Using Photoshop CS5
So I've gone through a lot of tutorials on the internet on how to make my map look the way I want (old hand drawn style), seems pretty straight forward. So my question is about creating the actual landmass.
So I've got a hand drawn map (an actual one on graph paper) it is of the world I want to replicate on the computer. So my question is about how to create the landmass. Would my best bet be to re-draw it in CS5 or would it be best to trace the existing map coastline onto another paper and scan it onto my computer to use and "paste" it onto photoshop?
So basically, what is the best way to render a custom landmass on Photoshop CS5?
I would scan the existing map and trace over the image in Photoshop.
Or, you could preserve your existing line work. Place a new layer below the scanned image, and set the scan's blend mode to Multiply. Multiply will eliminate the white of the paper and mix the darker colors into the underlying layer. You'd still have to find a way to remove the graph paper lines, probably. If they're light enough, a Curves or Levels adjustment might be enough to remove them, in addition to strengthening the lines you want to keep.
When I use a scanned drawing, I like to scan it at 600 dpi, blur by 2 pixels, then scale it down 50%. I find this makes the lines look nicer than if I scan at 300 dpi to start with.
another way would be scan the existing image and trace it using the path tool, then right click stroke path. onto a layer above.
I would scan it into Photoshop, new layer, pick a brush, trace by hand with tablet or mouse, new layer filled with white, move it under the line drawing but above the scan. I always put my lines on their own layer - layer for continent, layer for mtns, layer for forests, layer for rivers etc - that way if I mess up I don't accidentally erase something like a set of mtns.
Ditto to the above - with the additional caveat that the presented methods work well in all versions of photoshop, not just cs5 - and in Gimp from what I know of it :)
I would suggest scanning the image, tracing the line on a transparent and putting another background behind it. For the next section of your work, scribble in a rough outline of all the landmarks in different colours on a transparent layer and reduce opacity to about 40%. Then you can create a layer for Mountains, Rivers, Forests, Swamps, Hills, etc and draw each separately above the colour-guidelines. That's the way I do it.