The Islands of Kurtau
Hello all. I've been working on another map, http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?19529-The-Subcontinent-of-Takunda-WIP (specifically Engarnia), and I ran across a few bits of difficulty. I'm not very happy with some of the landmarks and mountains. I'm too much of an obsessive perfectionist, you might say.
Well, I decided to try some hand-drawn features. And instead of spending time on my brainchild, I came up with another place to test these methods on: The Islands of Kurtau, miles and miles away from Engarnia :)
Alright, so. I need an island first. Nothing can 100% replicate nature's ability to create coastlines, etc. Kurtau is supposed to be an island several hundred miles long. So, first thing to do? Google Maps and Earth an island that's only several hundred feet long, of course.
I fell in love with the Island of Ramsey (United Kingdom) the moment I saw it. It is a bit big for my process, about 1.7 miles at the longest point, but I decided it will do very nicely. So: Grab a Maps screenshot or two of it first:
And now I can get to work! I've already done a little bit of work on it, but I'll separate the posts for the sake of organization. I am a perfectionist, after all.
Alright so from these screenies I need an outline. I like the precision of the Maps picture but It's also too smooth, owing to the fact that the island is so small.
The Earth image will provide some naturalish jaggedness (scientific term I made up, mind you) as well as.... some other things. I like the chain of islands as it is, but it needs to be fantastic, so I will hand draw some smaller islands to complement the main landmass. Also, the small island of Ramsey, UK, is very flat. I will need to add mountains and stuff. I liked the shape of the island because it basically screams "Long mountain range thrust up from a fault line". I don't really like "circular" islands.
Anyway, rambling. So I came up with my outline in GIMP using the two screenies...
...And printed it out. My goal here (or one of them) is to try my hand (pun intended) at some hand-drawn features and such. With pen, not with a GIMP brush or something. So I took the printout, drew a basic plan of my map, and also added some more islands. I took into account rainfall and weather patterns to decide on my water sources, mountains and forests. And voilą!
I now have a basic plan for my map, as well as my new islands. Now, let's start the REAL work.