A little faster now: My Second Map
See, you've been and gone and encouraged me now. So armed with my free software and my tutorials and the advice I got in a previous thread, I drew nother map. This one looks sort of like a roadkill moth.
Even with Arsheesh's tutorial, forests are hard.
Opinions, thoughts, advice, and abuse are all equally welcome. One day I hope to be good enough to draw a continent worth giving a name.
my big suggestion is refine. Take the work you've done and refine it with the suggestions provided, that way you can learn the tools better.
my second suggestion is that your island to the south is really off-putting. it's really light colored and surrounded by a huge glow - makes it feel very out of place. maybe toning it down a bit would be appropriate?
The rivers could need a little colour variation... or perhaps a slight bevel.
Else... very nice map!
Very nice indeed! I agree with Schyzm, that the southern island is a bit light/bright. I'll go a bit further and say the color you've chosen for your shallow water is a bit bright and doesn't match the darker ocean color well. I think that contributes to the apparent brightness of the small islands.
I'd suggest, so far as the rivers go, that you do them in Wilbur when you make your height map. They tend to turn out rather nicely there, and following that portion of Arsheesh's tut would go a long way to tying all the water features together.
It kinda looks like you may have mixed and matched a couple tutorials to make this map, which is fine, but it does leave you with some rather bright portions of the map.
All in all though, it is a good effort and I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!
The graticule (grid) doesn't make sense for this map.
If it's meant to be a lat-lon graticule, then a square grid means the projection is Plate Carree/Equirectangular, which has some specialized uses, but would make a horrible choice for a continental reference map as it causes severe and quite ugly distortion near the poles. Your map doesn't show this but judging by the scale and the terrain, this map includes high latitudes which should show severe distortion in this projection. That would actually make the land distorted the opposite way.
Think about how the meridians get closer and closer together so that they meet at the poles, and the parallels are circles around the poles that obviously get smaller as they get closer to the poles. To draw them as a rectangular grid obviously means distorting things. (Which isn't to say other projections don't distort things, but it's a matter of picking the projection which avoids distorting the things you care about for the particular map you are making)
A compass rose and scale bar are also inappropriate in the projection and extent implied by this graticule. Plate Carree does not preserve bearings so a compass is wrong (It preserves the cardinal directions, but squashes the "diagonals"), and the high distortion you'd get near the poles means there's no true linear scale either.
For a continent like this, covering some higher latitudes and with greater extent east-west than north-south, a conic projection would make more sense. This still wouldn't preserve bearings, but would potentially keep linear scale close enough to true over the whole area to justify a scale bar.
So I'd suggest ditching the graticule, or replacing it with a conic one. You should also label it if you have one as it really doesn't accomplish much if it isn't labelled.
There are other kinds of graticule for other coordinate systems like UTM or the locator grids used on street maps. I don't think they really make sense for a general reference type map like this.
I should explain that those squares are not meant to be lines of latitude and longitude. They're simply squares 600 miles on a side.
Why are they there? Because when and if I decide to develop one of my continent maps for RPG gameplay (which is the ultimate goal), I can import each 600 mile x 600 mile square into hexographer and break it into 30-mile hexes, which is what I've found optimal for RPG gameplay at a strategic scale. It's also then convenient to break the 30-mile hexes into 6-mile subhexes, which I've found optimal for RPG gameplay at the day-to-day scale.
Why so? Well, there's a whole blog-post in praise of 6-mile hexes here with which I agree, and it also happens that my preferred system has daily movement rates in multiples of 6 miles.
Does that mean my map won't project correctly onto a globe? Yes. It's a big flat oblong. At least with these first few maps that I'm making, I'm deliberately sacrificing geophysical realism on the altar of convenience in play.