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My first hand-drawn map

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#1
François Goulet

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Hi folks!

I've been asked to do a map for a fantasy novel (2nd volume of a trilogy) for high school readers. I tried to do it "by hand" with an oblique view. It's my first hand-drawn map and I had a lot of fun. I know it's not as good as some we see here, but... ;)

I'll have to do some corrections (make the Forêt des Elfes bigger and the rocks of the Vallée des pierres debout smaller), so the visual balance will change, but the look will, I hope, stay the same (they have seen 2 draft already, so they had time to say it ;) ). It has a "naive" look, like a map someone could have drawn on a piece of parchment himself.

I'd like to have some inputs. They like it, but I'd like to make some improvement if I can.

The main character travels long distance between named places in not-so-clearly define landscape (at least, I asked and I've been told that the patches between the places aren't so important), so I put some trees, rocks, ..., to fill the gaps.

http://www.fgcartogr...om/map_JJ_2.jpg

Thanks!

#2
David Medeiros

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Looks like fun! I did one of these once (much smaller than yours) and liked the work very much.

I see only two real problems. First the halos under your type seem... odd. Not sure what I don't like about them but they float the type too much and look sprayed on. Maybe reduce the halo area and try either more or less transparency, see which looks best.

I also noticed the clumping of terrain types. Each terrain is grouped in homogenous clumps with little variety in size and type. Maybe mix it up a bit, draw in more gradual less abrupt edges and open them up in some areas, create some breathing room in there.

Can you elaborate on the process here? Is this pen and ink with some Illy work or all Illy?

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#3
François Goulet

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Can you elaborate on the process here? Is this pen and ink with some Illy work or all Illy?


I've been struggling with the "patchiness" of the terrain. The editor want clearly distinct (the meaning of the homogeneous forest) and clearly separate areas, there's nothing specific to separate them, and I don't want to add random element between them because even the author hasn't a clue of what will happen in vol. 3 so I don't want to force here to deal with desert, or large river to cross... Having said that, you're right and I should had smaller trees or rocks on the edges to give them a sense of "slow" beginning and end.

Since I'm about twelve, I've been a fan of Christopher Tolkien Map of Middle Earth and having it near my desk must have influence me more than I wanted to...

I should have written "Hand-Drawn" between " " because I used a basic Wacom pen tablet and Photoshop and the map was assemble in Illy simply because I prefer to manipulate text in Illy than PS.

I've made several tests in the past on how would be the best way to import a hand-drawn in PS (type of paper, ink, ...), but with the clients, there's to often changes to be made so I prefers to do it directly in PS.

Thanks for the comments David!

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wolfegeo

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Francois,

I loved it. It's simplicity allows the mind to fill in the gaps. I
I wonder if anyone else is drawn to a novel based upon it's maps. Are you able to tell us the name of the series?

But Francois, when you said you did it "By Hand" I really thought you meant by hand, i.e. pen and paper.
It's still a beautiful map.

Take care,

Kathy

#5
François Goulet

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Kathy,

Sorry I mislead you! but technically, I had a pen ;)

It for a french novel that will be published in Quebec : http://quebec-ameriq...1000A/1023.html

As for the vol. 3, the author herself said that she want to be "surprised" by the characters and events as she write it. Surely she has some plan in mind, but I don't know much. So, maybe, if I drew a river somewhere, she could use it in her story.

Thanks!!

#6
snag46ed

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That is a sweet map. Always loved the fantastical map making pages in these novels.

#7
Nick H

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The main character travels long distance between named places in not-so-clearly define landscape (at least, I asked and I've been told that the patches between the places aren't so important), so I put some trees, rocks, ..., to fill the gaps.


Hi François, I do like the map. Would it be possible to include some indicator of scale? I can understand that this might be difficult to reconcile with the plot, but it would be helpful to the reader (well, this one anyway :) ).

Regards, N.
Caversham, Reading, England.

#8
François Goulet

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Hi François, I do like the map. Would it be possible to include some indicator of scale? I can understand that this might be difficult to reconcile with the plot, but it would be helpful to the reader (well, this one anyway :) ).

Regards, N.


Hi Nick, thanks!

I can't put a scale because I've been told (well, that's an element of the first volume as well) that distance and time are vague. A large distance can be walked in no time and it can take a long time to cross a small patch of wood... and there's no dawn nor dusk... it night and... boom! sunlight!

So, with a scale, in would induce in the readers mind, a sense of distance that isn't in the book, but that the readers of the first novel are well aware of.

As for the distance between the elements, I didn't had a list with relative distance between each other, but a scanned sketch (it could have been made on a napkin by the look of it) that I had to follow, except that it has the words "Map of..." in the title which I refused to put in mine ;)

Thanks!

#9
DaveB

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Francois,

I loved it. It's simplicity allows the mind to fill in the gaps. I
I wonder if anyone else is drawn to a novel based upon it's maps. Are you able to tell us the name of the series?

But Francois, when you said you did it "By Hand" I really thought you meant by hand, i.e. pen and paper.
It's still a beautiful map.

Take care,

Kathy


Very nice work! It does look handdrawn - with a little digital processing (the text and haloes mainly).

I love maps like this. I'm also a longtime fan of the Middle Earth maps (Christopher Tolkein's and others).

And, yes, I do tend to being drawn towards books based on their maps. :D I was drawn to The Hobbit because of the map, and later the Lord of the Rings because of the big foldout maps in the hardcover books. One of the first things I look for when I pick up a new book is to see what maps it has.
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#10
Unit Seven

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...except that it has the words "Map of..." in the title which I refused to put in mine ;)


:o

But François—how do I know that it is a map now??
S a m B r o w n

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#11
François Goulet

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:o

But François—how do I know that it is a map now??


I'm counting a lot on the fact that the first book ends with the main character putting a hand in his pocket and finding a roll of parchment and then saying "A map of the Hidden Kingdom!".

I hope that the readers will remember that :P

#12
MapMedia

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Beautiful! I am pleased that there are clients who want hand drawn maps and that there are artists who can create them.
Its a terrific map for the book you described.

In terms of creating that feeling of ambiguous distance and fantasy place, possibly fusing the features (butte, forests, etc.) into the land (paper) so they appear to grow from it - and be one with it, as opposed to hovering. An effect used in other fantasy maps is to apply, not sure how to describe, blurry smudges etc. between places, so its not blank map area - it has some ambiguous texture (its not a place, but its not empty - could be something there, or nothing at all).

Great job! :)

#13
François Goulet

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Beautiful! I am pleased that there are clients who want hand drawn maps and that there are artists who can create them.
Its a terrific map for the book you described.

In terms of creating that feeling of ambiguous distance and fantasy place, possibly fusing the features (butte, forests, etc.) into the land (paper) so they appear to grow from it - and be one with it, as opposed to hovering. An effect used in other fantasy maps is to apply, not sure how to describe, blurry smudges etc. between places, so its not blank map area - it has some ambiguous texture (its not a place, but its not empty - could be something there, or nothing at all).

Great job! :)


Thanks!! That's a great idea! I'll try that.

#14
A. Fenix

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it's lovely...would love to see some color added as well.
Analisa Fenix
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