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#1
Jordan_S

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Hello my name is Jordan and I'm not a cartographer. I actually have aspirations to be a writer. Fantasy novels to be precise. I'm writing this hoping that you don't see a lot of people asking the same questions as I'm going to.

As in most fantasy novels (Lord of the Rings, etc...) there are maps of the land in which the heroes come from and have their adventures in. I'm getting to the stage where I want to be able to draw my own maps but I don't know the first thing about doing it. I've looked online for software that would help me do that but most of it either costs too much or doesn't look like it will help me with what I'm trying to do. In the process of my searching I found this site.

I don't know how closely the study of cartography resembles map making in the way I want or if there is any software out there that can help me achieve my goals but I figured that perhaps some of you might be able to point me in the right direction.

As for the maps themselves I'm looking to create them as realistically as my stories will allow. In addition to that having the land change as it normally would with the passage of time. These are things that I'm afraid will come off as cheap and unintelligent if I don't at least do some kind of research on how it should be. Thanks for any and all help regarding this.

#2
Mike Boruta

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Welcome Jordan. You will definitely learn a lot by reading through the posts on this forum. Even if you are making maps of places that don't exist in the real world, the concepts of good design will still be the same. As for software, maybe you'd like to start off with something cheap or free. Have you looked into open source or lower-priced options of software that resembles tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.? I don't have any experience with them, but perhaps for your purposes something like GIMP, Pixelmator, or online tools such as those found at http://aviary.com might be of use to you?

Also, there is another forum out there that is more specifically geared to the fictional maps you seem to want to make. If you haven't found it already, check out: http://cartographersguild.com. It looks like there is plenty of active discussion going on over there. Perhaps it will help?

#3
DaveB

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Welcome! I'm a longtime fan of fantasy maps. It's always one of the first things I look for when I pick up a fantasy book. I know there are at least a few people here who have made maps for fiction books and for gaming.

In addition to learning about graphic/cartographic design (you might want to look at historical maps of the real world and existing fantasy maps for what readers of fantasy books are used to seeing; the latter maps being mostly small black and white maps, some better than others of course) it would be good to know something about geography, landforms and geomorphology, even cultural patterns. Sounds like you're already thinking about some of that, as you said "having the land change as it normally would with the passage of time".

Good luck and feel free to post examples for critique if you like. If you can brave it you will likely get plenty of ideas for improvement to choose from! :D
Dave Barnes
Esri
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#4
tirebiter

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Hello my name is Jordan and I'm not a cartographer. I actually have aspirations to be a writer. Fantasy novels to be precise. I'm writing this hoping that you don't see a lot of people asking the same questions as I'm going to.

As in most fantasy novels (Lord of the Rings, etc...) there are maps of the land in which the heroes come from and have their adventures in. I'm getting to the stage where I want to be able to draw my own maps but I don't know the first thing about doing it. I've looked online for software that would help me do that but most of it either costs too much or doesn't look like it will help me with what I'm trying to do. In the process of my searching I found this site.

I don't know how closely the study of cartography resembles map making in the way I want or if there is any software out there that can help me achieve my goals but I figured that perhaps some of you might be able to point me in the right direction.

As for the maps themselves I'm looking to create them as realistically as my stories will allow. In addition to that having the land change as it normally would with the passage of time. These are things that I'm afraid will come off as cheap and unintelligent if I don't at least do some kind of research on how it should be. Thanks for any and all help regarding this.


jordan
you can find wonderfully displayed examples of imaginary and emotional terrain maps, wave patterns, quantum chaos structures, LIDAR images, voxels, soundspace visualizations, prescientific maps, wire frame models and other graphic inspiration at johnwileyacademy, pepinpress.com, princeton architectural, bloomsbury and routledge presses.

safe journey
----
trbter




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