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.

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