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A quick tutorial to fantasy maps and cartography by justMANGO A quick tutorial to fantasy maps and cartography by justMANGO
Finished product here: fav.me/d4ftq56

Please leave me a comment if you find any errors. Please also let me know what kind of things you make. I would be very interested in seeing them. =)

A huge thanks to ~kayleero for suggesting and ^Elandria for the DD feature. And of course, a huge thanks to all of you for the continuous support. :D



Further tips from the community:

:bulletblue: From ~Arpie: "One thing I've found helpful for distances and scale is looking at Google Maps. By looking up the mileage of various landmarks (like a pair of towns you travel between often, or a forest you often hike in) you can get a much better sense of the relative size of things. And you can zoom in and out, so it's good for all kinds of maps. Or you could even look up how wide across a mountain range like the Alps are, and base a fantasy mountain range off those, and the scale will be believable."

:bulletblue: From ~alphabetsoup314: "I would also like to suggest looking for real-life maps for reference, both historical and modern. That way you can get more ideas about how to represent different features. For example, modern maps may represent small roads with a simple black line and major roads with a double line. Also, it gives ideas for the styles of different time periods. For example, I find that older maps draw triangular(ish) shapes to represent mountains, while modern maps tend to just add a bit of shaded area to suggest different topography. Also, older maps give some ideas for purely decorative parts to add. Here's some interesting ones on dA:
geek-stock.deviantart.com/art/… alegion-stock.deviantart.com/a… ea8322.deviantart.com/art/Vint… mmp-stock.deviantart.com/art/F…
These are slightly more modern ones, but still a bit older-looking:
two-ladies-stocks.deviantart.c… logicalxstock.deviantart.com/a…"

(Thank you for the tips! :hug:)
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-01-07
A quick tutorial to fantasy maps by `justMANGO ( Suggested by kayleero and Featured by Elandria )
:iconslayingallhumans:
slayingallhumans Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am drawing a map of a world i created in the hope of setting it up as a fantasy Art RPG. I have done the outline so far using this but I am really unconvinced it looks natural. Can you check it over and let me know?

Thanks.

Yuulathor by slayingallhumans
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
1 by justMANGO

Some quick comments in the description part.
Reply
:iconslayingallhumans:
slayingallhumans Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks i will make sure to check them out :)
Reply
:iconmonotsleigh:
monotsleigh Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ooh I shall have to use this as I have some maps to draw!!
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Good luck! If you end up making anything, let me know! I'd love to see them. :)
Reply
:iconmonotsleigh:
monotsleigh Featured By Owner Edited Nov 9, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Just starting on one now! :) Here's one I did a while ago...I just realised that I didn't put the rivers layer on when exporting it! monotsleigh.deviantart.com/art…
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You might've forgotten to put in a link. =P
Reply
:iconmonotsleigh:
monotsleigh Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah I did, I've since editied it but here it is again! monotsleigh.deviantart.com/art…
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Not bad. I like the way you designed the coast and those islands. The geography looks rather convincing.
Reply
:iconmonotsleigh:
monotsleigh Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Cheers, it was a 'if this got flooded/had a humungous earthquake' monotsleigh.deviantart.com/art… I basically used the rivers as guides for low lying land
 So it took quite a while to draw out! :)
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Yea, using rivers is always a solid technique.
Reply
:iconkeldren-stormraven:
Keldren-Stormraven Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015  Professional Writer
Sweet now I just need a computer I can draw on
Reply
:iconblood-phoenix78:
Blood-Phoenix78 Featured By Owner May 12, 2015
Thank you for the information! This is very helpful
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner May 13, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem! Glad it's helpful. :)
Reply
:iconlonetreeprod:
LoneTreeProd Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2015  Student General Artist
Definitely, one of the most useful and well-explained tutorials any visual artist and writer could ever use! Kudos!
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! :)
Reply
:iconbanjelerp:
Banjelerp Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I recently redid a map I'd made ages ago, and I was so happy that your tutorial was still here.  It's immensely helpful. ♥

Here's my updated version:
Celsia: Map of Hwelan by CubicInsanity
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, of course it's still there. :giggle: There's no reason why it wouldn't be there.
I'm glad you found the tutorial helpful and thanks for sharing your map with me! :D
Reply
:iconbanjelerp:
Banjelerp Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sometimes people clear out their galleries/leave dA, so I was like, "Please still be there!" :fingerscrossed:

