All I can say is: this looks 10 times better than all my first attempts
I don't know if it's just a sensation of mine, but you should diversify the sea and the land. At first impact, I thought the sea was the mass land and viceversa.
Also, try to put different symbols. However, well done.
PS: Nice font.
It's rather dark. I'd lighten it up a little myself, but that's a matter of taste. It's a nice simple map in most respects, but it could really do with some clear distinction between land and water.
I agree, it's a bit too dark. I find it hard to read it. Otherwise it looks like a fine start.
Good work for a first map! It could use a map border (or alternatively, jagged edges) and the text could be made just a little bit darker. I also second the need for greater distinction between land and water.
I really like the worn parchment effect... almost looks like it could be deer skin or something like that. Definitely an interesting texture to the background.
I agree that it's a bit dark atm and could use some lightening up, and that there could be some more separation between water and land. I was a bit confused as to which was which at first, until I looked at the labels. Looking closely, I can tell you're using different colors for different elements. I think maybe because it's so dark overall that the coloration is a bit lost.
Great start so far though!
I would either lighten the land or the water to bring them out as separate details. Also, you might think of back-lighting the text or giving them a bold, black color rather than a muted tone so you can see them more clearly.
I really like the overall concept and design and it looks a lot better than my first attempt at a map with gimp.