This map was designed from the start to be an exercise in replicating the old maps I used to see in elementary school but with my own personal satellite style. So, for this map I knew exactly what I wanted the final image to look like so the process of creation was over and now it was time to get out the hammer and nails and start building in Photoshop.
The first thing I did was to try to think differently. So with that in mind I went ahead and made my map the way I always do (so much for thinking differently, eh?) but instead changed the color of the ocean and put a layer of soft white onto the land. At this point my land looked good but the water was too bright and I wanted something more grayed-out so I added a medium gray layer at 50% opacity and viola, it was easy. I then added some darker gray as shading around the edges of the map to darken them up a bit and added one more layer of soft white to the whole image. To this point the whole process had taken me about an hour.
Now came the detail work that, I think, really gives anything a bit of charm and style but takes a long time to do. I put in a grid for latitude and longitude and because I love those old compass lines I put some of those in as well. Next I put in the rivers which are basically lightning bolts (I have a thing for lightning bolts). Next I put some lakes on top with a really easy Photoshop trick (use a 100-pixel pencil and under brush dynamics give it a cloud texture). For the cities I wanted something that looked like it was from some kind of fantasy painting so I got some pics off of the interwebs and applied some artsy filters. Roads came next and where they intersect I put down smaller icons for towns and villages and other stuff. Labeling things can always be a chore but I just make stuff up and then make it sound like some particular foreign language, for this map I went with French. Finally, the finish graphics…this part is always the hardest for me since I never really studied graphic design; I drew superheroes, cartoons, and cars. The most important part of any work of art is knowing when to stop. I love detailing things and putting in things that others might never notice but if they do I feel as if I have given them a small present. After cutting down on the number the fonts used I was ready to call this one done…1 hour of fun playing in the sandbox and 15 hours of hammering and sawing. I hope you all like it.