Sorry I've been MIA lately. Here's a follow-up to the Vaasa map I did for D&D's Backdrop series called Chessenta. Though it's a different region of Faerun, I wanted to maintain the new overall style so that the Forgotten Realms have a flavor all their own (At least when I'm mapping them). The article was written by Brian R. James who also wrote the Cormyr, Sarifal, and Vassa articles that I worked on. He's top-notch!
Let me know what you think. If you have any question, comments, or crits I'd love to hear em.
The overall look of the map is superb, of course. That particular style you do is really unique; very sharp, really nice use of depth, the color scheme is a little mute, but still cool.
The only thing I have an issue with is the hills. At least that's what I think they are. I'm talking about those circle-shaped elements, with the strokes around them. I just can't seem to figure out what they are suppose to represent. Are the strokes suppose to indicate elevation? If so, they look sorta like big bulbs, not like the natural shape of the land. Given that all your other representations of depth, like the southern ravine and the Maw and all the mesas, look really stunning, I think those circles look out of place.
But really, literally all the rest looks sweet.
I have to agree with you about the hills. The more I look at it the more they bother me. The hill style is a bit of a FR convention and I should have given them a more naturalistic character to fit the rest of my style. Next time.
As far as the pallet goes, I kind of like a softer color scheme when there are a ton of text elements. Keeps the tags and art from competing with one another too much. It's also an homage to the old school FR maps.
The hills look completely natural to me, but I spent a long time poring over FR maps back in 3.5 days. The only thing that strikes me is the difference between the Adder Hills and the rest of the hills on the map. Is it actually a different type of terrain? It's not immediately clear what that could represent.
The map looks great as usual - your work is always stellar. I would like to bring up one point. Its not a crit as I was not sure I was in agreement with this point being made on another map but it would be good to hear your comment. Its to do with the labeling. Someone once pointed out that if you have text that is at an angle close to but not quite horizontal then it appears odd to the eye. There's a lot of text at a slope of about 10 deg sloping up to the right. I cant decide whether it is a problem for me or not but now that someone pointed it out I can't not see it. In this map it doesn't appear out of place but sometimes I see it and it does look odd. E.g. in Methwood the slope seems natural but its more distracting to me in the "Bay of Chessenta" and I don't think its required for the shape of the bay. But then maybe it would look less interesting if all square - I dunno, interested in your comments on this point.
Amazing work, as usual :-)
The Adder Hills are actually floating earthmotes. Thus the cast shadows.
Originally Posted by Gidde
I'm actually organizing the text so that only the man-made features like towns or points of interest (but not roads or trails) are on the horizontal. Natural terrain features and regional names I place on a curve so that they follow the shape of the feature they name. The text color is also defined by it's related content. With so many tags to place, if they were all on the horizontal many would obscure the underlying art and clutter the map. Point taken though about the degree of angle that the text is placed at.Sometimes it does seem a bit too subtle. It's a balancing act though, finding the right text placement in relation to art.
Originally Posted by Redrobes
Last edited by Schley; 05-23-2010 at 05:32 PM.
Reason: additional comments
Here's a link to the Backdrop article by Brian R. James in Dungeon Mag. Gotta be a subscriber to D&D Insider to read it though.
Originally Posted by tilt
Great map indeed.
Thanks for comment on the earth motes - they really did look very odd but that explains it. As for the rest of the hills, I think they fit into the style. Again, I'm a big fan of the 3.5 Faerun maps so I like the style already. If anything, it's the mountains that I would disagree with. The hills are clearly representational so I have no problem with the large size. They clearly jus designate a hilly region. However this means they are much larger than the mountain ranges - that look more 'realistic'. I'm not sure that gels entirely.
I like the colour palette and the ever more watercolour nature of your work. I also love the development of the borders and compass. That's a new feature for this map - no blazing sword compass anymore? This is certainly a great map and I really like development in your style. The FR maps are in good hands. I'm really pleased that you got the job of defining the new surface of Faerun in 4e.
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