Realistic maps

So I need a map for my novel. I drew one a long time ago, but it’s super lame, useful really only as a tool for orientation or general awareness of the part of the world the story takes place.


That was all I really needed to write the story, but it was sort of like a kindergarten picture, so now that I’m working on creating a finished product here, I felt like a needed a better map. So I came up with this one:


Now, I do think it’s “better” for some definitions of the word “better”, but it still has a pastel-colored cartoony look to it that I don’t like. So I started researching how to make maps. That meant looking at lots of ways to draw mountains and trees and led me to this little test map I did while watching “Sherlock” on TV last night:


Which is the right direction I thought. But then in my searches I came across a technique to create “realistic” maps on the computer using GIMP (which is my standard graphics editing program because it’s free). And that technique can be used to make maps that look like this:

Vranos Final

And as if that wasn’t intimidating enough, then I found this map the same guy did:

Final Forests

And I’m thinking “How far do I want to go with this?”


2 thoughts on “Realistic maps

  1. Yeah, that was one of the sites I stumbled upon. There’s a surprising amount of online help for drawing maps, including lots of youtube tutorials. The problem is that most of them show you how to do things that take a high level of knowledge and skill, and take a lot of time. The maps I posted above have a tutorial where the guy uses about two dozen layers, some of which have multiple channels to achieve JUST the effect he wants for mountains…

    Still studying…

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