I'm just posting again to get my post count up to five.
I read a post here not too long ago where somebody lamented that his computer skills were better suited to engineering than artistry and I find myself in the same position. Hours of time invested in trying to make maps, even with all the wonderful advice available here, has only increased my skills at a glacial pace. But, I've never shown any artistic talent in the past, so no surprise. I'm making progress with smaller maps, but it is going to be a long time before I can tackle my world map. I'm not getting any younger, so it might be more time than I have.
I'd like a nice world map. I have a lot of source materials, including some primitive maps to work from.
For example, here is the base map:
And here is a map with rough political borders:
There is quite a bit of info in the wiki, so feel free to surf around if you want to get a better feel:
I'd like to end up with a map that merges the physical and political features with a scale sufficient to accommodate the necessary details. I'm not entirely sure what that scale should be. The land area is about 1.5 times the size of the US (including Alaska). There are about 100 nations, some of which are very large and many of which are small (which I have found to be a challenge to deal with, but you probably won't), about 350 major cities that need to be included (I have another map with those locations).
Outside of the physical features and borders I have already laid down, there is a lot of opportunity to be creative. I am very open to different styles - I like most of the professional maps I see. There are many things that need to be added - particularly lakes and rivers and smaller land features. I've got big colored blobs indicating mountains, hills, forests and whatnot, but this is a pretty big land area, so the detail will need to be improved.
Some areas of the world have a great deal of detail. For example, see the History of Clol-Asor, where a portion of the map is used to illustrate the growth of an empire:
Other areas of the world are almost shells, with only the most superficial details.
Pay: I have no idea what you guys normally are paid or how long it might take to make this map, so quote me a price, even if it is a rough one to start with, and we'll see if I balk. This is a hobby and I'm not shy about spending money on hobbies, but there are limits.
Time constraints: None.
Style: I'm pretty open. Show me an example and I'll tell you what I think.
Quality and Size: Again, I am open to suggestions. Something appropriate to the size of the objects on the map.
Copyright: Copyright will be mine, but you are welcome to display in your portfolio if you like.
There is a definite possibility of on-going work here if my expectations on price aren't wildly out of line. Once the world map is done, there are some nations for which I would like to have more detailed maps, so this could turn into a longer term project if there is mutual interest.
I'm just posting again to get my post count up to five.
Mtbill - Hey there, this sounds like a great project, and really well thought out! You might get more interest if you link to at least a couple sample maps in a styles you like, just so folks know whether they believe they can help you. Also, as always, it might be worthwhile to contact specific artists whose work you like.
Welcome to the guild!
Sure. Here are some maps from the gallery that I think do a nice job of mixing physical and political features. They are all somewhat "antique" in style, which does not imply that I wouldn't like other styles as well - these were just the first that I spotted with the kind of feature balance I am looking for. I may do some more looking around and post some other examples later.
Here are a couple more views of the main map that will help to get a sense of the project. The first is a map that contains the names and locations of all major cities. The second has the names of major physical features and dimensions of the land area.
I recently completed a world map for an RPG campaign. You might be interested in this approach: i used Google Earth as the main way to view the map, so you include more information than would otherwise be convenient, since you can zoom in an out, and include overlay layers (like political boundaries) that you turn on and off depending on what you want to see. Smaller labels are created in Google Earth so the text is always sharp and crisp when you zoom in close, and disappears when you zoom out too far for it to be legible. Just an idea.
Here's an assortment of maps i've made.
I've poked around in your wiki a little. There didn't seem to be a lot of geographical information beyond the various version of your continent map, but i could have missed it. When you say "detail will need to be improved" do you mean the artist just making up reasonable details, to add definition and fill in space, or do you have written specifications in the wiki about what minor details go where? I've found the later can be more time-consuming than you might expect. I'm interested, just want to get a better handle on your expectations before estimating prices.There are many things that need to be added - particularly lakes and rivers and smaller land features. I've got big colored blobs indicating mountains, hills, forests and whatnot, but this is a pretty big land area, so the detail will need to be improved.
A good map combines both art and information, but different styles strike different balances between the two. The examples of other maps you linked to IMHO lean more to the art side of things: for instance widespread sepia-tone instead of distinguishing colors for different features. Is that a coincidence, or is that what you are looking for?
Interesting. I am mixed on the Google Earth idea. On the one hand, it seems like a nicely flexible way to add future detail. On the other hand, I'm not sure that I want to be at the mercy of Google. I haven't used Google Earth very often, so I should probably take a closer look at the software. I didn't realize it could be used with different maps.
Good questions about the level of detail. You're right that you won't find distilled geographic detail on the site. Instead, those details are bound up in things like histories and nation pages. I don't really expect someone to mine for those. I will summarize the important details by region. What sort of details am I talking about? Most of the political borders lie on rivers. The borders as they are currently drawn are approximations and don't look realistic if they are rivers. There probably needs to be additional drainage, which I would leave up to the artist's discretion. There are some very large lakes on the map. I would leave others again to the artist, as those will likely be connected with adding rivers. Where I have a brown blob that represents a mountain range, I would expect that to be broken down into more realistic areas of higher and lower elevation. For example, the great mountain blob in the middle of the map is the Great Durnai Range. A line of tall peaks named the Aptec Divide runs northeast to southwest through this range and some of the peaks in this region are truly huge - extending above the level of breathable air. The page for each nation in the wiki lists the highest elevation in the Highlights section, which should help to give some indication of what sort of mountains are found there. In most cases, I haven't decided just where that highest peak lies - I just know it is somewhere in that blob of mountains. I'd expect forests to be broken up a bit more realistically. But, again, a lot of the details are up to the artist, so long as they fit within the overall regions that I have established.
Here is an example of some geographical details for a region:
These sorts of broad details are available for several of the larger and more influential nations, but that only covers a fraction of the world.
I've had a hard time finding maps that are exactly what I am looking for, probably due to the blending of geographical and political features. It is important to me to have clearly defined political borders. Some maps that focus on the geographical features will simply place names and leave the viewer to figure out about where the borders must be based on land features. I like something more clear cut. I've picked the examples above because they do a good job at making it clear where the physical features are without making it difficult to see borders and cities.
With GE, if I recall, you can turn borders on and off, which I could see being a very useful feature.
If you don't want to go with Google Earth there are a couple other ways we could deal with the density of information and extreme variations in scale.
1) Create a couple different maps that emphasize different features, for instance a political map and a physical map. Since much of the details is common to both, it's is not nearly as hard as creating two totally different maps. Political borders and nations names might either be de-emphasized on the physical map, or removed altogether.
2) Add insets to the map. It looks like there are basically 3 regions with very small nations. We could put a box nearby in the ocean magnifying those parts of the world 2-4 times, making them big enough to label and see the details.
Breaking up the edges of things into more natural shapes, adding more tributaries, making the rivers wiggle more naturally, etc. is fine.
It looks like the major detail that's in your text description that isn't on your map is where the cultivated/settled areas are. Might want to add another color/texture to the map to distinguish this from generic "land".
Thanks everybody. I am discussing the project with several people, any of whom appear to be very good choices, so we might as well consider this taken even though the actual selection has not been made yet.