This map is actually a piece of the larger, world map I came up with first (because I needed climate zones). If you like, you can see the full world map here. To make this map, I basically copied and pasted a section of the world map into a new document. (If you're wondering, it's the easternmost continent's southern hemispherical section, the bit with the peninsula)
Scale is about 1224 km by 932 km
As you can tell, it's really, really rough. So far I have the mountains, hills, and a few rivers figured out (i'll probably add more water bodies later). The varying shades of green denote what kind of climate it is... olive green is the mediterranean, dark green is forest (climate is apparently like Britain), darkest green is the coniferous forest... I'm 90% certain that as it's the taiga climate zone, it's not that green, but currently I just blocked out the climates. White, as you can probably infer, are the ice caps/tundra. To the other side of the mountains I have the coniferous forests (light green) and deciduous forests/grassland (darker olive green).
Now I've got two problems: Are these rivers realistic? I've been reading the tutorials, but I'm still not entirely sure.
What sort of climate can I expect as I go up the face of the mountains? Would it be mediterranean all the way, or would it change to coniferous forests? I'm stumped, but I'll keep looking around at resources.
Thanks for any tips and tricks you guys can offer!
I'm impressed that you started with climate zones, that sort of ground-work can really help your world take shape. I'm not an expert, but I'd guess climate changes up and over your mountains would be very dependent on how high (and how old) the mountains are. Based on what you've provided they look tall and craggy. Did you hand-draw all the mountains? This is looking good, I'm hoping to see more soon.
I have The Planet Construction Kit and since I wasn't sure where the culture would be placed to begin with (I wanted a temperate zone), I just started with the world map, and then, because I'm trying to be realistic, did the climate zones. It's simpler, to my mind, to have them than to not have them, if that makes sense.
The mountains on this particular continent are either not high enough to provide a rainshadow, or the winds are being weird. I'm not sure. At any rate, based on my interpretation of the PCK's semi-detailed instructions, the climate zones are correct enough to make me happy.
I did hand-draw the mountains... first I tried doing some sort of satellite thing (that didn't work, it felt messy, probably because I didn't seek out a tutorial to do it efficiently), then I tried creating a mountain brush, only to realize I didn't like it enough to keep. So, hand-drawn mountains.
Those look like some incredibly steep mountains! Perhaps you mean for them to just be icons representing mountains (in that case it'd be fine), but as they are, it looks sort of strange. You'd think mountains would almost always be wider than they are tall.
The climate-zones make sense, because of the mountains causing rainfall on one side, so nice job on that.
The best maps are the ones we like the most after looking at the longest.
To answer an earlier question: your rivers look alright. None go through mountains or anything :p When in doubt it never hurts to check nature's examples Keep in mind by the time they get to a mountain slope they are significantly reduced in size. Overall I like the direction your map has and that you have considered climate and rain shielding! Consider widening your mountains. If it is in photoshop take the layer and use the transform tool to widen them (ctrl t). That said mountains can definitely have very sheer and steep slopes like the matterhorn for example.
I widened the mountains as Viking and foremost suggested (and I think it looks a lot better this way, so thank you!) Also drew the hills using this great tutorial. Added some rivers (i'll add more later)-- since the mountain range has changed from the first version I decided to redo the rivers. Their style may change, but I think that these, at least, will stay where they are, though I will probably add some more tributary rivers to them.
As always, please let me know what I can fix or do better!
The hills and mountains look very good! I noticed that the coast is really... blocky. Are you able to smooth it out easily? This is an enlarged section of a bigger map, right? Keep it going, this is going to be great.
Thanks! I see what you mean by blocky, but what do you mean by smoothing it out easily? It is an enlarged section of a bigger map. I could always run a noise filter over it and then make the coastline more random and less blocky... I just forgot to do it before. Is that what you meant?
And I shall keep it going, definitely!