The river system looks incredibly realistic; I don't think I've ever seen a map in this style that has made such extensive use of rivers, but the overall effect is quite impressive!
In my map, it comes as close to the originals as manual copying can get.
I admit that I shamelessly copied styles from a huge number of different sources - mostly from the excellent Blaeu maps... but that was my main intent with this map: to find out how to do this particular style. I said here before... I am more of a technician than an artist.
With many of the maps presented here in this forum - after the wide-eyed wonder at their sheer beauty - I sit back and consider: how was that done? And, more important, how would that be done when it wasn't done on a computer?
Many styles are taken from real world art... even made in real world and only finished on the computer. Pencil and ink and paints. But each of these maps would be an unique piece of art. Maps like yours, arsheesh, would take ages for a painter to produce... and if you needed a copy, you would have to do all of it again.
I did that before. When I started to draw the maps for my fictional world - pen and paper - I copied them by hand, each time I needed a new historical version. I still own about twenty of these old DIN A3 maps, and I tried to adopt them on my PC exactly so that I didn't have to do it again... and again... and again.
Printing and the techniques developed for printing solved that problem for the olden cartographers. Yet in order for a virtual map to look engraved, I found that I had to use the same techniques that were used in the originals. You can not copy, clone or brush with an engraving tool. Each line, each element has to be drawn by hand.
This I tried to do, and to find some good algorithmical approximations where I was to lazy for that. In the Elmsriggen map, I used paths to get the smooth shape for the cartouche. I used a jittered stroke for the boxed borders. I created a fill pattern for the border's ornamentation. (Some tweaking here still to be done.)
All in all, I think I got the style quite well.
Freodin, this is a really good map ... also, I think I was at this here confluence back in August. I feel like you've nailed the 16th century map style pretty much perfectly. If you're going to add colour, I can't wait to see.
Thanks for the info on the cartouches and borders. I usually use illustrator for vectors and I always stumble about when I have to use them in photoshop. A fill pattern for a cartouche, eh? I'm gonna give this a whirl.
Beautiful map, Freodin.
I prefer the b/w map though, mainly because for me the watery ink effect on the coloured one looks a little too digital for my taste.