Old World Maps

Old World Style Maps

Map of CothelIt took a bit of time, but I finished my first old world style map! It shows far more detail of Cothel than my original maps and I actually had a lot of fun making it (aside from all the bloody trees). Everything is hand-drawn, from the trees to the border lines, to the compass rose. My aim was to generate something that looked authentic and old. In the process, I found quite a few maps on-line to use as references. My favorite map site is Old Maps Online. It lets you browse through maps that correspond to an area on a current world map.

In the process of creating this map (which is 20″x16″ in size) I really learned a lot. I wanted to have the underlying parchment appearance come through to overlays or what I intend to be ink washes. I scrapped more than one layer and went back to rework entire effects several times. But I think I have the process down now and hope to be able to do the next map in perhaps half the time this one took.

Another thing I learned is that old maps really did have a lot of bright colors in them. Initially, I felt reluctant to use anything too bright (and I did mute quite my map a bit to give it a faded and used effect). However, many of the reference maps I examined actually had some neonish coloring to them.

I have prints on order and will have them available with boards and bags for Planet Comicon at the end of the month. I also have mailing tubes on order and will make the map available for order on-line as well.

Map of the Sea of TetIn addition to the old world style map of Cothel, I have produced a 20″x16″ version of my large world map. I formatted it down to size and ordered prints that I will sell at Comicon and on-line. This one should be easier to read than my 8.5″x11″ copies.

What’s Next?

Well, now that I am done with crunch time for Planet Comicon, I will get back to writing more. The time I spent on the map did eat into my writing time a little too much. The next map should hopefully take less seat time, but I will stretch out the actual drawing time to about the same length so I am not single focused on the task.

I also need to get back to purging things for my #Minimalism2017 challenge. I put a lot of the “going through things” on hold to draw the map. Now I can get back into my closet and deal with a few boxes of items.

And lastly for this post, find some time to do some hiking. The weather is getting nice and I’m itching to do some camping and put in some miles on the trails. Yesterday my FitBitĀ told me I had traveled a lifetime of 2,400 miles while carrying it. The gave me the Monarch Migration badge, which made me think about how many miles I have actually walked in my lifetime before having the FitBit. A big factor as a kid was that I had a paper route. So roughly 4 miles a day, 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year, for 4 years or so comes out as just under 5k miles. My feet have done a lot of walking and that doesn’t include the several miles a day walking to and from school for a couple of years.

Minimalism — 2017 Challenge Update

Minimalism 2017 Challenge

Earlier this year, I set a minimalism challenge for myself, get rid of 2017 items in the year 2017. There are a number of rules I set for myself. So far, I am just a little behind my target (36 items as of Sunday). I have managed to get rid of 356 items ranging from CDs, to decorative items, to school notes, to DVDs.

At first, I found it exciting, the challenge was new and thrilling. I managed to get rid of quite a few items in those first few days. Then as I started working through a backlog of stuff, it became a little daunting to process folders with hundreds of pages of notes (and only count the whole folder as a single item). However, I am now into something of a groove and IĀ have been able to generally keep steady progress each week, moving through parts of the house and collections of belongings.

Have I found it hard to get rid of things?

To be honest, not really. I have never been overly connected to physical things. But, even still, I did amass a fair amount of stuff over the years (just not an overwhelming amount). For the most part, I am really just cleaning and organizing with the question my wife keeps asking: Do I want to pay someone to move that? The answer for the most part tends to be no.

The real benefit has been that I have found a number of items I forgot I even had. Add in the fact that I have cleared space on shelves, and now I can even display those things.

In Progress map of CothelThis week left me a little behind for a couple of reasons. First, I spend some time mudding a ceiling in the bathroom (we are removing the popcorn and making the ceilings flat). Second, I worked on a map. Here is a bit of a preview. I have more mountains to add in, a lot more cities to draw, not to mention forests, marshes, and other details. I had a few redo’s when I first started working on this project. However, as with the getting rid of things, I think I am now finding my groove. When the map is done, it will be 16″x20″ and if all goes well, I hope to have prints available at Planet Comicon.

Maps – I love them

I have always loved maps. Simple maps, complex maps, old maps, maps of all types. To me, they are windows into the world. They add dimension and life. They are the picture that is worth the thousand words.

I remember as a kid, I would take prices of paper, crinkle them up, and then soak the paper in tea to give it an aged look. I’d draw paths and trails, all leading to buried treasure. I was certain one day I could find a brilliant map leading to a sunken galleon and recover chests of gold. (Perhaps I watch Goonies one too many times.)

Map of IstaI have been working on the map for my world for years. I loved the idea of exploring the lands in my mind and discovering things (or even planting buried treasure) in different locations. But even more importantly, it helps me to understand the environment where my characters are living.

Sometimes accidental landmasses or coastlines turn into real gems, leaving a country with a defining characteristic. Knowing the land helps to define the people of a country and that gives me a better mental image of what my characters have to deal with.

As a teaser for Book 5 (Father’s Legacy), I’ve included one of the maps that will be included with the book.

Writers: Where are we?

Map of MidlandI get a lot of positive comments about my maps and while I do enjoy making things my readers really like, I must confess that my maps are as much for me as they are for my readers.

When I want to know how long it will take Stephenie, Henton, and Kas to travel to the next city, I can pull up the map and measure the distance. When I want to describe the terrain, I can look at the map and get an idea if the land would be rocky or swampy based upon the features I have drawn. When I want to know if my beloved characters are traveling through hostile lands, I can look at the borders and get an idea for what kind of political issues might be a factor.

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