Mapmaking!

Woollybear

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I am having such a good time drawing my world map by hand. I can't tell you how fun this is!

I originally tried to find a fantasy cartographer for hire, and also looked into electronic programs that you can play with to make maps, but none of them felt quite right. AND it's been a while since I've gone 'pure creative' (what with the query trenches and all) and so, the other night when I sat down and started doodling a map, it fed my soul. Oh yeah!

So I discovered Nate on Youtube WASD channel and he's fantastic. He has all sorts of series like 'How to draw trees seven different ways' or "So you want to draw a volcano.' His jam is more in the D&D vein, but it works for my needs too.

Now I have the kids' huge drawing tablet (paper) pulled out, and I've got the coastline down, and city placement, and this is SO FUN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1eo-SzLCcY&list=PLmWenFBYZ9v-qWzwwe98zw9W55MR6JsY0

(That's first in six part series, plus Nate has a bunch of other youtube videos on the channel, for other things. And yes, I used the beans!!! So kooky. So Fun.)
 
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MynaOphelia

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Oh my goodness I cannot describe how much I love mapmaking for stories!

I used to make so many maps for fantasy stories. Now I no longer write fantasy and so I've been trying to find an outlet for my mapmaking bug. A few years ago I literally painted globes with maps for my friends' secondary fantasy worlds.

It's so fun!

When you're done with your map you should post it! I bet there's a lot of other mapmaking and cartographic enthusiasts lurking on this board :)
 
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Callum

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Thank you!!! I've recently taken up cartography for fantasy maps and this certainly helps a lot! :D
 

Woollybear

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It was so funny--that same night that I posted, my husband and I dialed up an old episode of Deep Space Nine and the whole plot revolved around a cartographer. I literally had plunked my map down to work on in front of the TV and Doctor Bashir is talking about... a cartographer. LOL.

So--this mapmaking! Yes! At the moment the cities and mountains and islands are mostly done. And I imported the current draft into a drawing program to see how much cleaning up I can do that way, and played with fonts (I like Papyrus). I am loving how much cleaning up I can do digitally.

Now I need to move on to the part of the map that is agricultural. This is hard for me to get my head around. There are only a few ways of drawing fields and pastures, and none of them are very dramatic, heh, so it's been something of a block to plunk down and start sketching them in. Those and trees, but maybe by the end of the day I'll have started.

I'm also puzzling over how much 'sea monster' to put in the ocean. I could go with none, or a hint, or a full on 'deadly seas ahead' vibe. I'm afraid the map will get too busy if I'm not careful, so maybe just a hint of sea monster.

And then the border. I mean, I don't know what to do there. But I think a border is a nice touch, and there are so many ways to get creative on that. A compass rose. (As part of the border???) A grand label of the world or the continent.

Stew, stew, stew.

Callum--so glad those WASD videos were useful! Myna--nice to meet you!
 
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Langadune

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I started sketching a rough idea of a map for my world. Then went down the rabbit hole on YouTube (I think I watched every video on the subject). I ended up spending so much time map my maps that I neglected my story.:Shrug: However, it is very a satisfying outlet. And it's always nice to discover you have one more talent that you didn't know about.
 

Woollybear

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What? A rabbit hole???

You are right!!! It's so fun though, and my WIP needs to rest for a while anyway, without my attention on it. So this outlet is fitting well.

The sea monster issue got resolved yesterday (I mention it because I know everyone was dying to know what I decided on that. :) ). And I sketched a farm scene that I'm happy with. Both of these were on a small drawing pad, and today I'll pop them onto the big map. Oh, I also settled on a border and label. Still not sure what will happen with the compass rose, and there are a couple different ways of drawing shorelines and I'm debating which way to go on that.
 

Kjbartolotta

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Thousands of maps throughout my life, all gone now, like petals in the wind. But I got the itch again. Mapping leads to conlangs, and nothing gets accomplished...

I once had a photorealistic map of a full fantasy continent I had spent something like 500+ hours on that got lost when I switched computers, sorta put a damper on the obsession.

I also do alternate history maps, but that's a discussion for another thread.
 

Woollybear

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That seaweed is awesome--looks like she uses photo sensitive paper with it. So cool.

*Thousands* of maps? Holey moley! I'm getting so hung up on details about whether a feature is legitimate or not, I can't imagine drawing more than one map!

Still having fun. The sea monster is on. The mountains are done. The cities and towns are all done and I've started the trees, which will take a fair while.

Most everything after that will be done digitally.
 

Woollybear

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So a friend of mine looked at the map yesterday, immediately identified the font as Papyrus and said "For the love of God, don't use Papyrus."

Ack! I felt like I had used something as bad and as identifiable as Comic Sans.

Aside from scouring the web for lists of fonts to avoid, like these:

https://1stwebdesigner.com/bad-fonts/

https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2011/02/10-iconic-fonts-and-why-you-should-never-use-them/

How can I know if a font is sufficiently underused enough that it won't annoy people? :) How does a person identify a more-or-less unobtrusive but stylish font?

