I'll be quite honest, I really was struggling to find inspiration for a river map... not only are they kind of tricky given all the rules, but it's also hard to map JUST a river, seeing as how it's so long and spindly... so this is going to end up more a map of a river + the surrounding region. Anyways, the comments in Vorro's thread about it being a slow month so far motivated me to finally throw the beginnings of something together. River-centric or not, here's what I've got so far!
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The waterways, river bits included, were created by doing a black/white :: land/water sketch, a gaussian blur and some smudging, throwing down a noise layer, and using the color levels function to get a randomish coastline with the rough river/lake shape I wanted. The mouth of the river came out pretty jagged, which prompted me to put a cliff face facing the ocean. The idea is that the river flows out of the highland lake and the mountains, into a fjord-like channel, and then out to sea. With the water in place, I started building up all the mountains, using the river bends to influence where the mountains needed to be. I don't know that it follows the river rules perfectly, but it can't be too far off, eh? Anyway, the mountains were made with the Aldebran Grand Set of brushes, downloaded off the forum, I think from Schwarzkreuz. I have two simultaneous transparent layers, that I've used to layer mountains on top of one another, and then erase the bits that should be 'behind' other mountains. I've merged them together two or three times, creating a new second layer to work with after each merge. Think I'm done with the mountains, but we'll see. In any event, I'm quite pleased with them so far.
The other important detail is that I've been working wholly in black and white so far. I hope to use a more subtle, watercolor effect on this map, as opposed to the sweeping background colors over noise that I've used so far. We'll see!