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Welcome, and nice first map post!
As is blatant by my post count and join date Iím an avid lurker of these forums. Recently however I took it on myself to make a map based on the setting of my Larp group. For this I took much inspiration of the greatest source of fantasy maps around (you can take three guesses; first one doesnít count). I thus tried to absorb and enact upon some of the wisdom the great artisans and masters of this place have shared, either through tutorials or shining examples. And so, based on what I gleamed here I set about trying to fabricate my own map. Frequenters of this place will surely recognize the influences Iíve borrowed from Vorropohaia or ĖMax- for example, or some of the brushes Iíve used such as the mountain set of Schwarzkreuz. And thatís just to name a few, because the number of magnificently talented people creating equally astounding maps on these forums is staggering!
So this is what I have so far, and as far as first attempts go Iím certainly satisfied. But since this is a map Iím making for a large group of my peers, Iím feeling the need to take it a bit further. However, as I have no prior experience, Iím somewhat dumbfound on how to proceed from here. Thatís why Iím turning to this forum for advice and commentary. My major concerns are as follows.
Itís a pretty big map; however it includes some large empty spaces. Do I leave them as is to avoid crowding the place? Alternatively, how do I make these more interesting?
There are a few curved lines crossing the map. Iím guessing usually these lines on maps indicate the curvature of the globe (forgive my poor grasp of cartographic argon). In this particular map however they serve to indicate how much I warped the map to have the Weylin Woods occupy as much of the functional area as possible. Convenient for me, but perhaps this should not be indicated on the map? I do feel they add a bit of panache to the map, so if I were to remove them, perhaps replace them with something else? A grid perhaps?
As it stands all my points of interest outside of cities and historic battle are marked by the same triangular symbol. Quick and easy, obviously, but hardly inspired. Would I do well to illustrate every POI with its own distinct marker or would that be too messy? Perhaps simply differentiate between different types of POI, like tombs, monuments, natural features etc?
Iím missing a legend. I havenít figured out how to incorporate one without cluttering any one area. Suggestions? It could probably incorporate the windrose and scale, thus freeing up the upper left corner.
Perhaps there are other cartographic faux-pas Iím unaware of? I hardly suspect others in my group to be particularly more knowledgeable about the subject then I am to such a degree that they would object, but if Iím going to invest, I might as well be punctuate
Right, thatís enough from me for now. Thanks in advance to you all!
You post was caught in moderation, but I've approved it!
Welcome, and nice first map post!
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Great first(?) map! I to draw inspiration from the artists you've cited here. I, who am new here and new to the finer subtleties of map making, shall try to offer some advice!
Empty spaces: Whether or not you make the quiet places more busy I guess depends on how you guys will use the map. One thing you could do is add simple illustrations or symbols such as trees, cacti, skulls etc to decorate and enrich the dull spaces. Maybe some mythical animals etc. I notice you have no forests indicated so maybe you could create some of those.
The latitude and longitude lines: I think you could keep things how they are now. It gives the impression this is part of a much larger area and you are looking at a projection that skews this part of the world so it is interesting. If you want to use the map to determine distances somewhat accurately a more regular grid would make more sense.
On symbols: Putting in some variety in the symbols on the map wouldn't be a bad idea necessarily I think. You can have a legend to explain what is what. A unique symbol for each event or location would be too much though probably.
On a legend: Simply, I think you could add a legend by extending the image to the bottom, top or even to the side if you wanted and create a legend outside of the borders of what you have. That is if you not confined to a certain proportions for this map. Actually, I'd suggest making the whole image a little taller so you could fit in a nice title up top. At any rate, the map is somewhat narrow as it is so the extra height would balance it out a little more and would not have to lose any map space you have already created.
Oh any potential faux-pas: I wish I could say. Certainly others may be able to point something out as many have more experience than I!
I like it! Very nice first effort.
You do have some river violations (not sure all of what i saw are violations because the lower right hand corner of your map is cut off and i can't really see what is going on there). Rivers very very rarely split downriver...usually they merge downriver with other rivers (ok, a lot of rivers in that sentence ). As an example of what i mean, look at the river that splits in your top right hand corner.
Also, lakes normally only have one outflow (see Ethlinn's Belly). And the river that outflows Ethlinn's Belly on the right side is another "splitting violation".
That's just on a first glance over your map.
I hope this is not discouraging...because as i said, this is a very nice start (and even the very talented members you pointed out at the start had those problems in the beginning...i even remember a PM exchange concerning this topic between a newbie named -Max- and myself ).
I'm trapped in Darkness,
Still I reach out for the Stars
NIce first effort indeed eilathen already spotted some rivers issues. I concur with Viking on the way to extend your map on the top/bottom or sides if you need space to add a legend. I like the use of simple icons on it and I don't mind looking at some empty space on a map If ever you find it too empty, adding some extra labels to name regions/forests could be interesting. I'd also label all the rivers since you have enough space to do it. Keep up the good job!
Thanks for the encouraging reception guys! It’s indeed my first region map. And much obliged, RobA, for approving the post. I worried I might have messed up something.
I do think I like the empty spaces so there’s some calmness in there, so I think I’ll leave those alone for now (though I might not be able to resist the small illustrations you suggested, Viking ). Labeling the remaining rivers is an excellent pointer though, -Max-, and might help to flesh things out here and there.
The extremely split-y river is indeed an issue I was aware of and tried to circumvent as much as possible. However the map is based on an existing map, so while I can change the execution, I’m averse to adjusting the form overtly much. (I actually already removed the worst of the river violations, like rivers running into and through mountain ranges). The river in the top right hand corner does work out though; the river coming in from the top end of the map joins the river on map, exiting to the right. It is poorly represented though, so I’ll fix it post haste. Good call. And by all means, Eilathen, don’t hesitate to point these things out! It’s great to get feedback from you guys!
Based on your suggestions I’m going to go for stylized icons to represent various categories of POI and include them in a legend somewhere, the execution of which I’m still contemplating.
Another thing that occurs to me, since Viking mentioned forests: Technically the entire greenish area is one giant wood. However, since you’re not the first to mention the lack of forests, I’m guessing it’s not very obvious. Would I do well to illustrate the wood with actual trees? I doubt filling that entire area with trees will constitute a clear map though, so perhaps another approach? Till now I just stuck to the greenish coloration as to keep things simple and all the names easy to pick out. I’ve seen some maps that combined both wonderfully, but I’m not sure if and/or how I could pull that off.
Thanks again for all the advisory, everyone! Next Monday I have some time available, so that’ll give me an opportunity to take all your tips and whip together a first update.
I like the density of information, so I don't think you need to worry about the blank spots. It does feel like the map is sort of sagging, though. The amount of information near the bottom, the graticule's shape, and the arc of the central label all contribute to that feeling. The suggestion of a title could counteract that, particularly if you give it an upward arch to counter the downward arch of the grid.
For the forest, you could try giving it a tufted border, as can be seen on many of Mike Schley's overland maps. Or you could scatter some isometric tree icons through it. They don't have to be dense, particularly since a very large portion of this map is forested.
Bryan Ray, visual effects artist