WIP: The Islands
This is my first post besides my introduction, so I hope I'm posting in the right place.
The map I've posted goes along with a story I've been working on for the better part of decade off and on, though much more actively recently. I attached the image. Should I have embedded it instead?
It's not an entire world, but rather a group of islands that were at one point joined but moved apart by semi-realistic cataclysmic events. I say semi-realistic because in this world, the deities can nudge the forces of nature, but not push them. For example, they could subtly build up pressure that would lead to an earthquake, but not create an earthquake out of the blue by sheer will. So, the framework is realistic, but with tampered-with circumstances.
The scale of the islands is relatively small. I haven't nailed it down, but you should be able to journey across the entire thing by foot in a month or so. Maybe 300 miles wide or so? Maybe smaller.
The biggest questions I'm struggling with right now are:
* Are my land masses realistic?
* Given the right circumstances, would it be possible to have the environments/features that I've labeled on the map in such close proximity, and in this arrangement?
Thank you so much for all of your help. This is exciting!
Hi and welcome, Mr. Coktail :). Yeah, an attached image is fine.
As far as I'm concerned, the landforms look like they could result from natural processes (except for the cracking up - but you covered that), more to the point they look good visually, which is just as important in a fantasy map. From your distribution of terrain features, it would seem your islands get their prevailing moist (warm) winds from the south-west. Unless you have volcanic or thermal effects in the middle "seas" I would think your jungles would be further south-west (air loses moisture over land). Your massive delta looks incongruous - it doesn't fit. You have dry, rocky land in the north - then "wham", massive delta. For a massive river delta you need a huge river system feeding into the sea and depositing sediment. For a delta of that size, those mountains would have to be really huge or you would need some other source of water, like a divine hot spring or something. Personally, I don't think such a small montane region could naturally provide enough water to create such a large delta.
Did i mention I liked how it looks? Because I do. The forms are a really good starting point for a map, if you ask me.
I'll do some reworking and move the jungle south west. It could start in that big chunk on the bottom center of the map instead of forest, and then dry as it goes north east, if that works.
As for the massive delta, I was considering a large mountain range with an eternal (or very frequent) storm at it's peak that drains primarily north into the region where the delta would be. It would then spill of the northern tip of that western island over some cliffs and form a waterfall that spans that northern coast. The big question I have about that is what the winds and such would have to be like to drop that much rain on a mountain or mountain range that consistently. Like the other aspects of the islands, it can be a very improbable explanation, but not impossible.
Thanks for your awesome feedback. I'm glad you like how they look!
My knowledge of geo-thermal activity and wind patterns is minimal, so I won't comment on this (and besides, LukeC already did a good job of this), but I agree that overall shape of the land masses is attractive.
An eternal storm would definitely cover it. You could say it's a bowl like range, maybe the caldera of a massive eruption or some such, with a steam volcano at the center. The surrounding caldera rim would then funnel most of the rain towards a break in the northwest and hey-presto - massive amounts of water, sufficient for a huge delta ... probably with a lot of black, grey and red sands from the igneous rocks being worn down. As soon as you have deities in the mix, making things "believable" within the context of a world is much easier, so long as the explanation "works".
Originally Posted by mozltovcoktail
Great suggestion about the steam caldera. I could definitely see going that route. The only thing is that I was thinking the east island would contain the volcanic zone, so I'd prefer an eternal storm on the west island.
Could moist winds coming from the north west (as well as the south west), and then hitting a large mountain range in the north west of the western island create such a thing? If so, would that leave the eastern part of the western island too dry?
If the eternal storm gets too hard to justify, I'll go for a caldera. The idea of the eternal storm is just too rad for me to abandon quite yet :)
I'm no meteorology expert! Some other guys are much more in depth regarding this stuff ... personally, I think if you get that much moist wind, most of the island is going to end up pretty steamy, like Borneo. :D Anyway, an eternal storm would definitely work. Even if the land was just sloping to north west, say from the event that broke the western island off from the rest, you would end up with most of the water diverting that way.
Originally Posted by mozltovcoktail
I got myself a copy of PS CS5, took a picture of my drawing, added it as a layer and traced it on a new layer with my pressure sensitivity deactivated for a nice even line. The results are below.
I made my file 2000 x 2000 pixels at 300 dpi, but when I zoomed in to do the tracing, the line 5 pixel brush was still a bit pixelated. Should I go to a bigger canvas size and/or higher resolution, or will I be able to get all the detail I want with the current setup?
Now it's time to watch a bunch of tutorials and learn how to breath some life into this bad boy, and prepare myself for a learning curve.
### Latest WIP ###
Does using a 3 to 5 px brush for the outlines in the attachment above seem right to you guys? I don't have much room to go smaller for fine detail, but maybe I won't need it?
Do you use a pen and tablet or a mouse? With a pen you could turn on the pen pressure to make thinner lines with the same pixel size.