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Thread: Arachadia: Fantasy Map Commission

  1. #1
      xpian is offline
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    Map Arachadia: Fantasy Map Commission

    This map of Arachadia depicts the lands, sites, and journeys of the characters in an upcoming fantasy novel. I was provided with a simple sketch by the author. I spent the next few weeks working on the map, corresponding with the author for guidance and clarification while working out the best way to depict the various terrain types.

    For a while I had simpler, flat icons for the cities and castles. When I began to test print-outs of the map at the desired final size, which is 5.5 by 8.5 inches, I realized that some of those tiny details would be lost and result in each site icon looking much the same as the others. I transitioned to an isometric-view large building-style icon for each place and was much happier with the result.

    Working out the look of the sandy desert in the south (with its dunes), the cold desert in the north (with its canyons), and the wavy sea (with its breakers) took time and experimentation. I'm always seeking to draw the map in a way that's immediately clear, and therefore references maps that have come before, but also in a way that feels like my own style. That said, I have clearly been influenced by many of the great cartographers in this and other forums on the way to developing that style. The look of the grasslands in the interior and the trunks of the trees are things that are emerging as I practice with them, inspired a bit by Mike Schley's work.

    The full-resolution map will be printed in physical form, but the author also had need of an image that would work well in an e-book. It turned out that the high-res version of the map didn't look good on certain e-readers, due to simplistic and clumsy automatic downsampling. Working with the author's needs, I stepped the resolution down carefully in Photoshop to produce a half-resolution version of the map that the author was very happy to use in the e-book.

    All off the ink-work in the map, including the (relatively simple) border was done in ProCreate on the iPad using an Adonit Jot Touch stylus. The map was then brought into Photoshop for the application of all the text labels.

    Arachadia: Fantasy Map Commission-arachadia_xpian_final.png
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    Open to cartographic commissions. Contact me: christian [at] stiehl.net
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  2. #2
      Sapiento is offline
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    Well done, fine details and easy to read.

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      xpian is offline
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    Thank you, O sapient one.
    Sapiento likes this.
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    Open to cartographic commissions. Contact me: christian [at] stiehl.net
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      Domino44 is offline
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    Lovely, I love the water, the rose compass, the sand dunes, the ravine, this is just fantastically full of detail!
    I AM STRONG because I know my Weaknesses, I AM BEAUTIFUL because I learnt to recognize illusion from Real, I AM WISE because I learn from my Mistakes, I AM A LOVER because I have felt Hate, and... I CAN LAUGH because I have known Sadness.

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      Ilanthar is offline
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    Very nice map! Everything is very well done, but I especially like the waves and forests (it must be dark in there ).

  6. #6
      xpian is offline
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    @ilanthar - Aye, dark it be. And full of spiders.
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    Open to cartographic commissions. Contact me: christian [at] stiehl.net
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      Corilliant is offline
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    And a Basilisk too?
    Very nice!
    Be afraid; be very afraid.

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