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Thread: Art or Cartogrpahy - What is a map?

  1. #11
      Diamond is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by waldronate View Post
    Going one step further on the "art" or "map" topic is my pet peeve: the picture of a map. Too many times I see what would be a nice map, but the artist has chosen to add things like tattered edges, faux stains, and paper grain in an attempt to make the map look like a picture of a map. Without a context in which to communicate the reason that it's a picture of a map rather than a map "this map was passed down through generations, with the important travel paths shown as the stains of countless fingers tracing their journeys", then most of the decoration is likely superfluous.
    Personally, I can't agree with that. Having all the relevant information to make the map function in the manner in which it was intended is necessary, of course. But it also needs life, and character, and mystery, and romance, or it's just a bunch of boring lines and blobs. I don't understand why anyone would have a problem with that. Injecting life into something doesn't necessarily detract from its primary goal. Of course if the decoration becomes the primary focus, to the point where it obscures the map's functionality, then...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamond View Post
    Personally, I can't agree with that. Having all the relevant information to make the map function in the manner in which it was intended is necessary, of course. But it also needs life, and character, and mystery, and romance, or it's just a bunch of boring lines and blobs. I don't understand why anyone would have a problem with that. Injecting life into something doesn't necessarily detract from its primary goal. Of course if the decoration becomes the primary focus, to the point where it obscures the map's functionality, then...
    then... ... you get a failed attempt at a map like the ones I've been failing to make!

    Between the two of you, I think you just solved *my* problem I keep getting stuck on the fact that my maps aren't *pretty* enough... or *real* enough... before they are finished.

    Maybe the key is to make it functional and then pretty it up just a little? I dunno, but I'm going to try to work with this...

    THANKS!

    (I hope)

  3. #13
      foremost is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diamond View Post
    Having all the relevant information to make the map function in the manner in which it was intended is necessary, of course. But it also needs life, and character, and mystery, and romance, or it's just a bunch of boring lines and blobs.
    I'm not sure here. The things Diamond mentioned make
    a map interesting, but I don't think they are required for
    a functional tool. Maps were (and are) tools. More
    cartographers should think of them that way, in my
    humble opinion.
    The best maps are the ones we like the most after looking at the longest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foremost View Post
    I'm not sure here. The things Diamond mentioned make
    a map interesting, but I don't think they are required for
    a functional tool. Maps were (and are) tools. More
    cartographers should think of them that way, in my
    humble opinion.
    I think the better maps here are more than just technique, rather as Diamond put it, the artist has put 'life' into the work. I have done maps in the past, that were done to meet certain prerequisites and that's all that was done. I think any maps done that way fall short of conveying 'life'. When I design to my own concepts, the idea develops as I do the map, and include those ideas as I create it - thus giving it life, and the results are much more satisfying to me and to anyone looking at them, than maps done strictly as a tool.
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    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor rgcalsaverini's Avatar
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    Just wanted to share this really cool video here (the sound is important):

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    Professional Artist Cunning Cartographer's Avatar
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    Nice video and always good to hear someone elses thoughts and inspiration..

    ... but really I'm just sat here thinking "his rivers fork off too much..."

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      Falconius is online now
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunning Cartographer View Post
    Nice video and always good to hear someone elses thoughts and inspiration..

    ... but really I'm just sat here thinking "his rivers fork off too much..."
    Hmmm I got hung up on the name Fartrair personally. It was a pretty cool video though, regardless of nitpicking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rgcalsaverini View Post
    (the sound is important)
    Quote Originally Posted by Falconius View Post
    Hmmm I got hung up on the name Fartrair personally.

    I kept waiting and dreading... thank goodness it never came.


    It was a very nice video though.
    Have you "liked" a post today?

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      Lingon is offline
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    I'd just like to chip something in in the decorations-vs-no-decorations discussion. I'm still new in this hobby compared to most here, but… I think a map that is strictly information only misses one kind of information. It can show where people live, how many they are, to some extent also why they live there and for how long they have, but without an accompanying text, it can't show who they are. A decorated map can. Of course, at some point it stops being a map and becomes an illustration that includes a map (thinking of my Unangan Empire, if anyone remembers ), but it can be stretched pretty far in my opinion

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      lostatsea is offline
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    WOW. Lots of deep thoughts here. Hmmm! My opinion(S) are It depends. It depends on the purpose of the Map/ artwork . A map by some definition is a optical representation of an area/object with the purpose of helping on navigate through/to that area to achieve a purpose . Certain additional information is usually necessary to obtain the goal efficiently. A schematic of a circuit board is a map of sorts. It works much better if it denotes in some way which parts are which and where. A layout of your kitchen cupboard is much more efficient if all the pertinent items are labeled so you can find the peanut butter behind the sugar bag.

    In real world maps it is more important to follow stricter rules to be universally effective. Still the Navigation system in the auto though hardly handcrafted is still a digital map as it gets you from A to B or to the local coffee shop. Not very artsy though !

    On the other-hand I doubt any of you here will be visiting any of my worlds so extreme accuracy is less of a priority and for all intensive purposes they are just decorations. That somewhat resemble maps!

    What is required to define a map . The purpose (real/imaginary) the Goal(Real/imaginary) the information (real/imaginary) required to fulfill the goal. The larger the purpose and goal ,the more information that must be conveyed in some manner.

    A photo or painting of your cat isn't a map unless of course you are a flea and it also conveys the quickest route to the richest blood sources.

    Do maps need to be artsy ?? Does food need to be tasty ?? Lets face it not really ; BUT it is much more entertaining/enjoyable that way. As pointed out above. Certain artistic treatments(Although often done to death)(certain Fonts to remain Nameless) Add additional "Flavor" to the necessities. Sherlock Holmes could discern Volumes from the paper; font ; aging etc. Personally I find Atlas maps USEFUL but BORING. Purposeful but Flavorless. Still the serve their purpose well. I almost always post a back story with my maps. it helps me to convey the mood I am trying to get across in hopes someone will tell me if I did or didn't. It also helps me get into the mindset of the "Cartographer" and how would he/she map this area/object out using what techniques and tools and materials. Necessary ? NO !! Fun ?? YES !! There you have the whole mess ! Phew my hands are tired. So is my spell checker . Map what you feel, ask other if you are getting your "Flavor" across. And the techniques will come with time and guidance from all the folks here !


    PS> My brother respects my maps for the work that goes into them but since they don't look like a map for an Edgar Rice Bourghes Tarzan novel he really doesn't get the Vibe !!
    Last edited by lostatsea; 01-31-2014 at 10:31 PM.
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