Region map for a fantasy-ish trilogy
Advice on style for strongholds/cities and mountains/forests?
Hello! This here is a very early version of main areas where a little fantasy trilogy I'm working on takes place - as you see there's not much more than a coastline and som dodgy wavy stuff. The area is largely equal to the Mediterranian in size, plus maybe 10-20%, and I'm not quite decided regarding what way to go now. The style I'm trying to catch is a "modernized" hand-drawn version of the classic maps (Westeros, Midgard, the charts in Malazan book of the Dead etc.).
I reckon I'll keep it in grey-scale, with clean lines reminiscent of vector graphics but with some of the trappings of the classic fantasy maps. That said, now I need some inspiration and possibly some advice: cities and strongholds, mountains, savannah and forests. I've checked out some of the tutorials (as my coastline shows) and I'm working my way through anything that seems conducive to my aims (and will continue to do so), but if any of you have any recommendations I'd be very grateful.
Last edited by LarsCB; 04-30-2014 at 03:28 PM.
Reason: Clarified title to make continued use of thread easier regarding updates.
Have you considered using actual vector graphics software? I find Inkscape immensely useful in mapmaking and I aim for a similar fantasy novel style which I find Inkscape particularly suites.
Originally Posted by LarsCB
Well, the first thing to consider is, what do you really need to indicate for the map to serve its purpose? Cramming to much information is bad. If a feature set isn't included you don't need to worry about how to symbolize it and you'll have more flexibility in selecting effective symbology for the features that are important.
Originally Posted by LarsCB
For forests, there are two reasonably common classes of symbol used on this kind of map when they show forests: Individual trees, or boundaries. Individual trees are just that, lots of tree symbols which may be packed tightly together in which case you need to get overlapping right, or more spread out. The tightly packed variant often simplifies the representation of the trees, particularly the rear trees. Boundaries are more complicated. The simplest is just a line, although a line with a scalloped edge is more common. Representation of trunks under the leading edge, or individual trees making up the edge are also common. clearings and similar details are often interspersed in the interior.
For mountains there are similarly two styles I've often used. Discrete overlapping side or elevated mountain icons, or "marching caterpillars" of hachuring. A third method, is to represent the mountains not as individual icons but as an integrated symbol for the entire range using a similar elevated view but I haven't used this method.
Grassland, when I've needed to indicate it, I've usually shown using tufts of grass. For savannah, I add a few trees spaced among the grass if I'm using discrete trees for forests (which I usually am if I represent grassland with discrete tufts of grass) I particularly put a few trees near any rivers even if it's otherwise pure grassland or scrubland rather than savannah.
I've got some slightly more detailed notes on how I put this sort of thing together in Inkscape which you may find useful, possibly even if you don't use Inkscape. Inkscape Mapping Basics
Thank you for your suggestions, I've dabbeled a bit in Inkscape and maybe that's where I should do at least strongholds/cities and integrate it into the larger map some way. Thank you also for the tips regarding forests - I'm mapping a bit "after the fact" (used rough paper and even whiteboard sketches to get the main storyline on track) and now I'm looking for decent ways to represent major areas of interest - doodling town maps and whatnot wondering how to best represent them in a map.
Thanks again, I'll dive into the Inkscape tutorial momentarily!