Looking for Insight on Green Things
Just started this map. I am happy with the color balance, but it looks like a desert at the moment. I'd like to add greener areas with something to represent forest. Unfortunately I can't think of a way to do that without messing up the parchment-like coloring.
If anyone has advice on where to go from here, please let me know!
Think of it this way, it's a map, not an aerial photo. You don't have to display any particular information unless it is important to the map, and in fact it's bad practice to include things that aren't important to the particular map. You don't put forest cover on a marine navigation chart for instance, even if you have the data available it would just cause clutter.
Even if a feature set is important enough to warrant appearing on the map, you don't necessarily have to represent it any particular way. You don't have to slather the map with green paint (which the notional cartographer in the setting may not even have as natural green pigments were rare and expensive) as there are other ways of representing a forest such as tree symbols, a space filling pattern, or a shape with scalloped edges.
So it doesn't look like a desert. It looks like a map which is showing mountains and rivers. If that's all that the map needs to show to accomplish its goals, that's great; don't add any extra clutter. If you do need to add information about forests, consider the notional cartographer working with ink, paint, and parchment whom you are trying to represent: What is the goal of the map? What information do they have available? What tools and materials do they have available?
Also, if you want it to look like parchment, the woven texture is wrong. Parchment is just thin sheets of stretched rawhide and animal skins aren't woven. A coarse woven fabric would be a really horrible substrate for drawing maps as it would prevent smooth drawing, would tend to bleed ink and pigments, and the relief would distort any fine detail that survived the preceding problems.
Thank you for the quick response, Hai-Etlik. I have changed the texture to get a less-woven effect.
Since I'd like this map to be relatively detailed without a lot of open space, I want different terrain to be represented with different symbols (forest, lowlands, etc). I'm now trying out some different tree patterns, some with color, others without. Here's one option. If decide to go with this, I would like to add some variation in shape and color to keep the pattern interesting.
The result I'm looking for is something slightly similar to this piece.