Original Fantasy Map (no name yet haha)
Lately since gaming hasn't taken a hold of my life like it did 6 years back, I decided to get back into my creative-ness.... and well I reached into the OLD archives of my brain and art folders and found my ORIGINAL map... well i didn't like how it looked so I ventured to youtube and went to search for a few tutorials on how to create maps, if there was a map creating program out there. I found CC3, but I don't have the money to buy it... so I stuck with the photoshop tutorials. Which led me here, in the end! Originally I watched RPGMapMaker, but then found a tutotrial on here that helped more. I toyed with both concepts I found for about.. 3-5 days, and finally found a map I am rather fond of. Now.. its more realistic then what I'd like but at least it looks better then what my picture ones did! HAHA
The map itself is about 2000x2000 pixels... so its pretty big. I plan on doing a map, same size, for each region/country just to fresh out the details of my over-all world. Now, I would like for it to be a bit more FANTASY then realistic, but most of the fantasy maps I have found on here, have custom brushes but no link to the custom brushes and I'm a newb when it comes to creating new brushes/patterns and whatever else you can create in photoshop. Your comments would be appreciated to see if im going on the right track of doing my maps.
And yes, it's still a WIP because I still havent added the names to the capitals, cities, towns, villiages, rivers, lakes, and ocean(s).
Hello and well done! It looks nice, I particularly like the continental shelves. I think it has a lot of potential, however ...
The coast seems to me like it's made out of dykes to keep out the sea. The rivers seem a bit too thin and sharp compared to the terrain. The mountains don't seem to have enough "heft" compared to the continental shelves. And Lauranthion and Lauricor look to me like they're chiselled into the ground, while the other names seem to stick up - it might just be my visuals playing tricks tho.
BUT - this might all be a matter of taste, so feel free to disregard!
Not bad for a first try.
It might help if you tried to imagine the "in world" cartographer who made the map. What do they know about the world? What purpose do they have in mind for the map? What tools do they have available for drawing it? A typical, pseudo-medieval fantasy cartographer is not going to have the benefit of graphics software, air or satellite photos, colour printers, or comprehensive surveying, particularly not of deep water. Try looking up some real historical maps, though you should be aware that the real medieval period in Europe was fairly lacking in maps. They didn't use them much, and those few they did make bore little resemblance to anything we'd consider a map today.
You seem to be covering a fairly large extent (Judging by what the climate bands) with an equidistant cylindrical projection (judging by the graticule) That's not a good idea. In your case, I'd just drop the graticule.
The "continental shelves" are far too consistent in width making them look rather artificial. It's also unlikely that pseudo-medieval types would be aware of them, or would bother to put them on a map if they were.
Your climate model is really rather simplistic in only considering latitude. A little more thought might help give things a more real feeling. Proximity to the ocean, prevailing winds, and rain shadows from mountains all play a part and aren't too difficult to incorporate.
Consider laying off the emboss filter a bit. You really seem to be overusing it. Medieval scribes didn't have emboss filters.
The text would benefit from some letter spacing and maybe being placed on curves.
The mountains are rather haphazard in their placement. Mountains tend to run along plate boundaries, which means in most cases they run along the coastlines of continents.
The continents themselves are a bit erratically shaped. Continents tend to be fairly compact lumps with only a few protuberances or large island groups, which are usually tied to subsection zones (Kamchatka, Japan, Indonesia), continental seas (The British Isles), or smaller chunks that have welded themselves on (India, Iberia), usually resulting in mountains along the join (The Himalayas and associated mountains for India, the Pyrenees for Iberia)
Oceanic crust surrounded by continental crust is fairly unusual and tends to be associated with continents coming together or pulling apart. The Mediterranean, Black Sea, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf are examples in the real world, and the Great Rift Valley is working on becoming one. Only the Black Sea is completely enclosed by continent, and even then is still linked to the rest by shallow water channels. Either way you tend to get something elongated and or running in line with other significant features like valleys, mountains, rivers, and other bodies of water. The Mediterranean is fairly long, and has mountains along both sides (the Alps and the Atlas Mountains)
As Lukc said, the rivers are hard to see and the coasts appear to have dikes running along them.
If you want a more "pen and ink" look, you might try a vector graphics editor like Inkscape. It's what I use. It's also very good for labelling. As for symbols, try drawing your own. A few inverted V's and balls on sticks might look silly by themselves, but when you put them together in a map, you can get quite nice looking mountains and trees.