So I’m just going to do a mini round-up of fantasy map resources. I researched this quite a bit when I was making my map, pictured here.
My map still isn’t geographically correct. It might change a little or become more detailed, but for now, it suits me. I need to add in scale. Deserts always exist next to mountains and I’ve skipped that, putting them off to the east. The whole of the lands to the east are desert. But it’s a fantasy world and in my head, might honestly be a disc and not globe. I know my heavenly bodies are different than the actual ones. So for now, I’m content.
I made my map in Illustrator and drew a rough version before I did this one. It’s been a constant reference for me as I write. I also have a story bible, a separate Scrivener file for my world. It has pictures and information about my places and characters. Creating the map in Illustrator means it is in vector format and can be resized larger or shrunk down without losing quality. Don’t do your map in Photoshop, do it in Illustrator first.
The articles I consulted when making the map:
It gave me a good overview of what I needed to do. After reading it I went to the Dave Rumsey map collection since it was recommended and spent some time staring at those maps. Whether you are hiring someone or doing your own map, I highly recommend spending some time here. It will help you define what you want your map to look like.
This article is a design tutorial for Illustrator regarding fantasy maps. I’m a designer and it helped me think of things I hadn’t considered. There are several template files with the tutorial to get you started and it’s helpful, though I personally don’t need the little monsters on my map.
Look for a font that is readable and reflects the tone of your story. A font is like a voice, and should be regarded that way.
I’ve seen map generators, they appall me. I think it would be much more fruitful for someone to draw on a napkin than to use one. A map is for you, as a writer. Then it’s for the reader. It’s a graphical reference to help you understand the world you are building. You cannot do that if you don’t record it. If you’re worldbuilding at all, you need a map.
Most print formats will not be able to print your maps in color, or if they do it will be cost-prohibitive. Make sure that the map works well and looks good in black and white or grayscale. Don’t worry about color, you can always add it in if you decide to have it printed.
Have you made any maps for your writing? Do you know an author who has maps you think are cool? Share them with me, I’m interested.