :)

I don't like to suggest my way is the right way when I'm such a relative beginner at the guild, but... If you want an easy method to do what you're wanting to do, my way might be it.


That tutorial covers it. It's GIMP-biased, but it can surely apply to any imaging program such as Photoshop or Paintshop. As for semi-transparency, that's easy: just bring the opacity of your political coloring layer down to where you think it's comfortable. Anything from 25% to 75% should be fine.