I wanted to make a better map for book 1 than my scruffy hand-drawn thing. So I did.
But I didn’t do it alone.
A little while ago, one of my friends linked me this tutorial from the Cartographer’s Guild. I don’t remember who linked it or when, but I saved the .pdf and promptly ran off to do other things, not having the time to play around with it or the compelling need to use it just yet.
Recently though, since I’ve decided to self-publish — and since the ‘date’ for that, i.e. whenever the cover art is done, is swiftly approaching — I realized I had that compelling need. I’ve never been good with art programs; Photoshop scares me and I always seem to end up doing my Paint things pixel-by-pixel because my aim with the mouse is terrible and I can’t draw a straight line to save my life. The idea of trying to use this GIMP 2 program to make something that actually looked nice was kind of intimidating, especially once I cracked the program open to see all the weird options and started reading through the tutorial.
Two days later, I have that picture up above. It started off as a hand-copied and modified part of this here:
Mind you, I don’t dislike the hand-drawn map, and I’ll be using it as a base when I start work on the Book 2 map, but a lot of it is out-of-date: Illane is too big, Wyndon and the Forest of Mists are too small, et cetera. Plus it’s just too shabby to be professional.
The tutorial was great, though. Generally easy to follow even for someone who had never used the program or anything like it and had no idea what the tools were supposed to do. My map isn’t as good as the tutorial’s sample image because I fumbled a few things and couldn’t figure out how to correct them, but between the tutorial and the GIMP online documentation, even my complete lack of skills managed to make something decent.
Definitely recommended for any novice mapmaker.