I am currently developing a world for a fully original tabletop RPG that I am creating. I've got hundreds of pages of history, mechanics, and profiles, and these:
The first two are extremely early sketches that I drew up just so I could start writing interactive history for the world; needing, of course, a general idea of where each race begins and calls home to do this. I include them only because they were the first maps I drew for this world (as poor and inaccurate as they are). The last map is an artless display of the more-or-less finished coastlines.
I'll be slowly developing this map and will be posting my progress here for motivation and, if fate smiles on me, advice and critique that will benefit an area of world creation in which I am not yet a master.
Is this the right idea? Without previous experience with the airbrush tool, or drawing maps in colour, or cartographical realism (not a real term) in any way, I decided I would experiment and this is the result after a couple of hours. "A sketch" is what I'd call it: "an idea." Please tell me how far I am off the mark so that I may improve.
What style of map are you ultimately shooting for? You have the start of a good painted style here, but no sharply defined elements. More contrast with light and deeper shade would help bring out the heights and features such as mountains. The coastlines look good and there is a fair balance of filled and empty space, though I'd leave a bit more ocean around the edges rather than bringing the island chains right up to the border.
What sort of map am I shooting for? To be honest, I don't know. I was thinking I would eventually try drawing elements on top of this "painted style" backdrop. What I have now would show the idea and general layout of biomes and would be the first of many layers. Later, perhaps, I will try to add more sharply defined elements. I haven't yet because I don't know how. How does "more contrast with light and deeper shade" work?
Here's the sketchy-coloured eastern continent:
Last edited by - Max -; 03-10-2014 at 08:12 PM.
Corbad, does the shade of your colour represent topography ?
The equator passes through the bottom part of the continent and the northern tropic line passes through the middle of the map; the dark green is meant to represent tropical rainforest, the pale yellow-green is meant to represent savanna, the lighter greens and green-browns are meant to represent temperate rainforest-highlands-kind-of-biome, and the grey-brown strips are the underlay to what will later be defined mountain ranges.
Last edited by Corbad; 03-12-2014 at 03:17 PM.
Topography means "mapping height/altitude". From your description this would be a biomes map. Did you decide on the biomes straight out of gut feeling or based in the physical processes (ocean currents, wind patterns, summer/winter temperatures) ?
I think the jury is still out on labeling "topography" with only one definition, actually. Different sources have varying lists of definitions, and some could apply to physical features beyond just elevation contours.
In any case, to answer your question, "somewhere in between." I haven't done any detailed current or wind studies, but I've got a general idea of latitude and so forth, so my sketches aren't unfounded.