A copy of a post I made on another forum from a ways back - might contain some nuggets that had been overlooked or unseen by other parties. Specifically some of the under-the-radar map symbols and shading components. Hopefully these can help you pickup on using interrelated programs and pieces to build something better.
A new resource I've found from doing research about real-world cartography. Still a lot of the information is readily transferable to trying to learn how to expand your understand of map making and the like.
If you're looking for specific help you might also check out, http://www.cartotalk.com. They seem rather nice and helpful despite being far more advanced than I can claim to be. These guys are working with GIS topographical data instead of trying to build it from the ground up, but its still applicable in practice of technique and steps for desired results.
Resources are also widely available like map icons sets and the like.
Color scheme selector, one of many on the web these days: http://wellstyled.com/tools/colorscheme2/index-en.html
Dozens of materials patterns in PDF, Illustrator and other formats for use. Great resource for terrain development.
Main Page: http://structure.harvard.edu/~andrea...erns/index.htm
Some parks service symbols for map designation, fairly useful.