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Thread: First Finished Map - 1500's parchment style test 1

  1. #1

    Post First Finished Map - 1500's parchment style test 1

    Hey all,
    This is my first finished map here. I have been working on a project to reimagine ultima by cataloging it with heightmaps and an atlas. Ultimately I want to make one complete, hand-painted map of Britannia on real vellum.

    This was my first test of the painting style. It didn't quite come out how I wanted. It was done on coffee stained heavy watercolor paper and was done Entirely using real calligraphy quills and sakura watercolors. Lessons learned: fixatif really helps keep watercolors from running when you ink over them, but it keeps ink from absorbing well. I have to use a color base that is less water soluable. I read that true illuminated manuscripts were done with gouche (sp?) paint. If you have done any of this, please tell me. That will be my next attempt.

    The land is 100% fictitious, and I made the place names by using the fantasy name generator and gibberish. The font is my own and is based on early gothic insular miniscule.

    Please comment. I like how the sea serpent and compass rose came out, but overall the map is way to bright and colorful and therefore doesn't succeed as I wanted. Also, the kingdom names don't stand out enough, the city names stand out too much, and the city markers aren't distinguished enough . I would appreciate ideas.

    PS - my other computer, with photoshop, is being repaired, so if anyone could correct the perspective and crop for me I would really appreciate it.
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  2. #2

    Praise Nice map, nice colors!

    That's an astonishingly nice map, nice colors too! Have some REP!

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  3. #3
    Guild Journeyer Locution's Avatar
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    Nov 2009


    This is an amazing map! Have some rep from me too.

    My only tiny nit-picky thing is I feel the colours are a bit too vibrant. I would maybe desaturate them a bit. But thats just me. Depite that its a beautiful map.

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Alabama, USA


    Awesome work! As far as "too bright colors"... pfffft. If you want the look of a five-hundred year old map, yeah, they would've faded some. But if your map was made "in 1505" (or whatever the calendar of these realms says) and "today's date" is 1510, then the colors are more reasonable. Just as you chose them, I'm sure the master mapmaker who created this would've chosen nice distinct colors if he had them available. If the place isn't Earth, then who's to say the locals don't have access to nice vivid tints? You haven't cracked / burnt / aged the edges of your 'parchment', so to me it's a "new" map, and wholly believable.

    The amount of detail seems to indicate the cartographer has pretty good geographical knowledge... but as we've seen, mappers have always been loath to leave space blank, and always claimed intimate knowledge that Just Didn't Exist. With that in mind, and getting into a 1500-ish mindset, there's details on here that get a free pass, which on a modern map would bring out, for instance, the River Police. Caveat - I am NOT a duly deputized River Officer, nor do I play one on TV. Really, even presuming the master who drew this knew river-flow patterns, all three main dividing-river instances might be deltas, especially the nice marshy one at the border of yellow/pink. The northern one's divergent streams are cased like coastline, so maybe those are two big sealevel islands instead of delta-lands. Casing the two passages leading inland from the east coast of NE "Redland" leads me to figure they're sea-level too, making that an awesome harbor instead of a questionable lake - is that what you had in mind there? Same only smaller on the east coast of NE quadrant Green - whether island at river's mouth or delta <shrug> doesn't matter. It's beautiful and no doubt admirably meets the needs of mariners.

    Country name / city name balance ... again, not bad, unless it doesn't match what YOU wanted :-). If there's only 14 domains in this part of the world, and everybody (or everybody in the map audience) knows them by their banners, maybe the names don't matter much. Maybe in these realms, the nation name changes with every ruler, or every administration, whereas the flags have remained the same for millenia. <shrug> It's your story to tell! One possibility off the top of my head to both distinguish between and emphasize labels as desired is to use a bit different font for each. The eye can pick different messages out of a mass of text that way - all-caps spaced out for the nations, leaving cites tight 'crabbed' writing, that sort of thing.

    As 'art' to appreciate I really like the totally nonLatin font. It emphasizes that We're Not In Kansas Any More. If your purpose shifts to using it for a book or a game, then a font that folks can easily pronounce would be a help - no matter if the pronunciation isn't what the locals would use. I once drove around Wales for a weekend with my boss the navigator calling out town names from the map and me recognizing them on road signs... no doubt in strings of sounds that would have left locals ROFL.

    Have I said I like this a lot? I like this a lot. :-)

  6. #6
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Ft. Wayne, IN


    This looks quite good...looking forward to seeing more from you.
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  7. #7
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Oregon / B.C. Canada


    I really think the color is just personal taste. I can see how you dislike how the color came out but at the same time, as a stylized map, I think it looks good. Great map! Rep!

  8. #8
    Guild Artisan Facebook Connected Rythal's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Toronto, Ontario



    awesome map!

  9. #9
    Guild Journeyer Noon's Avatar
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    Oct 2009


    Very well done.
    Have some rep.

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  10. #10
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States


    Actually, I think the colors work pretty well for the time period you have chosen. If you want to change them I'd make the country outlines darker to fit this time period. Lighter colors look nice but (I think) that's more 1600s...minor quibble but either way, shrug. I'll look it up for sure as I have a calendar of old maps. Really sweet hand work there, being lettered and painted like that...very nice. I'll see if I can crop and correct for you later this evening - I have my fantasy football playoff draft tonight so it should be around 9ish central time unless someone beats me to it.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
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