I've decided to make a map for Azassino per his request in the request forum, as a chance to practice my skills and try to implement some of the tutorials I've read on this site lately. Input and critique are welcome. I must of course stick to the outline given by Azassino, but he also seems willing to leave a lot up to my creativity or ideas about how things should piece together.
(Request thread here)
My primary tool is inkscape. I'm looking at eventually achieving a map with lots of subtle textures, as in the examples he linked in his request thread, but also trying to "hand-draw" (by trackpad) the symbols for mountains, cities, etc.
Here is the sample provided:
And here is my progress so far:
I've altered the location of the peripheral islands slightly, added a few tiny islands out in the ocean for balance (these will probably be rocky things or lighthouses or something) and I also stretched the main land mass slightly horizontally in order to help fit things in.
There are a couple of little things on his sample that take consideration in satisfying my requirements for realism. First, the splitting of the river in the fort mid-island seems unnatural, so I've decided the left branch which flows west through the capital will be an artificial canal. The second thing that stands out is that the island cluster in the southeast and the delta south on the main island suggest the presence of sedimentary rock. Going with the idea that this is a mid-ocean island, I've decided that for an island this small to contain rock like this, and for there to be so few mountains, this island must be rather old. If the island was generated via hot-spot, it could have started in the southwest then gradually formed the main island as the plate slid. There may have used to be a rocky ridge from southwest to northeast, and rainfall could have predominantly fallen on the east side, creating the requisite sedimentary rock. A landslide (common on these volcanic islands) at some later point could have deposited much of this sedimentary rock out further in the ocean, creating what would become the island cluster SE later through erosion. Further, the remaining damaged mountains have been worn down over time to create the hilly mid-region of the island. Only the harder, newest mountains in the NE still survive at any height.
The geological history thus justified, by next step should be to map out the major physical characteristics from the sample onto my map, influenced by my reasoning above. I think I will save the cities/villages for last, as I haven't decided just how I will be drawing them in yet.
Again, any comments and critique are welcome.