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Thread: Fantasy map DRAFT - need help with vegetation

  1. #1
      Artax is offline
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    Default Fantasy map DRAFT - need help with vegetation

    Hi everyone! I'm writing a fantasy novel and need a very detailed map of The Known World for this. It takes place on this map (between roughly 25°N and 55°N) and it's sort of like the Mediterranean on Earth. I've been messing with this draft to help me plan everything better. It is imperative to me that the map is as realistic as possible, meaning the climate and vegetation. I have the mountains in position where I want them, I have the sea currents, so climate wise I should be good. But I am uncertain of my vegetation. I know there's going to be broadleaf forest and mediterranean scrub. I'm just confused how much forest is realistic... I was thinking to put coniferous forest on the continent on the top right, but I don't know if that area is northern enough? I'm also thinking to do desert or semi-desert on the bottom left, since it's right next to a huge mountain range.

    I'd appreciate if anyone has a better understanding of what is realistic for vegetation.

    Eventually I plan to make this a paid commission in two steps. In a first stage where I pay about 100$ to have the map drawn and the artist keeps copyright. And second stage when the book gets published (either self of classic publication) and I can pay a proper sum for the work. I don't know if that's realistic? But in any case, right now I'm looking for feedback on vegetation. Thanks and have a great day!

    Fantasy map DRAFT - need help with vegetation-cartography-map-known-world-guild-.jpg
    Last edited by Artax; 11-06-2013 at 09:37 PM.

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      Artax is offline
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    It took a few times to get the image uploaded, sorry. The green on the top left is unknown territory. Any comments are most welcome.

    Thanks!

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    Guild Member Facebook Connected madbird-valiant's Avatar
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    I dunno how legitimate this logic is, but I don't think desert forms next to mountains very often since mountains are perfect runoff points for rainfall. Unless it's just a very dry region, which wouldn't really fit with the nice big lake area just east of it and the forest across the way.

    If you're aiming for a sort of Mediterranean area, I'd say there shouldn't be any fir/pine/northern vegetation at all. In fact surely there shouldn't really be any forests - I don't know much about the med, but it's always palm trees to me that said, you have a lot of forest on the map - I'd suggest you break up the forest on the southern/eastern continent a bit more, since it is pretty much a solid big forest as it is right now.

    Remember that maps don't show every tree, just actual "forests". You can have tree-y areas without it being a forest.

    As for the commission, typically you'll pay a full payment to secure copyright and publishing rights when you first put the commission up rather than pay extra later to be allowed to publish it.

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      TimPaul is offline
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    You might want to check around about how much people charge for creating a map. Even for a black and white map, $100 is on the very low end. And if you do manage to go the classic publishing route, the publisher would actually pay for the map if they wanted to put one in. Like this.

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      Falconius is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by madbird-valiant View Post
    If you're aiming for a sort of Mediterranean area, I'd say there shouldn't be any fir/pine/northern vegetation at all. In fact surely there shouldn't really be any forests - I don't know much about the med, but it's always palm trees to me that said, you have a lot of forest on the map - I'd suggest you break up the forest on the southern/eastern continent a bit more, since it is pretty much a solid big forest as it is right now.
    The Mediterranean is the same for most countries bordering the sea for the most part except for the northern coast of Africa. Think Italy or maybe California and it gives a pretty good impression of the overall area would be like. There are palm trees, but generally only near the coasts, mostly its deciduous type trees, a lot of flowering or fruit bearing trees, olives etc. There is a rainy season in which everything gets very green and colourful and a dry season where grasses and other lower vegetation turns brown and everything gets covered with dust. During that period plants are dependent on dew to survive. According to Wikipedia southwestern Australia coast is in the same classification.

    In the southern US there is desert bordering the Rockies all over the place, including Death Valley. And if I'm not mistaken Salt Lake is also in or around a desert. Regardless I don't think the OP has any desert in his map from what I can tell.

    To the OP, it really depends on how inhabited the area is and for how long. Many of the native species take a while to grow and propagate so if logging is occurring at a fast pace it will soon turn sparse indeed. In the second Temple Period (around the time Romans really came to power) there was a major glass industry in Israel and the whole country got very heavily logged, this among other things like war ensuring trees were rather sparse. The state of sparsity lasted pretty much until modern Israel when major replanting projects occurred, and now there are forests all over the place. It should be noted that a lot of these replanted forest are filled with conifers not just broad-leaves, (if I had to guess why is maybe they are hardier or grow faster? I don't know). Also they are in the mountains and hills for the most part since the lowlands are used for farming.

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    Guild Member Facebook Connected madbird-valiant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconius View Post
    According to Wikipedia southwestern Australia coast is in the same classification.
    Hmm fantasy setting entirely forested by gumtrees and eucalyptus needs to happen.

    And the OP mentioned that he was thinking about putting desert near the mountains in the south-west - I was just pointing out that desert on one side of a mountain range and lush forest on the other doesn't 100% gel, in my mind at least.

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      Falconius is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by madbird-valiant View Post
    I was just pointing out that desert on one side of a mountain range and lush forest on the other doesn't 100% gel, in my mind at least.
    Not so much with the lush forest I'd agree with you there. That said one side of a mountain range is generally wetter than the other. And from what I can see on Google Maps one side of the South American continent is very dry and the other very lush divided by the coastal mountains. Also in the mountains dividing India from China it looks like there is a massive precipitation change from jungles to desert. Looking around it actually looks fairly common, more common than I would have expected actually. Hmm...

    Gumtrees and Eucalyptus does not sound like the Mediterranean hehe. Australia, why you always got to be so difficult. :p

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      RedKettle is offline
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    Default Prevailing Winds and Rain Shadows

    Quote Originally Posted by Artax View Post
    It is imperative to me that the map is as realistic as possible, meaning the climate and vegetation. I have the mountains in position where I want them, I have the sea currents, so climate wise I should be good.
    I know that I am no expert (especially around here) but if I were doing a realistic map I would include prevailing winds as well as the sea currents. Assuming your world dances around its sun similar to earth, then 25°N to 55°N puts you almost completely underneath the mid-latitude cell, so you will see winds going west to east and south to north across your whole mapped area.

    Figuring out these winds will help you find the areas in rain shadow, which it sounds like you are looking for. If my assumptions about the earth similarities are correct you will have a wetter north coast to your sea and a drier south coast in general (very similar to the Med.).

    Prevailing winds - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Westerlies - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Rain shadow - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Looks like a fun world! Good luck!

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    Guild Member Facebook Connected madbird-valiant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconius View Post
    And from what I can see on Google Maps one side of the South American continent is very dry and the other very lush divided by the coastal mountains.
    To be fair those mountains are massive and half-volcanic, and the lush side is down pretty close to sea level while the other side is thousands of feet up, but I didn't realise that was a trend. Hmmmmm.

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      Artax is offline
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    I've been looking at the forum and the answers. I really appreciate it and will react later tonight. I looked at the earth map and this is roughly the same area as in my map. (equivalent)

    Fantasy map DRAFT - need help with vegetation-comparison.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Fantasy map DRAFT - need help with vegetation-mediterranean.jpg   Fantasy map DRAFT - need help with vegetation-cartography-map-known-world-guild-.jpg  
    Last edited by Artax; 11-07-2013 at 11:43 PM.

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