Zethykala: A Little Island in FantasyLand
Posted by Doug on September 22, 2009
Reading the post on fantasy cartography over at the D&D Take blog inspired me to try my hand at the art, and without any version of Campaign Cartographer at my disposal, I ended up having to do things the hard way: drawing it by hand with the GIMP.
I made some custom brushes using some little clips of art from Dark Leagues‘s gallery of antique-style maps, and then took a screencap of Mindanao with Google Earth to use as a reference (after distorting it and rotating it). Then, I set to work, using the Free Select tool to trace out areas, then Stroke Path (sounds terrible, I know) to draw the outlines. Then I used those custom brushes to fill in mountains and trees, and voila!
Click to embiggen.
The main island I call Zethykala (IPA: /ˌʒɛθiːˈkɑːlɑː/). As far as scale, I was kind of thinking of 10 pixels = 1 kilometer (or 16 pixels = 1 mile), which means that from the main island, from easternmost point to westernmost point, is 114 kilometers (or 70 miles) across. The greener regions in the map represent arable land, while the brown slash across the middle is a region that was scarred by magic a long time ago, such that very little grows there.
Between creating the custom brushes, figuring out how to draw stuff in the GIMP, and actually drawing, it took me about three hours to make this map. All I need to do now is to add a few towns and roads, and come up with a bunch of names, and the map will be finished. Then I think I’ll go in and write some background material, or something…but that’s all for today.