November Entry: Superstition Valley
No sense waiting for this next challenge. At first thought, an Old West map and style doesn't evoke digital graphics in my thinking. So I thought I'd try a complete 180 degrees for me and create a completely hand-drawn map, scanned and colored in Xara or Photoshop/GIMP (haven't decided.)
Setting: Superstition Valley, Arizona Territory (fantasy location), located along the border of Old Mexico, along the Dos Diablos River and the Sangra Madre Mountains. The region is known for mining - gold, silver, copper, even borax and other chemical mineral deposits. There are mining camps and mining towns, the former being mostly tents, the latter having a stamper and smelting operation.
The Red Mountain Apache tribal nation range throughout the Sangra Madre mountains and pose a persistant threat to the mining communities of Superstition Valley. Also the hacienda of Don Ernesto Reyes, former regional Mexican governor, prior to its seizure by the US government lies in the southern upper valleys of the Sangra Madre and maintain a band of "constabularios" who work as partisans/outlaws and raid the invader miners of the valley.
The railroad follows the Santa Domingo Trail, though the rich silver deposits at the Constellation Mine at Orion Hill are bring a railway spur into the valley, though it is far from complete. A village of Chinese laborers are building the tracks.
The communities of the Superstition Valley include: Orion Hill a wealthy silver town along the Dos Diablos River, Gila Gulch - a mining camp for placer gold on the San Paulo Wash, Fort Joachim - home of E Troop 3rd US Cavalry, and an hispanic mission at San Pedro. There even is a ghost town already, at Haleyville not far from Gila Gulch.
Oh and legend has it that the Lost Vaquero Mine lies somewhere in the wilds of the Sangra Madres, a King's ransom in gold, but is both cursed and hidden.
WIP - more of a doodle, I need to find a finer pen, and this is a GIF not a PNG, like I said, just a doodle so far... 8)
Yeah, I thought I'd do a little reverse engineering
By creating the map first, I can get the "look" I want, and by creating hills, and terrain features as individual objects, I can then pull them out and isolate them as individual map objects - thus I will be creating a dozen or so hill objects, etc. I plan to create several more mountain ranges going different directions and one spreading out, as well as several individual mountains. Though I may not use every terrain feature I create as individual objects.
Originally Posted by Arcana
For a compass rose, I plan use a native american motif. The north-south point will be an Apache spear with feathers, the east-west point will be a springfield rifle with native feathers, metal stud decorations, as would be done to a native owned rifle. The center piece will be a round "skin" shield with southwestern native geometric art painted onto it.
I may include some "wood-cut" type designs on the edging, as well as several inserts of prominent citizens or known desperados in the Superstition Valley. All labeling will feature heavy serif-western motif fonts, I may even place a legend that has a feel of a 19th century advertisement. 8)
I know I said, I prefer Dark Ages and earlier, but I'm having fun with this Wild West project!
Giving this more thought...
I'm thinking of minimizing the use of color, only using muted watercolor tones in the cactus/trees, detailing on the mountains, hills and major terrains, then relying on a parchment map background - black ink only for all other graphics and labeling.
Which means I'm not going to "type in" the labeling, that will be hand-drawn as well.
For the mountains, as a web object, I'm thinking of creating each "side of the mountains" as separate objects, allowing users to butt them up together closely for a narrower mountain range, or use only one side to separate a higher plateau from the ground floor below, or face each other to create a canyon like valley between two plateaus. This means I will be creating southern end pieces in different directions to allow the placement of mountains going different directions - to custom build your own mountain range.
For the towns and camps, I intend to use more than just that one "mining town" design, rather, I will be drawing prominent buildings at that location, rather than an entire town, and rather than just a circle or star. Thus each community will have its own unique marker.
For labeling I intend to combine text on scrollwork, hand-written descriptions right onto the map area at specific sites and large labeling that is "laying down on the ground surface" following the 3/4 view perspective in the map itself. I'm also researching drawings of women/natives/horses in 19th century style as embellishments at the corners of the map, and surrounding the legend, etc.
(I know Arcana said a simple Old West map and set of objects, I just can't control myself! :o)
In the end, I may try both a color and B/W version
I like the "black and white" only look myself, though once all the objects are placed on a map, perhaps color would truly help to visualize everything. However, I will be creating "colored" and "uncolored" versions of my map objects, so that I can create a b/w only map, as an option.
Additionally to prove that my mountain parts map objects work, I will be creating a few optional quick maps that show different mountain configurations with my hand-drawn map objects.
Finally, regarding the parchment background for this map, I'm thinking of just using a slightly manila white instead of true parchment look, since map printing existed for the old west onto normal paper and not necessarily parchment.
So I won't have any torn corners, burned edges, etc.
I am now referencing both old west 3/4 view maps and an 1876 Plat book of my county in Illinois for more ideas and to stay consistent with a 19th century mapping theme.
Next I have to work on buildings, mines, and communities - as far as drawing goes! 8)