The map could have been nice. But there are two main reasons I don't like it.
1. It is to dark. I've got problems to read the small names.
2. You should have paid more attention to typography.
a) Avoid to many different fonts and sizes and choose better font combinations.
b) Each time you stretch or compress a font a typographer dies. Don't do it. if you want to run wider better insert some spacing.
c) Choose the place of typography more esthetically.
The stamp doesn't need a 3D-effect. Better give it some interesting colour and an inky look instead.
Don't bend the stamp typo. That's wrong. Set it on a round line instead.
The graphics of the mountains could have more variants.
But besides all those details, I think you're on the right way.
Last edited by Freehand 5.5; 01-14-2013 at 12:26 AM.
I like the color choices; they don't feel too dark to me. I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with the mountain icons either; I like keeping them fairly uniform in my maps too, for the most part.
I do agree with Freehand about the font selection and placement though. Keep the number of different fonts to a minimum and I think you'll be pleased at how it looks. The placement, especially on the seas, is jarring. Try not to angle text like that - it looks unnatural. Either keep it totally horizontal, or give it a proper aesthetic bend. In my opinion, there's no need to diagonally tilt any of that text, just select a smaller size and keep it horizontal.
Definitely on the right track though; it has potential.
The main font is okay - it's a bit hard to read, but if it's your peoples' typical script, I'm sure the locals read it just fine :-). One way to get the variety you need to distinguish easily between feature types is to vary size, weight, color, and style, all within the same font family. If that's only available in the one variant, you will have to be creative, but with most graphics tools you should be able to gen a reasonable outline version, as you might want for the city state label. You could gen an initial cap variant just by upping the font size on first characters. Area labels are well done by spreading a typical font for the map out w i t h w i d e r s p a c i n g. If you can master text-on-curve you'll improve your look; I've used free tools like Inkscape JUST for that one capability and imported the resulting labels back into my prefered main app.
I understand where you're headed with the embossed ownership mark - my city library does the same thing. A different font there is fine, since one would hardly to expect the Bureau Of Bureaucratic Engraving to match the Cartographer's Department standards.
If the sea-filling texture is supposed to just be parchment, I'm puzzled why it is almost invisible across land.
The rivers are nicely tapered, the forests are pleasantly scattered, the mountains show as much variety as you could expect from ones not hand-drawn. Postulate a map department that uses literal stamps for such symbols, and you're golden :-). THe land outlines are OK, and river placement works. I like the overall effect a lot. I do have to agree the tilty text is askew from a design sense too.
Last edited by jbgibson; 01-14-2013 at 03:36 AM.
I also wanted to ask you: Do you make makes in PS or GIMP and then hand draw the mountains or do you draw them with tools available in those programs?
I'm really interested in doing my own original art for my maps but just don't understand the process of combining generated maps with hand drawing. Help!
BTW awesome maps, man!
rubber stamps used for printing with ink. Or the stone seals used to print signatures in old China. Or the carved potatoes used to print in art class. :-) Moveable type, only with cartographic symbology instead of text. Who's to say that the mappers of another society than ours might just value uniformity of neatly stamped mountain-symbols over our valuation of cleverly uniquely hand-drawn mountains?
ukie, you could do a separate layer for the rivers. If you have that, you can soften the edges, redo color or reposition parts anytime as you please.
Do you know how to do that?
One thing: The outlines of the lakes do not fit so well with the rivers.
You could try to erase them.
Or you can paint the outlines of the lakes in the dark blue of the rivers and fill the lakes with a bit lighter blue.
*sorry, I somehow have to earn that river police badge*