Hiya all. I've been lurking for a few days, soaking up information and techniques, and decided to put what I've learned to work making a stylized map for use in a tabletop campaign that I'm currently planning (I could use extra players, so if anyone in the Tulsa area wants in on it, go ahead and respond). This map owes its existence entirely to the tutorials created by RobA and darklingrisen, so thank you very much to both of you!
The map is currently unfinished, requiring city placement and text, but it has the basic terrain in place. The shape is based on a de-iced Antarctica, obviously moved to a more temperate climate. I tried to keep the terrain placement realistic where I could, but design needs trump realism in some cases, such as where the desert formed by the rain shadow of the western mountains should probably extend to the main continent. The forest in the northeast is going to act as something of a "new world", most travel is going to by boat and you can assume that all rivers on the map are navigable for the majority of their length. I have the locations of the remaining features planned already and only need to draw and place the icons for the cities, which are going to be stylized depictions of their major unique features.
As far as equipment goes, this was made entirely with a mouse in GIMP, which is all I have access to. I welcome any and all feedback and look forward to joining the community.
I like the Rob-Style map a lot better. I always felt that darkling's style is not really suited for larger area maps... the way the forests turn out make it too nervous in my eyes.
But I think the new map worked out quite well. Perhaps you should consider making it a little larger again, and reduce the relative size of some of your labels. Right now, your map is rather buried in text. Especially your rivers are drowned under the weight of their names.
Also you might consider to flip the label for the Goblin's Teeth. Vertical text is always difficult to read, but I'd say the other way round would be an improvement.
I agree with Freodin, the map is buried in text. But the over all look is very nice. Keep up the good work.
One thing that leaps out at me when I look at the new map is that the textures for the various terrain features (mountains, forests, etc.) seem very smooth and 'blobby' especially when compared to the shape of the land masses which have some interesting jaggs.
I was concerned about the small size of the map and thought that the text would be too small, so I overcompensated for the size. I guess getting that kind of thing right will come with experience. And the forests and mountains do seem too smooth, but I'm not completely sure how to get them to look uneven without looking odd. Maybe create a new layer mask similar to how I got the land to look so jagged and then put a bit of blur on the mask to smooth the boundary transitions? I'm also unsatisfied with the compass rose, but after hours of putting the map together I was ready to do something easy and call it a night. That will probably get fixed on any subsequent versions. Thanks for the feedback, though. It's quite helpful.
As Freodin said, vertical text is hard to read. If you have no alternative, then you want the text to go up instead of down like it is now. Usually, you want to try and keep labels no more than 45 degrees off horizontal. And to reiterate, the map is buried in text.
Otherwise, it is a nice looking map.
Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun. - Albert Einstein
A good friend will come down and bail you out of jail. A best friend will be in jail with you and say, "Dude, we screwed up."
Thanks for the feedback everybody. I'm going to reduce the size of the text and reposition some of it to make the map more legible and less buried in text. I'm also going to look at using a technique on my forest and mountain edges similar to the one I used to get the land edge to look so nice, then blur the mask to smooth the transition a bit. Also, does anybody have a somewhat larger palette that's good for atlas style maps? The one that I used for this is nice, but seems to be missing a little bit of variety for some uses, specifically colder areas, and I'm terrible at mixing my own colors.