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.
Last edited by kurisari; 02-28-2010 at 12:01 AM.