Map (Click to enlarge)
Created in: Photoshop
One of the wonderful things that a site like Cartographers' Guild allows us to do is to observe and map the artistic progress and changes undergone by the individual mappers who post here regularly. In most cases what we see is an amazing development in the work they do as they assimilate, experiment and, in some cases, jettison old, pre-conceived ideas and style. One such person is Ascension, whose maps have always been artistically great, but we believe may have turned a corner with the map of Narthaine. We were so impressed by it that we felt it needed to be recognised with a Cartographers' Choice Award. We think you will agree that it is fully deserved.
Here is what the artist says about this particular map: (Edited for reasons of space only)
"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. I often tell people that the path to being an artist starts with having a clear vision of what the final product is to look like and that if they focus enough that anyone can be an artist. At any rate, for this 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..
I pretty much stayed with my usual process but instead changed the colors to what I remembered of those old wall posters in school. So what I was attempting wasn’t going to be fresh or new just a little twist on a standard style. If you want to know what my usual style is and how I do it there are a few tutorials on here that you can follow and I have a few maps here as well.
The first thing I did differently was to think differently. In graduate school I was studying psychology and I adhered to cognitive-behavioral therapy – wherein a person has to change their thoughts before they can change other things. So with that in mind I made up my basic clouds layer and put a bright blue color onto it instead of my usual dark blue. Then my reef, instead of being color dodged and bright I went with multiply and dark and turned the opacity down. The land and hills I did exactly as I always do but put a soft white layer on top to make it brighter. I had been thinking about how to make mountains look taller rather than just enlarged small ones so I made a 2-step process where I ran some filters to achieve a mountain base and a mountain top on 2 separate layers. This part is explained more in the WIP thread if you want to read it. 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 a 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. 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 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 things. Labeling things can always be a chore but I just make stuff up and then make it sound like some particular 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 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."
Yes, Ascension, we do.
Click here to view the original thread by the author