WIP: Eldeholm (town map) from web-novel Keys of Illath
Hey there! So this is my first WIP post. I created this map for a novel that I'm writing. It is a small town, but one of the largest and most important in the rural region of Andan. It is tidy and friendly and rich in tradition (to get a sense of it, check out Chapter 2).
I created it using Photoshop CS5, with the buildings and trees created in Paintbrush. I definitely found Paintbrush wanting, but I haven't found the time yet to invest in tackling Illustrator's learning curve (and I may just be imagining how difficult it really is!). After creating the simple structures in Paintbrush I colored and shaded them in PS, and then used the 'paint daubs' filter to make them look less pixelated and goofy-looking.
My hope was to make the town look organic, with natural street patterns and house placements, but I eagerly await any feedback or critiques to make this map even better. I trust the pros.
Because it is part of a copyrighted novel (albeit a work-in-progress!) I ask that the map and place-names be used fairly! Any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for taking a look! Find the larger version here.
It looks nice. I'm guessing from the few pages I read and details like the simple undershot millwheel, that your setting is roughly medieval? If so, for a town of just 2-300 buildings, three bridges seems extravagant. Bridges were expensive public-works projects, both for construction and for maintenance. I do see even in that snippet of Chapter Five that you're painting a nice picture - with all those folks lining the town's several bridges. Not that three breaks some law of physics, but if you do have a reason for "so many", maybe it'll richen your setting, whether or not said reason ever needs to make it into the text. You mention Eldeholm is regionally important - maybe bridges are just one of your society's status symbols. Or maybe one is the ages-old "mere footbridge", one will pass an oxcart, but is getting decrepit, and the third is the standard stone bridge of three meters' width, as decreed by King Xxxxx in Yyyy, for all the Royal Roads... you no doubt have something that fits your people and that place.
The town's layout looks fine. I'd figure The Summer Market wouldn't have so long a route to get to The Square, but maybe you're only showing roads and people habitually use footpaths between the Market and the west end of the Square. The buildings are mostly of a similar size. Where do the poor folks live - just squeezed more per building? How about rich folks - just nicer furnishings in a similar-sized house as the tradesmen? If your society isn't as graduated as Earth's medieval equivalents, fine - you're portraying some degree of even prosperity just with the map. If you do want some poor folks, then some crowded, smaller hovels would say that right on the map too.
Is the treed area supposed to be forest, or orchard, or parkland? Simple need for firewood, not to mention building material, would keep outright forest cut well back from a town this size.
Were I picking up a paper novel to leaf through, and I flipped open to this map, I'd think "oooo, pretty - wonder what goes on there?" so yes, it's a nice interest piece for your book.
@jbgibson - Awesome feedback. It is much appreciated! One thing that I am working with in the concept phase of the novel is trying to weave several different elements from various 'Earth' timeperiods into this world. So, in some ways this village is Medieval, in others it is more Reformation/Enlightenment, etc. There are some elements that are woven in that, for lack of a better term, fit the Steampunk or future/past genres. This is especially true of other places in the world, but Andan is a forgotten backwater that has amalgamated some of these elements, but in other ways still hasn't changed in a thousand years. It's a delicate line to walk!
That being said, I really agree that three bridges does seem extravagant for a town of this size. I think I will attempt to convey it as a large town on the map, as I had always envisioned it as a town of 1500 to 2000. With that in mind I will definitely vary the size of the houses to give a sense of the wealthier/poorer areas, although I think of Eldeholm as fairly egalitarian.
As for the trees, Eldeholm backs up to rugged, forested hills...but I guess I never considered that the town would quite likely need to chop all of that down! Hmmm.... how to get around that one??
Trees: protected parkland? Almonds? Oranges?
Andan is quite northerly, like coastal Alaska/Scandanavia.... might have to make the grove sacred, which would be in line with the sacred ancient oak on the Green.
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