The very early stages of this map were posted in another thread, but the coastline has changed a little, the name has changed, and that thread has been lost in the mix, so I decided to post a new thread. This is my first map ever, for the world of Avera, the setting of a novel I am writing. I am posting what I have completed so far, and all comments that aren't just "You suck!" are welcome! I'm new at this and not very artistically gifted, so all help is appreciated.
Also, credit to Quabbe for the mountain brushes used on this map, the thread to which is here and to Dieter Steffmann, whose free fonts from http://www.dafont.com are used.
I like the colour scheme but I've always been fond of brownish tones. Also your landmass shapes are very pleasing to my eye. It might be worth lowering the opacity of the mountains so the tone matches the coastal outline more though.
I also think your text might benefit from the use of a very subtle creamy coloured outer glow or something similar, but that's just my personal aesthetic. Also your world Title text looks a bit weak because of how bold the sea and land labels are. I think either using less bold place labels or a heavier title would work better.
And your compass looks like something of an afterthought. Might work better a little larger in the bottom right.
I agree with all of Larb's suggestions. In addition, you might want play around with the layer mode of the text so that the text looks more like an ink wash than just straight black (e.g. you might try overlay, then duplicate the layer and perhaps change the layer mode of the duplicate to burn, or keep it as is).
Is it just me, or did anyone glance at the map quickly and think that the ocean was the land and the land the ocean. Somehow felt opposite until I read the labels and saw the mountains. Maybe it's the lack of texturing or shading on the land, giving it a too flat feeling.
But it's looking pretty great, so I'm sure you'll figure it out.
As for the land/water confusion issue, I think that will fix itself when I've filled the map out a little more. Thanks for the suggestions. I certainly planned on doing something with the text but didn't know exactly what, so your tips are helpful. I was also playing around with the mountains and I think I've found a look that works. Hopefully I'll have more completed soon. I have a free weekend this week :D
Looks like a great start. I would love to see how it develops ;)
Before I read the labels, I thought that the dark part was the land instead of the light brown part.
edit: oh nevermind, other people mentioned that