Yes, yes, yes. I'm new here. I definitely would like to meet others who are in my situation...if there are any others like myself! (I'm also meeting anyone, actually).
I am a freelance professional cartographer (for real) and I work in Adobe Illustrator (and sometimes Photoshop), InDesign, et al. Since I've only been gaming for about five years, I've only done a few maps for RPG (D&D, Savage Worlds), but I want to expand into this more.
In addition to the graphics formats listed above, I'm also toying with GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software to create an entire RPG world that can be manipulated in similar means to Google Earth, MapQuest, and so on.
Does anyone have any tips on how to do so professionally?
BTW...some of the maps that I've seen here are fantastic. I would love to share tips, advice and so on.
Welcome to the guild shifty-eyed!
Do I understand correctly you want to create fictional maps professionally? That might be difficult... most of us do this for fun. There's a few industry professionals who also visit this forum and seem to get by.
If you want to pick up commissions for fictional maps: post your work on the forum and get noticed. Sometimes we also get paid commission requests, see the subforum.
Yes, I would like to be noticed! Here I am! Hello?
To answer your question, I would like to do this professionally (fantasy mapping) for gold or platinum pieces. If someone can offer me advice, I'll take it. Since your post a few minutes ago, I have posted several of my maps on my profile. Even the coffee stains are part of the illustrations.
In return, I'll help where I can. I am an honest-to-god (chaotic-neutral) cartographer in my real life. I typically draw maps of places like New York, Los Angeles, and Cleveland. Wine maps of the Napa Valley; tourism maps of Big Bend National Park; Chamber of Commerce maps for El Centro, California.
I can't help very much with tools such as Gimp. But I can help with Adobe Illustrator (my forté) and with Photoshop. InDesign is also used for pulling together layouts for publication.
As an aside, I am also a certifiable map geek. I have been experimenting with creating geographic databases of fantasy worlds for use in high-end Geographic Information Systems, high-end software that places like MapQuest use to send maps to you online for routing and what not.
Maybe some of the people who are in the business can give you a few tips. A good portfolio is probably important. A good way to hone your skills is to work on a map and post the work in progress on this forum to get feedback.
In your album I like the Ankhapur Necropolis map best. Very crisp and clear map and a neat style.
Some pretty good stuff there on your profile. I don't want to burst any bubbles but doing this doesn't pay a whole lot of bills unless you get hired by a big company...which are currently well-stocked. What I would suggest is that whenever a request pops up for you to chime in and let the person know that your available and point them to your profile with a link. Other than that just play around in the monthly challenges like the rest of us and try out new things.
Any advice you can offer on Illustrator would very helpful because I'm one of those guys who just can not figure that thing out...and I'm sure that there are many others. If you're wanting to play your cards close to the chest then just make as many good maps as you can and post them up...respect (we call it reputation here) will come your way then.
Yeah, have some rep for the maps you are showcasing at the moment :)
Welcome to the Guild! Nice maps you've posted too!