Arkkeeper's Guide To Hand Drawn Atlases
Thats Right, I'm doing a Guide to teach YOU how to make an Atlas with your own TWO hands. In this guide you'll learn things like:
- Creative & Complicated Coastlines
- Mountains and Understanding of Continental Plates
- Realistically Random Rivers
- Proper Country Border Design
- And much more
Lesson 2: From So Simple A Beginning
So some people prefer to start from a town and work up with there worlds. You can do that with these Lessons, but You'll have to go backwards lol. I believe in taking a scientific approach to the creation of you world. literally working your way through the history of your planet. First we start off with a basic idea of what you want your planet to look like, for examples I use the real Earth making this a little bit of a Big History/Geological Science lesson as well. Below is some images of Earth, We know want our world to look roughly like the first image but we need to understand how it came to look that way so we can know where mountains and such are, so we then get an idea of what we think the world started off looking like and then work out how it went from beginning to present.
With Earth the Earliest known supercontinent is known as Vaalbara, unfortunately there is little evidence as to how it looked. Later came the first true continents known as Cratons, The second image is that of the cratons in 550 mya. We have Gondwana in yellow, Baltica in green, Austro-Antarctica in blue, Siberia in a sorta lavender, and Laurentia in bright pink. Now between the time of Kenorland and The Cratons there was the three supercontinents, Kenorland, then Columbia, then Rodinia. But the things to really know about are Vaalbara, the first land; The Cratons, the first Continents; and our next map Pangaea, the most well known of them and the last of the great supercontinents (even though technically Eurasia is a supercontinent). Now that we understand the history of the continent formation we can actually begin with making the map.
As a treat for being such good students I give you all a fourth map which is a scientific analysis of what Earth might look like in +250 million years
Part 2, Lesson 3: Throwing Down Some Lines
Okay you will do this in I find usually 5 steps:
1. Rough Draft Penciling
(Be sure to use a fine point pencil no #02's you want a really sharp and clean line), In this step you put down the line of the basic shape of you world and I mean really basic, like child drawing basic. In fact I put up an image just like that
2. Detail Penciling
After you have learned how real coastlines work (I have done almost 20 hours of research on coastlines alone for Cartography) you want to do some good details on it, in places that are cold and you want to have had previously covered in glaciers are going to have heavy fjords, Bays are signs of Super-Glaciers or unique happenings (The Chesapeake was possibly created by a large meteor), Isthmuses are essentially peaks of Underwater Mountains, as are Islands (Note we are only doing the coastlines right now, no fancy geology and stuffs). and Peninsula's and headlands are formed from erosion of softer earth around it, Great Lakes and Inland Seas are another formation caused by Glacier erosion although some like the Great Salt Lake are Purely Unique Valleys (But then one should note that valleys are mostly formed by Glacier Erosion, Glaciers are one of the most influential forces on geography)
Some Major Coastline Terms:
Peninsula or Headland- A jutting out piece of land which is created from erosion. also known as Cape
Bay- The opposite of a Headland, an inward erosion creating what looks like a large stubby river
Gulf- Really just another name for Bay, but I like to distinguish it as a VERY LARGE BAY as in the Gulf Of Mexico
Cove- Similar to a Bay but instead of forming similar to a river it's a very round insert of water
Delta-NOT A COAST FORM Do not draw these into your coast's. A Delta is a land form, a Marsh-ish area that becomes a river
Continental Islands- These are island's on a continental shelf, they are not volcanic, and they are usually high and heavily mountains or flat and nearly sea level. These Islands also form in clusters quite a bit. i.e. much of near Oceania, Caribbean, Canadian Arctic Archipelago (which is the largest yet most overlooked one)
Oceanic Islands- Almost exclusively volcanic, Oceanic Island like to form chains or be alone instead of clusters. i.e. Ring of Fire (Which borders the Oceania Cluster), the few Atlantic islands, and thats about it, most islands are continental
Step 3: Waiting it Out and Last Chance Correction
Now DON'T DO anything to it for a little while except critique. This is incredibly important rule as I have screwed up a lot of maps by rushing. After looking at it for a while, maybe hanging it up for a day you will probably see some small things you'll want to change, If you don't well then... YOU'RE LYING TO YOURSELF. There is going to be something you should change, and don't worry even the masters have something they need to change. Now work those details in, small details, but not too small of details after all this is a world map and you cant see finite details from space, unless your making a historical-esque map with inaccuracies (and even then you should make an accurate map first. The Geographer god must make the world right before man can see it his own way.) then don't get to fancy with your fjords and stuff I learned that mistake the hard way (see My Maps in Finished Maps by Arkkeeper) Once you are truly satisfied by your map it's time to begin inking
Step 4: First Inking
I suggest using a .03 or .05 art pen, as I mentioned in my first lesson I use a set of ZIG Memory System Millennium fine line markers (I just call them pens) sizes 005 (.20mm), 01 (.25mm), 03 (.35mm), 05 (.45mm), and 08 (.65mm). These pens are the best I have ever used (I have been using the same exact package for a year or two know) and I just have to list the features:
*Smear-proof (once dry)
*Fast Dry (at most 5 seconds, avg. 1-2 seconds)
In general The ZIG Memory System art supplies (they also make calligraphy pens and etc.) are top notch and I definately getting some (they sell them cheap at dick blicks and you can order them, and no I'm not being compensated by the company, I'm just a huge fan)
Anyways, start with 03 or 05. You may have noticed that you might have drawn really hard when using pencil, Artists learn to overcome this but it's a natural reaction to steady your hand otherwise you might slip or something, but with the pens you don't want to do that, try very hard to move softly and not press down hard, take brakes if your hand begins to cramp, DEFINITELY take your time with the Fjords (I once had a hand cramp that lasted three days). Now if your a beginner at designing your own coastlines you should stick to the pencil drawing underneath. But if you have developed what I call the Geographer's Eye (Which if you have then you have gone from being a Cartographer to a Geographer which opens a whole new world for you) then you should Probably go with you intuition on changes the coast while inking, just remember now it's permenant.
Step 5: Final Inking and Finished Templates
Now step up to the 08 pen and go back over the parts of the coastline/Sea lines that aren't highly detailed, the parts that are really detailed (the Fjords, always the Fjords are trouble) get washed out by the bulk of 08 and aren't detailed any more. Now you'll probably want to go over all of it again several times with 05 so that the ink is nice and consistent but be careful because thats more chances to screw it all up.
And now your done with the Template, You should have a perfectly blank page with nice bold black lines for your Coasts, Islands, and your inland Seas and Lakes that are large enough to seen on a world map. or if still want to learn more about how to make inland water features, then leave out the seas and/or lakes (depends on what they got called, the Great Lakes aren't lakes there inland freshwater seas or they are lakes and the Caspian sea is actually a Lake. see what I mean. But I like to think of them as sea's because theres no American Sea's besides the Caribbean and the Scotia.) I have provided a kinda example of a template of the world, it's not black & white outlines but it's close enough for you to understand what your template should look like.
this where I take a break because you technically have a finished map, any digital cartographers who use these lessons will find out how a template is worthy of being a complete map even if it doesn't have words and countries and fancy things and what not....
bleh long post is long