13 December 2015

Korachan Atlas Map

So work on the Korachani map for the Atlas Elyden is close to completion. There’s still work to be done with the mountains and some other physical features, but more on that after the map:

Atlas Elyden - Korachan & Hoamm

I’m quite pleased with the map overall though there’s still work to be done. The labels are clear (though I already notice some labels, like the mountains and larger geographical features are too dark, especially compared with the nations), the colours are what I was aiming for (though the actual printed map in the Atlas Elyden will be missing the weathered look to make printing easier) and the overall style is what I was aiming for. One down, about 100 left to go… To give you an idea of what that means: this map alone ended up with me adding over 150 new entries to the Encyclopaedia Elyden. Imagine what the whole Atlas will add to the Encyclopaedia!

I’ve come up with a symbol-based resource key that’s going to be used across the Atlas, which explains why there isn’t a key in this map – the complete Atlas will have a 2-page spread at the beginning of the Atlas detailing the key, labels and other details so they don’t need repeating across all the maps thereafter. In a nutshell I’ve come up with a few dozen symbols pertaining to resources and industries – pickaxe for mining, fish for fishing, grain for farming, etc.  think most are pretty intuitive, though some, though want of better design, might not be. One particular symbol I’m having trouble with is the symbol for dross (a slurry-like food that’s a staple amongst the lower classes and slaves of most nations, made from everything you can think of – discarded veg & fruit, insects, grizzle & animal fat, human & animal corpses, and other things), which is a bowl. Hopefully its good enough as I really can’t think of anything else to use as a symbol.

Map symbols

There’s various roads and routes – main roads, roads, pilgrimages (the Shadow March) and sea routes. I was thinking of adding distances to the sea routes (which I can’t do with the land routes, due to there being so many labels!), but I’m not sure they’re necessary in this map (other than for my own ease of reference when writing fiction based in those areas)

This particular map will be presented in landscape orientation, with each individual leaf sized at A4 (for a total size of A3). Once all the maps are done I’ll have to add a gutter (3mm per page half) to make it easier to read the map (something I notice most modern atlases seem to ignore), which is why the border on the top and bottom of the page are larger than the left and right.

The page borders have not only the standard graticules and degrees but also an alphanumerical grid (A1, B2, C3 etc.) which will be used for the index in the back of the Atlas, listing every entry alphabetically. I'm going to start work on that now that I've finished this map, to give me an idea of hiw long the index will be. I'll post that once i'm ready with it.

I also added a ‘focus’ the map. In this case the focus is Korachan and Hoamm, so I faded all other territories by greying them out, as well as their labels and keys. I’m not sure if that comes across well in the finished product – any feedback on this, or anything else in general?

Obviously this leaves me with mountains and other geological features (marshlands, deserts, salt pans, reefs etc.). The mountains, as always, are giving me a hassle as I just cannot settle on a style that I like and feel fits in with atlas style & time period I’m aiming for. I like coloured topography maps but fear they are too ‘modern’ for the relative time period I’m aiming for (1880 – 1900), which leaves me with my nemesis – the hairy caterpillar ridges, which are very time-consuming. Though if I spent as much time drawing them as I spent complaining about them I’d probably have done them by now!

#Atlaselyden, #Encyclopaediaelyden, #Korachan, #Fantasy cartography, #Elyden

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