Hi Thordred. Nice to enter the guild with a map Here are a few kind of constructive criticism (I hope): I think that the trees doesn't really match star raven's mountains brushes. Do you have other sets that you can use maybe instead of this one? The blurry dark border around the coastlines make the lands looks like floating and looks a bit weird. Why not shading the coastlines banks instead or try to put lines around coastlines?
It looks good, I can't really criticise that aspect of it, but to offer a few comments:
1) The compass rose seems a bit of an afterthought. I think you should have just extended the left side of the canvas by a few hundred pixels so you could put the compass rose down in the sea.
2) The land feels a bit rectangular. It may or may not suffer from the urge to "fill the page" that a lot of people get. But if you're drawing from a reference, that may not apply.
3) Yes, your mountain range doesn't make much sense at all, but you said you already know that stuff isn't logical. Again, if drawing from a reference, well you work with what you have. =P
4) It might be worth varying the density of the trees a bit. So they are more tightly packed at the centre of the forests.
I think it's a nicely done map. I look forward to seeing more of your stuff!
I like the graphics of the mountains and the parchment.
Alternatively you could shrink the compass rose a bit.
And I'd like to see a scale.
The map's greatest strength is the edge work. It distinguishes the land from the sea in a manner that projects strength. From there, the map goes downhill.
Look at all of those mountains! Avast, thar she blows! Mountains, mountains, everywhere, and nary a reason why. But, it is much better that the map has mountains than that it does not. You have the handiwork of mountain craft down fairly pat. Is it one range or a hundred?
The interior of the primary landmass in this map is utterly bereft of mountains, even as mountains ring the exterior of it like a pearl necklace. What caused the mountains? You know, on most maps, I don't really dwell on such things, but this map makes me sit up and take notice - and that, my friend, is not meant as a compliment.
Hopefully, all of your forests on this map will burn down. They are atrocious! Just clumps of trees loitering and accomplishing nothing for the greater cause of cartographic significance. At least they were given names at birth, though. The mountain ranges are all bastards, it would seem - and not even deserving of a name, at that. This world that you chart is full of injustice, no doubt, for why would a forest outrank a mountain range that stretches like a girdle all about the old girl?
And what were you thinking with those islands? No time of significance has been spent on them. That much is obvious.
The color singularity that reigns over this map, this burnt orangeish whatever you call it, is a tad strong for my taste. The edge of the main land mass seems a tad darker than the interior. That's a plus, I think. Such a pity that you deprive this world of color. What a drab place this land must be.
The large text depiction of Gandaria is nice, but this map will win no awards for imagination, since you shy away from the fair ladies that are the textual maidens that could fulfill your map viewers' wildest fantasies. Instead, we are treated to Cinderella's step-sisters.
Water is your blood foe, it would seem. You will drown, if you go near it. Therefore, fear the closest drop! Rivers that are visual blights, and lakes that are visual cancer. How on Earth can you create mountains like that, and be so utterly bereft of water talent? Life's mysteries know no end, it seems.
The compass rose is stuck in a mountain, it seems. It is not a good choice, for this map. At least, not in such an unfinished state. It's not finished, right? Right??
Why are all of your text labels laid out in horizontal position? No, no, no! That rather misses the point of you having all of that edging and mountain talent to begin with, my friend.
Let's see, you have Caldar Forest and Caldar Keep. You also have Lordar Forest and Lordar Keep. See the pattern here? Pluck your eye out, and toss it into a well. Fortunately, you have blessed us with both northern and southern walls. Oh, what a grand exertion that must have been! Are you so scared of your own imagination that you dare not use it? It's a gift, a blessing - not a curse. The map is your child. Care enough to feed it, and caress it with the tender touches of your cartographic talent. In the meantime, whatever shall we do with this red-headed step-child of yours?
You cannot bewitch the viewer, if your map lacks magic. This map lacks magic. You, the cartographer, however, do not. Rather, you simply choose to withhold it from us.
To what end, I wonder? To what end, indeed!
Here I wrote such a lovely reply to this comment and it vanishes without a trace when I post it. A shame I tell you!
Even so, here I go again:
Do not fear my dear GrimFinger, it is in no way, shape or form finished! It is as much WIP as I am new to this forum!
I chose to not include any color in this map for one reason. I am not that skilled at this craft. I am afraid of color as of right now and would rather make a new one after this with color, if I dare. This map is easy to do for me and so I will start with this style.
The mountains was put there because, in our world, the gods rose mountains around this land to protect it. I have been playing with that in this version of the map.
I am well aware of the forest-problem. I have not found a good solution for this as of yet, however I keep searching for the right brush that will do this map justice. Perhaps some of you know of any brushes that would work?(Or perhaps a technique?)
The names of the cities, keeps and castles are also WIP, many of them are just there for the time being.
This is my very first attempt of cartography and I am aware that I am making mistakes. I wish, naturally, to learn and higher my skill in this craft. That you tear my map to pieces with criticism is what I expected and I am thankful that you took the time to voice your opinion good Sir. It means a lot to me.
I wish to give this map and our Fantasy the magic I think it deserves. To that end I say.
Updates shall surely be posted in this thread.
If the Gods rose these mountains up to protect the enclosed lads, are they impassable or have the inhabitants already gone beyond their protection? The next question brought to my mind is what the intent of this map is. Not your intent, but that of the person who "mapped" it in-story. The answer to these 2 questions could determine the extent of detail on either side of the mountains.
I like the look and feel of this map. but I agree that the coast could use something like woodcut lines to further emphasize them. I am not sure what program you are using, but RobA has a nice tut for the Gimp and you could most likely do an easy translation to use it in PS. As for the trees, I would suggest looking at Ramah's TreeThing.
And Welcome to the Guild, the Mappiest Place on the Web and have some rep for posting a nice map in your first post
Art Critic = Someone with the Eye of an Artist, Words of a Bard, and the Talent of a Rock.
Please take my critiques as someone who Wishes he had the Talent
Thank you form the warm welcome, seems plenty of you are very nice people. I think I'll stick around
As of right now we are just sketching. We are still brainstorming a lot of things and use the maps to... Shape our Fantasy to some degree. I paint in the things we've come up with and leave room for things yet to come. So right now I haven't given it much thought who made in the map 'in-story'.
I use Photoshop. I'm using a Wacom Intous 5 to make it a bit easier. The mainland is simply a layer that I paint on with a brush and then to pixel-by-pixel around the coastline. Brushes of mountains and such are of course only brushes mainly found on deviantart for the time being.
I will check out Ramah's Thingy-that-make-trees. I need no rep, I've seen the forum before but haven't gotten involved since I'd rather have something to show for myself before jumping into anything.
You might want to consider brushes for the towns and cities. I find the very large featureless dot for Gandaria Citadel particularly ill-fitting to the rest of the map, and it feels like the citadel is meant to be the central focus point of the map, something which deserves an impressive representation, not just a giant dot.
Of course Henry, I know exactly what you mean. Looking into this as well. Thanks!