This is a commissioned map I just started on for a Fantasy Novel. It's very early yet and I just finished defining the landmasses.
I agree with max about the coastal rings. And I'm not sure about the city icons for the same reasons. Your mountains are just excellent!
I smoothed out the water rings a bit and lowered the opacity of the drop shadow of the land. I think it helped.
I'm sticking with the simplified city markers because I need to ensure they'll be readable at different sizes. Because this one is for a novel, I really want to make sure the map is legible at different sizes and across different mediums (digital and print). I wanted to go with something other than just the usual dots and still make the symbols informative. I can live with sacrificing the aesthetics a bit and I think they accomplish both those goals.
As always, thanks much for the input.
Looks fantastic! Very interesting font choice, it works really well. Mind if I ask which one it is? I think I'd like to use it sometime…
I've got a couple of suggestions: It looks a little strange to me that the land is completely untextured. If you would put the ocean texture on the land as well, but very faint, it'd feel more coherent. And the mountains and forests are very pale, I think they would match the coastline and labels better if they were a little darker.
This is pretty much finished, pending any changes the commissioner requests. The city symbols aren't the most popular, but I am pretty much sold on them ( I can be a stubborn SOB. ). Function wins over form for me on this one.
The original .psd file for this is absolutely massive....broke the 2GB barrier.
I fully agree with Lingon about the mountains and forests being a bit pale. And, in fact, I would make the icons a bit less black and would darkened a bit forests and mountains (mainly mountains). I'm not sure about texturing the land, depending on what you have in mind.
Anyway, I really like all the elements (nice canyon!) and the labelling is very good!