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Thread: Kolmara, a Japan-inspired island

  1. #1
    Guild Artisan Gracious Donor Lingon's Avatar
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    Default Kolmara, a Japan-inspired island

    Here's my latest finished commission, an island called Kolmara. It's for an RPG group with a Japan-inspired setting, so I tried to make the mountains and settlement icons a little Japanese… The island itself is bigger than Japan though, I didn't get an exact size, but it's meant to be almost a small continent. It has no labels, they wanted to add that themselves, but villages, towns and ruins are marked. The red towns are "Homeland cities", great abandoned cities that where important to the story.

    Most of it is watercolor, with icons made in Illustrator, and the font in the title is Letter Sseungi.

    Commissioned by Gavin McClements – thanks!
    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Guild Member rwaluchow's Avatar
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    I love this map. It has a great painterly quality that really evokes Japanese watercolours. My only gripe on an otherwise gorgeous map is the town symbols; they don't really seem to fit the rest of the map, hovering over the otherwise isometric depiction. Perhaps lowering the glow would help this?

  3. #3
    Community Leader Gracious Donor Bogie's Avatar
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    Great map Lingon. I have to agree with rwaluchow. The high contrast black & Red clash with the nice soft watercolors. If you change them to softer colors like grey and brown it might work better.

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    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor rgcalsaverini's Avatar
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    Very nice map! It does evoke Japanese watercolor. But I think I must agree with the rest, maybe hand-drawn (at least in style) icons?

  5. #5
    Community Leader Gracious Donor - Max -'s Avatar
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    Nice map Lingon. I agree with the others, I'm not convinced by the icons that clash a bit with the overall style.

  6. #6
    Guild Expert Jalyha's Avatar
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    I think it's more the color of the icons than anything.

    Like.... all your outlines are a soft, dark gray/brown. All the paint is soft watercolor, then you have bold black icons. I wonder, if you stroked them with a softer brush in an off-black, if that would fix the issue?

  7. #7
    Guild Adept foremost's Avatar
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    Hmm, I have to disagree with everyone else
    and say I like the icons. You could blend in
    some a bit more, but I think they fit with the
    map fine. I'm not sure what you could do
    differently that would make it look better.
    The best maps are the ones we like the most after looking at the longest.
    I cAn gET fancy w1th my s1GNaturE, UH huh!

  8. #8

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    I sort of had the same impression as many folks about the icons. However from what I've seen its common for traditional Japanese paintings to use red and black for the calligraphy and characters (example 1, example 2, example 3), so I think you are in keeping with the tradition here. What I think looks problematic perhaps is the the contrast between soft translucent watercolors and bold opaque colors. If you look at the calligraphy of the last image it looks softer and more faded. I think something like that would look better for this style of map, it would give the impression that these symbols were painted onto the map.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh

  9. #9
    Guild Adept Gracious Donor lostatsea's Avatar
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    I agree . The map is really nice But ! The icons look Mechanically produced in contrast with the Organic (Painted) style of the map. I don't see a problem with the colors per se. The icons clash because they are so "Crisp", Uniform (Mechanical) and opaque. If they were stamped on the map after it's creation that might explain the uniformity but there would still be some variation. Slight smearing blurring different angles.etc . If you watered it down some "opacity" it would bleed into the underlying painting. If not mechanically applied then then they should look painted on with all that implies ! Still really nice looking Map !
    "Aye The skies be clear , the seas be calm and the winds be with us .....

    ARGH!! but the damn compass be broken!! "

    Capt. Noah Swalter Last voyage of the " Silver Crest"

  10. #10
    Guild Artisan Gracious Donor Lingon's Avatar
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    Oh, yes, the icons. I should have mentioned that the they where requested to look like that, sorry! The client had an example map with icons he wanted something very similar to. I'm not too happy with them either to be honest, I'd have preferred to paint them on the map or at least lower their opacity a lot, as you all suggest, but… you know

    Anyway, nice to hear you like the rest! Thanks everyone!

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