Thank you for providing such an awesome tutorial. :heart:
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome! :) I might make a new one this summer. Picked up a few new techniques since that tutorial.
Reply
:iconspiderpsalms:
SpiderPsalms Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This is a great guide! Thank you for such clear and detailed instructions!
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
No prob! :)
Reply
:iconsourene:
Sourene Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very helpful! Thanks!~ C;
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
No prob. :)
Reply
:iconmelima22:
Melima22 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013  Student General Artist
Interesting
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks. :)
Reply
:iconjust-raowolf:
Just-Raowolf Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student General Artist
This is absolutely amazing! I've been looking to make a map for a very long time, and when I finally got around to doing it this tutorial was just what I needed. Thank-you for providing it, with all those helpful tips and links! Here's the finished product, if you'd be interested... Differentiates just a little from the example on the tutorial, but this was absolutely perfect to help.
Thank-you again! :heart:
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome! I'm glad you found the tutorial helpful, and I'm really glad that it was helpful even for making maps in the Gimp. :D
Reply
:iconzelda0bsessi0n:
Zelda0bsessi0n Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love this, this is awesome :heart:
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! :D
Reply
:iconmanicbarrier:
manicbarrier Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013
do you do commissions? I'm hopeless at photoshop, even with a tablet, so could you help me make my world?
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't do commissions, unfortunately. I'm fairly busy with keeping with other stuff. Sorry!
Reply
:iconnienna--calaelen:
Nienna--Calaelen Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
Which font are you using? :o I find it wonderful!
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Which font are you referring to? The tutorial itself is written in Georgia, and the ones that actually appear on the map are Perigord and Stonehenge.
Reply
:iconnienna--calaelen:
Nienna--Calaelen Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013
Thank you soo much, these are just the one I searched :3
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry for taking so long to reply; I was away for two weeks.
Reply
:iconfayerin:
Fayerin Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
wwwow i really liked this :nod: i might use some tipes for my future project too :tighthug: thank you so much for sharing this.
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem! :D If you ever make anything out of this, don't forget to show me! :dance: I'd love to see it.
Reply
:iconfayerin:
Fayerin Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:nod: i will, but my project still much away for being something yet :( lol
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Keep working on it! :D You will finish it.
Reply
:iconfayerin:
Fayerin Featured By Owner May 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:nod: i will try in my summer break too :P
Reply
:iconjoanne-zeehond:
joanne-zeehond Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the tutorial ^^
It helped me alot in making this one---> [link]

Eventhough it looks far from what you made :XD:
I still had no idea how to go on about it, before I found your tut :D
So thank you again and I love your own end-product :)
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm glad the tutorial was able to help. :D Your map looks quite nice, actually. Great work!
Reply
:iconjoanne-zeehond:
joanne-zeehond Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
it indeed was ^^
And thank you :)
Reply
:iconjohnhenson:
JohnHenson Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What is CS4 now? and is it free?
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
CS4 is Adobe Creative Suite 4, which is long since been outdated. We're now on CS6. :P CS4 is just the one that I have and I haven't got the money to upgrade. And no, it's not free, sadly.
Reply
:iconthe-nutkase:
The-Nutkase Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks so very much for this brilliant tutorial! I have a fantasy story in the works myself, but was afraid to continue because of inconsistencies in towns, landmarks and the like.

This thoroughly helped me out, because I had no idea where to start when it came to drawing a map! I knew the shape... and that's it. xD

But again, thank you! Here's my finished map here: [link]
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad you've found it useful. Your map turned out great! :D
Reply
:iconmilloan:
milloan Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
okay, i am really, really new to photoshop and am wondering what tool you used for the hashlines in the mountains.
Reply
:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The hash lines in the mountain area in the draft is drawn freehand with the brush tool. I have a graphic tablet so I drew all the lines free hand. If you do not have one such thing, you can use the pen tool as well. It'll take longer but it'll work just as well.

But with that said, the tutorial was written targeting an audience that has basic knowledge of Photoshop and its tools, so while it's not impossible to learn how to use Photoshop by working off from this tutorial, it will be rather difficult.
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