View Full Version : A New World Map for a Commission

03-24-2010, 02:55 PM
This was a world map that I created for a commission recently. I've left the names and title off. This was a fun result of taking the line art style I developed for my Island map a while ago and turning it into a colour style. I'm really pleased with the way this came out.


This uses a lighter colour palette than previous maps. I started with a very light parchment background and then used mostly multiply and a couple of overlay layers to add all the colour and shadow. Unlike previous maps, I added the colours and the shadows at the same time. I also decided to try adding some patterns and lines to the background after seeing some of the RedEpic's work. Not nearly in the same scale of decoration as those pieces, but I'm not totally unhappy with those background effects.

This was created to be printed at 11 by 17 inches at 300dpi. This version is downsized to 100dpi but should be roughly to print scale when viewed on a computer screen.

It's a commission piece so this is rights reserved.

03-24-2010, 03:02 PM
Yet another inspiring piece of work here Torstan!!! Damn, I wish I could do something that nice...

03-24-2010, 04:07 PM
Love the 3d Iso metric esque view, very awesome. What a wonderful map!

03-24-2010, 04:15 PM
Fantastic map (s). The whirlpool looks a lil askew angle-wise but those are some damn sweet mtns. Great stuff, bro.

03-24-2010, 04:15 PM
That looks really nice. The lines are so clean too.

03-24-2010, 04:35 PM
Yep, those mountains came out really well. I'm dead chuffed with them. Good call on the whirlpool, but I'll leave that as is. Had fun with the snowcapped jungle peaks too.

Thanks for compliments! I think Ill be doing a fair bit more in this style, so there will be others like this showing up in the future.

03-24-2010, 05:17 PM
Good lord that's nice. The details are so crisp and clean; the whole thing is just beautiful.

03-24-2010, 05:26 PM
Impressive. I love the pseudo-3D look.

03-24-2010, 07:00 PM
Absolutely lovely! 3d iso mapping is taking over the world!!!!

Have to say though, I can see why!

03-25-2010, 08:12 AM
Yep, we do seem to have a glut of them recently. People certainly like commissioning them. Thanks for the compliments.

03-25-2010, 11:31 AM
Great map. Big thumbs up!

03-25-2010, 12:59 PM
That's a great looking map. The whole thing is beautifully rendered, and your use of color really works where most other full color presentations I've seen feel over-colored. I'll definitely have to try that three-dimensional style myself at some point.

My one suggestions would be to lay in a few more grid lines in the background, specifically set on the increment of your scale meter. Since - in a projection like this - the scale meter is only correct at the latitude where it's shown, doing the grid with matching spacing would make it much easier to read the scale correctly elsewhere on the map.

03-25-2010, 01:16 PM
Hmmmm any chance of seeing this without the hard black coastal stroke? My gut seems to say that this is out of place in contrast with the rest of the (mostly) soft line work not to mention they are the thickest lines on the map. I would wonder how it would look either with the opacity turned down, blurred(and lower the opacity), or perhaps another color????

03-25-2010, 01:55 PM
Thanks guys. The grid lines are suggestive rather than accurate. I agree that some more along the same scale as the scale bar would be sensible, but this map was always intended to give the relative locations of the landmasses but not to act as an accurate distance measure. If I were to place the grid lines precisely alnogside the scale measure, that would suggest a precision that doesn't exist here. As it is, the lines give a local direction for North, but nothing more. The scale measure gives a rough idea of distances.

JFrazierjr: The coastal stroke is relatively heavy, and backed up by a subtle shadow that's been east west blurred. I always feel that the important features of a map should be the darkest element. Here that's the coast lines followed by the terrain definition - the mountain peaks and the rivers. Other features just make it pretty, but those features have to be clear for it to be a map. I have muted the lines on some other maps that I've worked on and it does look good. The issue is that if I were to change the colour of the coastal lines, then I'd have to change the colour of all the other black lines, and that would be a different colour for each terrain type. If I reduce the opacity I'd have to do the same. I think in this case the most consistent approach would be to reduce the thickness of the lines. I find that works best by right clicking the layer -> select pixels -> invert selection and then hitting delete. That keeps all the shape whilst reducing the weight and doesn't result in edges that are too heavy.

You got me thinking about it so I went off and did a quick test. Here's the result. This is at 100% zoom, so 3x the scale you'd see this at in a print.


The first is the original - drawn with a 5px hard round brush with pressure sensitivity. The second has the opacity turned down - the quickest way of reducing the weight of the line. However that has the problem that there is a boundary between the sea and land colours under there. By having it transparent you'd see the divide under the line in the areas with high contrast - which defeats the idea of a pen and ink look. The next panel shows what happens when I change the coastal colour to blue. This certainly helps, but is now clearly different from the line weight for all the terrain. I'd need to go in and change all of those as well for consistency. That would probably look great, but would be a reasonably large chunk of work. The last one is where I reduce the line weight directly by the method mentioned above. I like this a lot, and in restrospect gives the most balanced result. I think I may have over reduced the width here, as it's now thinner than some of the mountain terrain details, but it would give a more subtle result overall.

Thanks for pointing that out and making me think about it. It suggests that I might be going in to heavy with my 5px brush and might well benefit from using a thinner one in future.

03-25-2010, 02:12 PM
Yea, I see the issues that come up with each approach. Honestly, the one spot I noticed "the most" jarring was the NE coast of the center island where the desert meets the sea. The yellow->black->blue transition combined with what appears to be a slightly heavier pressure sensitive stroke just made that one section stand out quite a bit. Of course, this could just be my eyes also... BTW, those mountains are just awesome, but I especially LOVE the jungled mountains on center bottom!!!

03-25-2010, 02:15 PM
Yep, those jungle mountains were a joy. I'm glad you figured out that was jungle. It's tricky to portray three different types of forest to the viewer at that scale with only black lines and green. The fact that you got that just made my day :)

03-26-2010, 12:26 AM
I think Ill be doing a fair bit more in this style, so there will be others like this showing up in the future.

Can't wait to see more! I've really become enamored with this style, thanks to you and Djekspek.

03-28-2010, 11:01 AM
fantastic. simply stunning. downloading this as soon as i get home and seeing if i can apply you technices to my current campaign map. is it hand drawn or did you use a program? if so could you tell me what program?

03-28-2010, 11:05 AM
I demand a tut for those mountains!

They're too beautiful to keep to keep as a trade secret and I declare them the common heritage of all mankind!

03-28-2010, 11:08 AM
I used Photoshop CS4 and a Wacom tablet for this. It's all hand drawn in the sense that I didn't use any programs to generate the lines for me.

@Ravells: After my secrets now :) ? Yep, I've been meaning to put together a tute on that for a while. I think I'm probably in a position to do that now. I'll see what I can knock together.

03-28-2010, 03:45 PM
Don't give away the whole cow or you won't have any milk, bro. Leave a tut for this up to us non industry pros :) Oh wait, I guess I am an IP (just not as active about it)...but I gave away my cow a long time ago.

03-28-2010, 05:43 PM
But to be fair, Ascension, that has made you a figure of fame in the fantasy cartography world!! More pleasure to that than a bit of cash here and there?

I don't want Torstan's cow. I want its calves and the bull as well. (with the barn thrown in for good measure).

03-28-2010, 07:48 PM
I would settle for Torstan's chickens. And maybe a goat.