[WIP]Amanium Needs Help!
I am working on a project and I need a map before anything else, so I was wondering... how should I go about this? I looked over some of the stuff on the Forum, and to be honest, I'm a bit overwhelmed. I have the basic outline, but I have no idea where to go from there. I know that I need to get the actual land mass finalized before I can start doing anything else. I was wondering if anyone could lend me a hand. If so, that would be great!Here's what I've got so far:
EDIT: I probably should have posted this in the 'How do I...' forum...
Welcome to the Guild, Jake! I would say, if you're at a loss as to how to begin, start out with one of the tutorials. You don't have to create a masterpiece right off the bat; sometimes it's good just to screw around with the tutorials and software and see where you go.
Are you using Photoshop? The GIMP? There are tutorials geared towards each, and tons more for other software as well. What's your ultimate goal with your map - do you want it to be a realistic atlas-style map? An antique hand-drawn one? Something else?
The first bit of advice I can give you, just based on what you've posted, is that it's generally not a great idea to fall into the trap of 'fill every square inch of canvas' - your map will look more natural if you don't try and fill every corner with landmasses as you've done here. Space things out a bit, make it look more random.
Diamond has some really good advice I must say. Also if you tell us what software you use it is easier to point you in the right direction.
Whenever I make a new map I usually start with the landmass, and do add some time into get this right. Have a look at google maps and see what earth looks like and take inspiration from that. And as Diamond says, don't fill out everything in your map, leave empty areas to get a balance in your map.
Also depending on what style you want to use I really recommend some sort of tablet to draw with, like a wacom bamboo. You can still do without it but a tablet really simplifies the process of making a digital map. Alternative you can draw most of the map on paper, then scan it and edit in a graphics program. Good luck with you map :)
I would recommend taking a guess at how big an area you want your map to represent. Are those blobs little islands in an archipelago or are they continental-scale features? The overall scale of you map will determine what to show in the next step: locating the general highlands (or mountains) and major waterways. The scale will also help you in determining what kind of projection you need (assuming a sphericalish and not a flat world). The larger an area that your map represents, the more distortions will appear as the map is drawn on a flat surface.
Once you have a scale and some rough topography, locate your equator. That will help you to figure out the temperatures and rainfall for the rest of the world. As Diamond points out, you'll undoubtedly want more blank space around the edges of your land areas for adding things like scale indicators, borders, and other annotations. You might also want some extra oceans to help balance things out visually.
I also recommend posting images as PNG rather than BMP, because BMP files are quite large and don't have universal browser support.
I am using GIMP, and I am using RobA's tutorial.
Here's the progress so far: