Map of Yackoone
Hello everyone! This is my very first post on this fascinating forum I found this afternoon and I would like some help.
This is a section of a map I'm working on:
It's part of a world called Yackoone, which is the setting for my fantasy series. It's much more of a political map than topographic and I would like some help with how to both include topographical landmarks and numerous important places without it getting too crowded. It is still in the early stages and I know it pales in comparison to some of the incredible works of cartographic art I have seen on this site but I would very much appreciate any help. Especially with the placement of names. Which I am terrible at. Thank you! :)
Your map has a nice shape, I must say. :) One of the major things I'd do is remove the nation colours and use lines to mark the borders instead (with the nation's colour on the edge of its side of the border, if that makes any sense. That's just me, though). If you're going to include a whole host of information on your map, you'll probably end up using a large amount of different lines, so be sure to have a clear distinction between borders, rivers, routes and so forth. A key would also be very helpful. For things like cities and whatnot, marker icons would be the logical choice. Finally, that map is pretty tiny. If you're going to include a lot of information, you'll want to make it at least about 2000 x 2000 pixels from the start.
But I'm also a novice cartographer, so see all of those as not-all-too-educated suggestions. ^^
That's a good start. I'd agree with Rhotherian's suggestions. You have to ask your self what you are trying to convey with the map. If it is a collection of information that will help you write adventures and history for your setting or is it something you wish to be more "artsy" with depictions of mountains and rivers and other features. Maps can become very crowded very fast as information is added to them. You might want to consider doing a few versions of the map if you think your going to "overcrowd" it. I wish you success and keep up the good work !! :)
Excuse me? The map is 6000 x 5000 pixels already! I'd rather have said: it is much too large for the level of detail included (though that may change.)
Originally Posted by Rhotherian
To comment on the map: indeed a very well shaped land. The layout and colours, labels and the font work together very nicely, though when you add more details you might want to take Rhotherians advice and switch to border-colouring to show the political structures.
You should also be careful with the layout of your rivers. Especially on Corphus they seem to do some physically quite wierd things. (Linky-link to the most important tutorial ever)
What, really?? o.O That's odd, my browser shrunk it down for some reason.
Thanks so much for the help, guys. I am absolutely terrible with rivers, so thank you for the link, Freodin. This is only just a section and I don't have much time for maps right now due to school, so this project is going to take a long time. I really appreciate all the help, though. :)
There's a really good guide to label positioning that Ravells posted, which might help you. I can give you a couple of pointers right from the current state of this map. Particularly when the line weight of your text is about the same as the line weight of features, you want to avoid criscrossing the two, which confuses the viewer's eye. Examples are the K of Kanstern and the lead parenthesis below it - both should have a little separation from the mountain symbols. It's best to avoid crossing features with labels at all, where you can. At ...Kingdom Of Nardar, you could tweak to get the O off the lake. Southern Nardan being across the river - not much choice there. Some part of Duchy Of Averia is going to cross that river, but you could at least move the word Duchy leftwards to clear the river.
The other advice you've gotten is good. I'll leave the river placement guide as an exercise for you to read through, and you can see what that would change about your rivers. The one thing I'll mention is a bit of a special case - if you do have a broad swath of swamp like you show, I'll buy it being a source for three different rivers, as being reasonably plausible. Ordinarily, if it were an outright lake, no way - it would be one outlet only. But swamps, marshes, and bogs are on again-off again land vs. water, so I'll grant there could be some slightly higher points in between those headwaters areas, for water to be flowing down from. In general though, remember any one point of water-level is going to have one or more inlets but only one outlet. Read the guide and see if that clears it up - if not we can specifically critique your river placement.
Oh, and welcome to the Guild, a couple of weeks late :-). We appreciate joiners immediately becoming contributors. You may think at this point you're totally asking, but providing a map and getting discussion going on it will teach somebody something, so you're already adding value, and thanks!