(I really liked Papyrus.)
 
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starrystorm

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So a friend of mine looked at the map yesterday, immediately identified the font as Papyrus and said "For the love of God, don't use Papyrus."

Ack! I felt like I had used something as bad and as identifiable as Comic Sans.

Aside from scouring the web for lists of fonts to avoid, like these:

https://1stwebdesigner.com/bad-fonts/

https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2011/02/10-iconic-fonts-and-why-you-should-never-use-them/

How can I know if a font is sufficiently underused enough that it won't annoy people? :) How does a person identify a more-or-less unobtrusive but stylish font?

(I really liked Papyrus.)

I love Papyrus too. (Sometimes I'll just write in it for fun.) But I know a lot of people hate it for some reason. Maybe you could look at other maps in books and see what kind of font they use.
 

BradCarsten

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Thanks for sharing the link. When I created my map, I took the easy way out and found a free to use map accessory pack on Deviant art, but this looks like something I should bookmark. Hows your map coming along?
 

Woollybear

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The map is good--thanks for asking. Most beta readers who have seen it say that it fits their feel of the world, and a couple were really jazzed when they saw it. They said it made the story more real to them.

I'm glad I hand-drew it in the end, because the various programs have their own 'stamps,' same as fonts, and become recognizable. Inkarnate, for example, is quick with lots of functionalities, but the maps have a certain feel. Hand drawing is unique... although imperfect in other ways. I mean, maybe it's the hours I've put in, but I think I'm glad to have hand-drawn it. A few features still need work, and someone asked for a legend but I probably won't add that.

Some parts of the map I'm less happy with, but overall it's good. The whole thing is smudgy (drawn in pencil), and so I need to trace onto a clean sheet then digitize it. Won't get to that until this weekend. Then I'll play with it digitally for a while, too, probably. I want a B&W version for the print book, but might try to color it in for the website.
 
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Kjbartolotta

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How can I know if a font is sufficiently underused enough that it won't annoy people? :) How does a person identify a more-or-less unobtrusive but stylish font?

(I really liked Papyrus.)

LOL, it's just one of those mysteries. I haven't checked yet if Visitation is on that list, but it should be. A quick googling of threads on the Cartographer's Guild site (not as close to my heart as AW, but still a magic place filled with wonderful people) gives some good advice on this issue. Lotsa people seem to like Copperplate Bold.
 
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Woollybear

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Ohh--that's good! City maps will be needed at some point. And even just perusing a few city maps helps me in the narrative. thanks!
 

Jason

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Woollybear

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That's a nice link, on the other thread. I particularly like how the shading is very realistic. My drawing has been in more of the oblique view (not top-down). Oblique becomes awkward for things like lakes and coastlines, where top down gives a more concrete idea of dimensions.

I wish color was as easy and cheap to print as black and white, because the color gives you more flexibility too (snow, water etc.) On the other hand, there's always the option of websites--where color maps are just as free as black and white or parchment/sepia. So, that'll be fun to do at some point, after the B&W is finished.

My map's on hold for a few days (the pencil draft, which is finished) until my birthday (coming up)--at which my point I expect to get the exact pens and markers I want to trace a clean copy of it for scanning.

I cannot wait! I have not been this impatient for a birthday in DECADES.
 
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Langadune

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I like the idea of including a black and white map in the book but also providing a link to a website where more detail of your world is available. A sort of wikiwhatever for your world. Then you can include detailed cover maps, insets, histories, profiles, etc. However this could probably be a rabbit hole too and you could end up spending as much, if not more, time there than on your novel... I know I would.
 

frimble3

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I'm also puzzling over how much 'sea monster' to put in the ocean. I could go with none, or a hint, or a full on 'deadly seas ahead' vibe. I'm afraid the map will get too busy if I'm not careful, so maybe just a hint of sea monster.
I'd go easy on the sea monsters, unless you are also adding every bear and pack of wolves in the forests. Or bandits! It could, as you say, get very busy.
 

Woollybear

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The difference between the ocean and land, though, is that the ocean is largely featureless whereas the land has roads, mountains, gorges, cities, and so on.

The legend, label, and compass rose are on the ocean, but it is still unbalanced, visually, compared to land--even land with no animals--and adding a splash of sea monster helps correct that imbalance. The sea monster becomes relevant to the universe in a sequel, too, and is referred to in a song in the first book, so I'd like it to be there from the get-go.
 
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Jason

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Would there be any objections to sharing images here? Be easier to give feedback for each other... :)
 

Kjbartolotta

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Would there be any objections to sharing images here? Be easier to give feedback for each other... :)

Seconded, provided we're all super-good about obeying the rule on image sizes, I'd love to get a map thread going. Wish I still had my old ones, but might still have a map or two to share...
 

Woollybear

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That's a great idea. My map won't be all prettied up digitally for a few weeks yet.