I'm attempting to spruce up the cartography for a NWN2 Persistent World that I'm a member of, and I've been buzzing through a variety of styles in order to find something I liked.
Here is what I'm currently playing around with.
Thanks go to the very fine tutorials in that subsection of the forums, which gave me a lot of food for thought and helped me get going in the first place!
All done in GIMP, with a high resolution paper texture taken from somewhere I forget. First picture is the basic outline, second is my experiments with hue for the water.
nice. i actually prefer the normal paper texture to the one with blue water, mostly because the water one looks more like its 'accidentally' stained.
I have to say I have the opposite opinion, for the same reason :P The one with blue sea feels more personal, I think.
Thanks for the feedback! I actually tweaked the blue a little in this one...
I decided I was happy with how it looked, and have been playing with labeling. I'd love your thoughts, of course!
Hmm, looks like you have some combined some incongruous styles here. The dark black stroke surrounding the land would have been more appropriate to an atlas style map (though even there I would have lowered the opacity a bit), but it doesn't really work with a semi-realistic/artistic map like this. You might try changing the color to a tan/brown and lowering the opacity, but honestly I'd probably just get rid of it altogether myself. The mountain look pretty good and the forests are ok but the rest of the land looks a bit too blue which, were the black borderline not there, would make it nearly indistinguishable from the sea. You might want to add more browns, tans and greens to the land to help distinguish it from the sea.
I've followed your sterling advice, and (surprise?) it looks better, I think.
Labeling is quite tentative at the moment, going to redo the mountain ones at least.
You're probably use warp thing to curve the labels. That's doesn't look that good since it's altering the font badly. You should use paths to curve them. Chasio made a quick tutorial about it here if you don't know how to do it.
I actually did do the whole text-to-path thing, but I'm using GIMP, so maybe that's the issue? I have my suspicions about why it's not come out brilliantly, however.
Actually, I don't see the problem with the text, it looks fine to me. A few letters are a little warped, but some imperfections just increase the hand-painted feel I think you are going for.
On another note, may I suggest making the rivers curve back and forth a little more? The long one in the center looks great, but the others are a little too straight to look real. That's the only bit of criticism I have, it's a very nice map!