Kingdom of Palinholme
Well, here is my first overland fantasy map submission. I am not entirely happy with it. One of the rivers "disappears" at the swamp, the swamp looks too flat, and the labeling is not very fantasy-like. The mountains came out okay, but still look a little too unrealistic in parts. The hills are too overpowering, I think the forest should take precedent and the edges turned purple (I know what I did wrong on that one). Scale is different in new map, as well as some name changes.
The original map I did back in the day, based on a campaign of mine that has been running since the early 90s. We started it back up last month, so I figured I'd make a new map. This new map was made entirely in Gimp, and the original with MS Paint (lol).
Anyways, its my first overland map submission. Please criticize the map, but maybe provide some helpful hints, too. I have been going through RobA's awesome tutorials, but haven't quite gotten it, yet.
I'm not all that familiar with RobA's tutorials, so I'll leave specific ideas and tips on that to someone more knowledgeable. That said, I think I can offer a few ideas on your map in a more general way. When I first started making maps on the computer I had a lot of trouble getting layer styles, blending, and colors to look descent and the good people of this forum helped me immensely. So, hopefully I can pass along some of the advise I got and so on.
For one, I think your colors are bit on the bold side which, along with the font as your said, does detract from the fantasy feel. As to the hills, I think -- and I'm no GIMP expert being more a photoshop person -- you might be able to make a brush with slight scattering which your could then bevel/emboss and so on and then blur the edges to get the hills to blend into the overall terrain.
That's more or less what I did with the hills in the attached image, and I'm fairly pleased with the result.
As to the river/swamp thing, I'd probably just draw the river through the swamp and make the swamp layer look a but more inundated with water. If you are using some kind of bevel and shade, making the deep shadows of the swamp similar in color to the water might help make the low ground look wattery.