It's been a while since I posted my last update, and I've refined the outline considerably since then. I decided to go down to a fine level of detail using a 2 pixel brush, although the next step after I've done all I can at that level may be to scale the map upwards so the borders can be something around 4 pixels deep. A larger scale would allow me to use a much harder edge to the brush, giving more definite borders than in my current version, and to fill in either side with terrain colours without any bleed-through between land and water (2 pixels leaves very little margin for error).
I've added three possible scales to the map. I can go with 600/700/800 pixels to a hundred miles, which would be 6/7/8 pixels to a mile respectively. I'm not sure which is best as I don't want the islands to be humungous; something in the range of the British Isles, Italy or Japan is what I'm after. Naturally, I also don't want them to be too small.
I'm currently refining the coastline all over the place, although I'm primarily focusing around the bays and peninsulas. I haven't gotten around to adding in the smaller islands yet, and the ones already present I'm not completely decided on (except for the one shielded by the northern peninsula and the ones off the second large island).
EDIT: There is the possibility of going to a 1 pixel brush and 100% opacity and very high hardness (60-80%), which will also give me definite and thin outlines for the coastline. I've experimented, and if I then colour in the land in a layer below the coastline, there isn't any bleed-through between land and sea nor does it impact upon the quality of the outline itself.
Some more tweaking done, and I've enlarged the overall area to assist in adding smaller island archipelagos. I've also done a test in Maya to see just how large the landmasses would appear on an actual globe (based on 600 pixels to 100 miles); I might have mucked up the calculations as I didn't 'copy merged' before adding it to a large map (meaning of my 4400x4200 pixel work area, only the area used was pasted over...), so it might be slightly larger/smaller than it should be. Still, it's close enough for this time around.
The position of the landmasses on the globe isn't final, in fact I'm yet to decide exactly where it will fit into the grand scheme of things - it will possibly be part of this world's equivalent of the Mediterranean. You'll notice two objects in the background of the one picture - this world has two moons in a 3:4 orbital resonance, with the inner moon transiting across the outer moon; the outer moon is the one that causes eclipses. I made the calculations so that the inner moon has very little effect on the tides, and the outer moon is within the range of values that cover our moon (it's the size of Io, so a little further out than our moon).
What is the program you did this in?
I use Adobe Photoshop CS6 for the mapping work, and Maya 2013 for placing it on the globe. Maya isn't a pre-requisite - I'm just more comfortable with it than with GProjector, and I can animate the planets and moons also (I'm crazy enough to go for the fine details like that). I've also been considering a prograde rotation for the world - the sun will rise in the west and set in the east, and the trade winds, etc, will be reversed.
The mapping work is still in the outlining stage - at a later point, once I'm satisfied with the large and small islands, I'll be aiming for a more specific style. At the moment I want to get the coastlines sorted out.
Long time no post. I've taken a break from mapping for a bit, and now I've returned and am looking to continue this map (am I taking too long, maybe putting far too much effort in?). I've been looking at how the south-west and north-east of the main island are connected, and have drawn in approximate and very rough coastlines that look aesthetically pleasing. I've also opted for 100 miles to 600 pixels with a more professional-looking scale, making the image itself 800 miles wide by 600 miles tall (4400x4200 pixels), although I haven't added in any graticule lines or accounted for distortion (not that there'd be very much at that scale).
I'm glad to see this is still underway! I like the new coast lines; I find that coming up with satisfying land forms can take awhile, but it looks like you've got it sorted. The narrows would make a passable border, if you're going to have a few factions that are at odds. I'm stoked to see what comes next!
I've tried and tried to figure out the coastlines, and I think I might be heading somewhere with them now...
I'm not entirely certain what geological process might contribute to the jagged outline with lots of rivers and river deltas that I'm drawing in, it just looks like it fits. Possibly a large mountain chain located south-east with a number of rivers that split into deltas. To think this is only an early stage of the map, I need to rework other parts of the coastline still before I move on to any colouring and texturing. I do have an approximate graticule for the map, but nothing really concrete (mainly because I traced it off a map from a Google image search, and the longitudinal lines in the west would mean the islands are more vertical).