First, I have to say that I really like your mountains, in both versions.
If realism is what you're worried, in my opinion in this kind of maps is actually acceptable that the proportions may be slightly altered: for example, the icons of the city, or the trees are always a little larger than they would be if all was really proportionate.
If it is a matter of general harmony of the map, in my opinion, to decide on the size of the mountains you have to consider how you draw the other elements and what size they will have.
Surely better than before. Maybe you could place a scale on the map? So that we can see how big that region is? I still get the feeling of this being bigger than what the mountains suggest...but i could be wrong.
I'm trapped in Darkness,
Still I reach out for the Stars
You're right, the lack of a scale makes it hard to decide whether this is the right size for the mountains. I intend to add a scale once everything is in place, but maybe this might already give you an idea of the size of these lands: the central mountain range is roughly 1300 miles long, which is about twice the length of the Alps and half that of the Rocky Mountains, and I envision it far less penetrable than either. It really has to come across as a huge wall, with only two passes that can be used by a marching army. I'm afraid that making the mountains any smaller will make them look too much of a "walk in the park". ;-)
Last edited by Caenwyr; 01-13-2014 at 10:05 AM.
The roughness of your mountains communicates "impenetrable" just fine. The mix of left-leaning and right-leaning peaks is interesting - I think I like it. Geologically, one might expect neighboring mountains to slope the same way, but the "choppiness" you have does make the range look rougher, wilder. If there's a flaw in the sizing vs. impenetrability look, it might be that as is, the narrowest part of the range looks to be one mountain wide. I know that's a generalized range many tens or hundreds of kilometers wide, but at first glance, that mid-southern part is "oh - one ridgeline".
The rivers are nice. A slight improvement might be for the lowest reaches of some to take on the loopy bends of the lower Seine, or lower Mississippi - particularly if the terrain is very flat. Nothing wrong with the amount of wiggles in your upper watercourses.
THe thing with your intricate coast in the west is that the mountain symbology says "smallest thing here is fifty kilometers across" where the little islands say "we're going to show things that are three km across". The mismatch is okay, so long as you intend it, and can somehow manage the viewer's perceptions.
At long last, I managed to continue working on this map a bit. the most important changes:
- I simplified the coastlines (islands and lakes too small to have any white in them have disappeared),
- I finished the northwestern mountain range (I'm thinking of roughening it up a bit, however. Do you think the central part is a bit too straight?)
### latest WIP ###
feel free to let me know what you think!
Okay, so this is new.
While working on the map (and the as yet unpublish because not existing larger scale map), I started discovering some pretty unpleasant things. First off, I only now came to realize just how big this proportion of the world actually is. And you guys were right: the mountains indeed don't give the right impression of scale. So even though I really liked my mountains, I eventually realized they were too big, and should have to be redone.
And that brought me to my second problem: shape. While the mountain ranges in the images above KINDA work, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't exist in the real world. They don't convey the idea that there's actually some (tectonical) mechanism behind their location. So basically I'd have to start drawing them from scratch.
Then I came to realize that, if I did redraw the mountain ranges, I'd have to redraw the coastline as well. The old coastline was based on the coastline of my oldest iteration, which of course did not take tectonics into account. And if I really wanted to work with the principles of tectonics, the old coastlines would have to go as well. Or at least where the coast is sufficiently close to the mountains.
So in respect to an idea I have had for a very long time, I finally started my map the way it should always be done: from the bottom up. First I sketched in the mountain ranges, then the coastlines, then the rivers. I tried to stay as true as possible to my old coastlines (after all, I'm using this map for a story I'm writing, so distances between settlements can't change TOO much). And so, without further ado, I would like to present my totally overhauled, "new old" map! (I haven't added all the mountain ranges yet, btw)
### latest WIP ###
What do you think? Is this at all an improvement?
While I respect the time and effort it takes to start over from scratch, and I admire your willingness to do it 'right'... I think I like the previous version better. That landform, while maybe not strictly realistic, had some character. This one seems kind of... bleh... in comparison. It also looks uncomfortably like a Wheel of Time map, and even slightly Middle-Earthy.
"I like a look of agony, because I know it's true."
So tell me: do you like the new look of the mountains? Or do you prefer the ones in my old map?
I would say that I prefer the old mountains because they look more ramdomly placed. There is something I don't like about them though. The size is maybe just a matter of style but I think they are too close to the water at some places. That dosen't look right.