In addition to the 16th century example Lukc mentions, the US Civil War styles I'm using this month include some sparser tree representations. A zoomable Civil War Atlas
(for which i needed to install a plugin - link for which appeared instead of the graphic, when I first tried to load one) shows what I mean:
Plate 21 on that page, the center-left inset has open (not tight-packed) scribbly trees, plus two kinds of marsh symbology on the same map - I take one to mean mostly water and some stuff sticking up, vs. mostly land and lots of puddles and swampy areas.
Plate 13 on that page has an open scribbly style of forests.
Plate 8 on that page varies from tightly scribbled to sparsely scribbled, to barely stippled - I suppose to show the density of coverage.
And plate 10 has maps with the widely-spaced single-tree symbology. I'll note that the cartographer felt a need to make those more identifiable tree shapes, even to a cast shadow -- if it takes that to make wide-scattered symbols look good, I'm going to be better off with massed scribbles :-).
On plate 56 of the next page of that site, on Map 6 there's some trees that are such random bits of green it almost looks like how you would stipple paint with a sponge. THERE's an act that would take supreme confidence - to painstakingly draw out a map and then go at it with a Really, Really random tool. Elswhere on the same map there are more complete scribbled-circle trees, so maybe the more random stuff was just light or incomplete printing. The adjacent map no. 5 also has some good cultivated-land symbology to use as an example.
Thank you for the examples and advice jbgibson. Still looking at how to do the tree's still testing things out.
And I apologize for lack of updates, I am unfortunately unsure if I will be able to make the deadline of the competition, though I will try!
Family issues came up and I lost a good week of work for the map so it's still sitting a little un-worked after the last picture update I gave. But! I am determined to get it finished before the 15th!
Depends, perhaps. For myself, the problem lays between a desire to represent terrain versus the reality that most terrain has something growing on it (or is under water). Blending the two - well, each one of us takes a different tack on that. You've set a style with the mountains. Perhaps a similar style would work with trees? Your mountains have a nice lazy sweep to the coast - what kind of landscape do you have in mind for the portion that is not a mountain? If it is a dry one, there will be fewer trees :-)