Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Digitising Maps

Greetings all.

I hope you are having a great time doing what ever it is you do. I'd like to welcome you all to the next article in my blog on creating original worlds.

I haven't posted anything in a week or two mainly due to the fact that I didn't have any tracing paper to copy the map from the boards. However, I have finally bought some grease proof paper, so I am able scan the map into the computer. Once I have scanned the map into the computer I aim to change the line art into full colour maps.

So to do this I thought I would first learn how to create effective looking maps in photoshop. I will update this article as I improve the map more. The image on the left is is what I have so far.

I am rather happy with how the map looks at the moment, thought it has ALONG way to go before it will be in any shape that I would call finished.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Using very thick wooden boards as the basis for my map proved one major problem for me. When it came to transferring the map I had drawn on the eight pieces of A4 to the board I realised that I would be unable to trace the map onto the board. Yes this may seem like an obvious thing to most but it wasnt until I actually came to this step that I realised the issue.

However, not to worry for I came up with a cunning plan. As always, a cunning plan arises at the time of peril, or something like that. Anyways, the plan I concieved was to trace the map onto some new pieces of A4 (so to preserve the origionals) and then cut the copies out and use them as templates.

It's not all that easy to see from the first picture but I have overlayed some of the templates over the original map. After I had done a mask for each piece of paper I then removed the origional maps and layed the masks out next to eachother.

Once happy that the masks were in the right position I began to draw around the masks using the wavy line technique - as descriped in 'Drawing Land'.

The final result can be seen in the picture below.

Also note from this picture that it is possible to see along the top the pencil markings I have put in for the start of the north polar land mass. As you can see many different types of land shapes can be created using this technique. However, it is also possible to simply draw the continents on free hand, though it may take more rubbing out on the final piece.

HUGE Map Project Articles

Starting the Map
Creating Continents
Outlining the Continent
4. Masking

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Tutorial: Drawing Land

Welcome to the first Tutorial on creating map's for fantasy worlds. The aim of this series of tutorials is to provide you with basic tips on how to draw various elements for your maps. I may at some point venture into writing some other articles upon creating the ideas for the world. Though thinking upon it there are quite a lot of articles out there already which do a brilliant job of this so I think I will just link to them. This first tutorial will focus on drawing Land or rather Islands.

Genesis 1:6 states "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." (NIV)

Just as our real world requires dry land for us to live upon so too do our fantasy worlds. Though granted it is not always the case that a fictional world requires land to be an enticing place for one's mind to wander - think Waterworld, now that's a cool film. However, for the majority land is a major component of any fictional world.

Now generally for myself when I come to drawing a body of land I use a very simple technique. I simply take my pencil and begin to draw wavy lines along its page. By allowing the pencil to flow it is quite easy to get a nice rugged edge to your land. This rugged line gives a fairly natural looking coast line and you can get some rather cool looking coasts by using this technique.

Ok so being able to draw a wavy line is all well and good but islands are comprised of more than just 1 coast line. This is where some people will perhaps prefer to do things different ways.

If you prefer then one way of getting a good island shape is to draw the rough shape of the island you want using a straight line. Then once you have your straight line simply trace over it using a wavy line. The diagram to the right shows an example of this technique.

Infact it's also a good way of drawing wavy letters. Just draw the letters you want in bubble writing with a straight line, then trace over them with the wavy line.

I really like the look and feel of the island I have drawn here - Infact I am tempted to use it in the World Map Project I am doing at the moment.

However, when I come to drawing my islands generally I do it free hand. So I simply take my pencil and draw away, seeing where the lines will take my island. Granted this does mean sometimes the islands do look a little naff, but all that is required is a rubber and a redrawing of the line.

I hope this tutorial helps. It's a very simply technique, but one I find works a treat.

Try it yourself sometime and let me know how it goes.

Outlining the Continent

The next stage for creating the continent I am designing is to continue the outline from the first piece of A4. To do this I placed a sheet of A4 on the Northern boarder and another piece of A4 on the Eastern boarder to look something like this.

On these two pieces of paper I continued the lines from the first map. These lines then run off to another edge of the paper they are on.

If you continue this until you are happy with the size of your continent then simply bring the lines together at the end to close off the land mass.

For me this meant using 8 pieces of A4 paper. I gauged the size I wanted my continent to be by laying the paper out on the 6'x4' board that will be used to draw the map on.

The final shape of this continent can be seen in the picture below, however I am unsure how clear the lines will be, but not to worry as the next stage in the development of the map is to transfer the map on the paper to the board itself.

Next Stage

HUGE Map Project Articles

1. Starting the Map
2. Creating Continents
3. Outlining the Continent

Monday, 22 September 2008

Creating Continent's

As I discussed in my previous blog, entitled 'Starting the Map' I have a good idea of how one of the Islands will look, so I am going to now develop the surrounding land mass. For this I wanted a large land mass to the East of the Island.

Taking an A4 piece of paper I started by drawing a rough outline of the Island in the centre of the paper. Once I was happy with the positioning of the Island I drew a landmass that ran along the northern and eastern boarders of the paper.

As you can see from the picture on the left I have inked in the land mass on the Northern and Eastern boarders of the paper. These boarders mark the south-western part to one of the continents in the fantasy world of Ilicia.

If you would like to learn how I draw my land mass then please check out my 'Drawing Land' tutorial (This will be uploaded over the next few days)

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Starting the Map

Map's are a great way to log the geography of a location, which is the main reason humans began to produce them. Kind of makes sense that does I guess hehe. So too is a map a great way to present your fantasy world to other people.

My aim for this tutorial blog is to log the development of a HUGE 6'x4' world map I have decided to crazily create. I will add some links that I have found very useful to this blog on the left hand side and I will possibly mention one or two throughout the blog as I find the links.

Firstly I would like to show you the first map I created for Ilicia.

This map shows the layout for the Island of Vancadia.

Vancadia is the heart of the Vancadian Empire, one of the most powerful Empires in Ilicia.

This particular map was created using a wonderful free piece of software known as Auto Realm.

Auto Realm is very easy to get to grip's with it is very similar to Paint in many respects however it also boasts a pretty good library of icons.

I have learnt quite a lot in terms of map making by using this program. I would highly recommend any would be world builders to go and download this software and have a play around with it for yourself.

Ok, so I now have a pretty good idea of what one of the key islands in my world looks like, but I don't really know much about the rest of the world and how it looks. This is where my HUGE World Map Project comes in.

Next Stage Creating Continents

HUGE Map Project Articles

1. Starting the Map
2. Creating Continents
3. Outlining the Continent

The World Building Re-opens

I would like to welcome you all to the re-opening of this blog. I am now attempting to keep 2 blog's running. My Writers Journal and this blog following the production of the story world know as Ilicia.

I suppose here would be a good place to give a brief introduction to Ilicia and I may do that later on. However at this very moment in time I want to get the Project Development pictures up of the HUGE World Map I have begun creating. I will try to write it in the form of a tutorial so if anyone should wish to draw a HUGE map for their world then they may do so.

I will pad this particular post out as and when I have time and ideas to do so.