Hello there. I just wanted to say that I am so relieved to find this place on the internet. I am a long time amateur fantasy writer and have always wanted to get into mapping. I write tons of stories for my kids, all set in a fantasy world I'd created decades ago. Someday I plan on trying to seriously get published, but for now it is just a fun way for me to connect with my kids.

I have always wanted to map out the place, to at least get something beyond the rough sketches on graph paper crudely shaded with a dozen different colored pencils. I have a great affinity for maps and have even been known to buy a book because I liked the map insert. Some buy books based on the cover, I look one page deeper. Does that make me one page from shallow?

I have tried mapping before. It was a colossal failure! I am not artistic in general and have no skill or experience with Photoshop or any sort of drawing. I did not understand layers or channels or such. It was so complicated that I had no idea where to start. It was overwhelming.

That was until I found this place.

You guys are awesome! A huge "thank you" to Gidde and RobA and many others who have created tutorials for all of us novices out here. I loved Gidde's tut on creating a hand drawn map enough that I decided to give it a shot and see if it was really something I could do. I was amazed at how it turned out. It is far from perfect and there is plenty I would change about it if I were to do it over (and I undoubtedly will, someday), but I was so thrilled that I could actually pull off a halfway decent map that I am hooked. I didn't include a compass rose or scale, some of the labels were hard to read when I did the ink bleeding, and some of the effects could have been much clearer, but here is my first attempt at mapping. Be gentle, but any and all tips/criticism will be welcome.

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Again, thanks to Gidde for the help, without which I would still be convinced that producing a decent map on the computer was far beyond my skills. I am currently working on RobA's "Artistic Regional Map" tut and continuing to learn a ton. It is a great help and learning tool! I just wanted to say thank you and tell you all "Hello"!

I will definitely see you all around!