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Thread: My Current World Map - Trijanle

  1. #1

    Map My Current World Map - Trijanle

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    Alright, so this is my current world map. It is meant to be a somewhat-painted canvas map, and drawn in the style of the maps You see in the front of fantasy novels- simple and artistic, but not terribly accurate.

    The idea for this world (at least in this timeline) was that everything and everyone was mashed together, and had to deal with each other- think old world Europe, for example, or the realm of middle earth, but a bit more compact without losing any of the differing cultures. The time it would take to traverse the continent from East to West would be about 28 days, if You could focus on riding ahead every day.

    The Troublesome Island has nothing on it, on purpose: everyone who tries to visit it, perishes before they can report back. In other words, it is a part of the game that hasn't been (and won't be, until the characters are reasonable well developed) played yet.

    I was originally going for a watercolor look, but decided to darken it up and make it much more accurate- this map was done by the cartography guild of the huge city in the center of the continent, after all. They take a lot of pride in their work, and used better materials than nearly anyone else can afford. So You get this hybrid of watercolor (see through, so the texture of the background shows through) and painting (crisp edges, well defined colors, and such).

    What do You all think? =D

  2. #2
    Guild Adept Freodin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010


    I sorry to say it, but this does not look like it was done by someone who takes pride in his work. I think you took a completely wrong approach to that style.

    If you want to make a map as if inhabitants of your world and time had made it, you should consider some things...

    What would they have considered important to place on their map?
    How would they have done that?
    Why would they have done it in that way?

    Find yourself some reference material from our world and look how the cartographers of the olden days made their maps. I found to be very helpful... or, if you want to look at a map that is not "terribly accurate" (in a geographic way), look at the Tabula Peutingeriana.

    Be careful with brushes! They might be useful for larger areas of repeating patterns, but too much of them, and too little variety does not fit the style you aspire. What do you think your cartographers used... potato print?

    Especially the houses you used for your cities look horrible here. They can be used in smaller, regional maps as in the tutorial you used... but even there I think they don't look good.
    For a continental map like yours, look for a different style. Browse through the historical references, the maps posted here... perhaps even (shameless self-advertisment) my own Elmsriggen Map.

    So what would the cartographers of Forton City have drawn?
    How does your continent look? Is it really simply blob-shaped? Are there bays or peninsulas? Recognizable features that break up the regularity of the coast? A cartography guild would know, wouldn't they?
    What is important for the cartographers? What do they focus on? Settlements? Means of travel? Political entities? Geologial features? Rivers?
    After you have answered these questions, you should have a basic idea of what to draw.

    Next you have to consider: how would the cartographers have drawn that? What materials did they use? Which techniques? Which styles?
    And now how can I copy that with my software? And what should I not do? For example: the labels that go through your map images - mountains, trees, borders. How and why would my cartographers have done that... or what would they have done instead?

    There are quite a number of specific points I would adress in the current version of your map, but I think the general critique was enough to give you something to think about. I hope I wasn't too harsh.
    Last edited by Freodin; 12-15-2011 at 03:25 PM.

  3. #3
    Guild Apprentice Elzevir's Avatar
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    Jul 2010


    Agree with Freodin, it looks like you had a vague idea and were handicaped by your software. Trees and houses look like a lot of copypasta, sometimes inverted, which gives a creepy perspective to the whole town. Maybe you'd better try starting by drawing a sketch out of pen and paper - this is not a malicious critic, but i find it easier to begin a map that way : even if you don't draw well, you will see what must be in and what must be worked on. For an example, even old fantasy maps have a more precise coastline than yours ; mostly because if they don't have a great territory, kings and princes like to know the exact limits of their lands.

    Concerning the Troublesome Island, how could they know such precise frontiers ? It would be more accurate in this case to draw only what should be visible from the main land, leaving the rest "terra incognita".

  4. #4


    I'm still a newbie myself, but I'm very keen on the notion of generating maps in the context of 'objects from the world being depicted'.

    So the broad criticism above are there, I'll be more specific on a few things; Intent of the Map is key. If your doing something from within the world the biggest question is why? If there is a Cartographers Guild, why? That implies there is some sort of guild system at play in your world and that map-making is a common enough enterprise to warrant a group of professionals who do little else. Who pays for them to work?

    Those seem like really needly questions if all you really want is some sort of map you can show to players and be like 'There ya go'... but they are important in terms of informing aristics choices you might make with your map.

    So first comment? If these guys are from the only city on the cotinent they are going to make it look as impressive as possible. Thus while they might use very simple symbols for other settlements they'll likely have some sort of 'unique' thing for their city(thus also flattering the powers that be that likely pay their paychecks). So think about getting something a little sophisticated, or a more odd medly of features for the main city.

    There are a host of tutorials around here that give not just great ways to make the map that tutorial is talking about, but good basic techniques in the software that can be used in a variety of ways. Like ways to make coastlines more ragged and irregular(assuming you would want that).

    Another good idea has already been posted; if you have access to a scanner, draw a coastline yourself and perhaps some other 'stuff' as best you can and than scan it and use something like GIMP to paint over it.

    Lastly for the 'troublesome Island' if there is no reason not to, make it more interests. Give it a weird coast and plop down some artisitc monster or something there. A figure of death or a dragon or giant or whatever. People must have theories on the place and if it has 'significance' both in terms of your world and campaign it makes sense to make it look like a place the PC's might want to see sooner or later.

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