January Map Update: Glorious Madness!

I’m giddy! Why? Becaise it’s time to talk maps. Since I started scheduling at least one hour per day to work on the Tremjara map the progress has been astonishing, so much so that I have to force myself to return to editing (and I actually like editing). Anyway, I’m doing monthly updates and this is my first. SO excited.

Map: CA Hawthorne

Tremjara in early December 2016 before setting goals, but already started on the Key River Region. Map: CA Hawthorne

Okay, enough of that, let’s get to it…

The “Little” Stuff that isn’t so Little
I’m always reviewing what I’ve already done for a couple of reasons. First, experience leads to improved skill and often I see areas I could have done better. In December I backtracked and blended colors better in parts of Forstava and Mythwyll. In Carrdia I deepened the forest colors in the southeast and the Wilder Hills along with enhancing the Granite Highlands.

The second reason to review is sometimes inspiration strikes, as already happened when I enlarged Lake Radiance and created an ice wall in the Frozen Lands. More recently, I made substantial changes to the continent’s east coast.

It was my month of island making.

There a couple of peninsulas that became islands. For some reason they look more natural to me now. Another change, but one long overdue, was to add a tiny island far off the east coast. It will now be the Isle of Kron. For its intended purpose, the old one was far too large. I liked the old one, though, so it’s still there.

Because I have the power! *evil laugh* Ha ha ha…

The new Tri-Islands. Map: CA Hawthorne

The new Tri-Islands. Map: CA Hawthorne

Last, and most beloved, are the changes off the northeast coast. Since first creating Sancthor Island it’s fascinated me and so, over time, I’ve enhanced it. Last year (in one of those moments of hindsight inspiration), I doubled its size. Now, I’ve made it an island group called the Tri-Islands where Sancthor is the biggest. Yes, I know, there are also other islands, but the three main ones are by far the largest.

*I sometimes give locations quirky names. I grew up in East Northport, for instance. Ever climb Mt. Dora (a real place) in Florida? I’ve seen bumper stickers proclaiming people have. No doubt the number of islands in the Tri-Islands will be a running joke.

Anyway, I’m so excited about the Tri-Islands that they’re first on my list to colorize this month (I’ve already started). Second on my list is Primagon in the distant northwest. At that point I’ll be undeniably over halfway on the map.

The Primary Task
Ah yes, the real reason for this project: colorization. My goal for December was to complete the western half of the Key River drainage basin (not including already-completed Carrdia). It didn’t turn out that way.

I completed both the western and eastern halves!

The lower Key River drainage basin. Map: CA Hawthorne

The lower Key River drainage basin. (Note: yet another water color.) Aramon grasslands (north), Rocklands (central), Braithen-Allar (SW), and Sannose (SE). Also: Carrdia (extreme north), Mythwyll (W), and Juka Desert (uncolored to the east). Map: CA Hawthorne

That’s a huge chunk of the continent. There were a number of unexpected challenges, one of which I don’t consider to be completely resolved. I loved how the knife-edged peaks turned out, but remain dissatisfied with the chasms I tried to create. What looks like chasms in zoom looks a bit like giant worms or chromosomes out of zoom. For now, they’re there.

I had more success with the jungles of Braithen-Allar and the grasslands of Sannose. The marshes turned out to be another zoom issue, but only because they too closely mimicked the water’s color. More experimentation is required.

Sigh. Problems!

I love the challenge. Sounds like I’ll be visiting Pinterest to ponder the work of more skilled cartographers. Too, along the way I’ve been experimenting with continent/island borders and am pretty sure which way I’ll go. I’ll update those when colorizing is done.

Other enhancements? I’m considering a massive sinkhole in the Juka Desert. It just has SO many story possibilities. Another I’m certain I’ll make is to add fjords to Ash Wood in Forstava.

For now, there’s the Tri-Islands and then on to Primagon, which is an oasis between frozen islands to the north and volcanoes to the south (great expanses of ash and flowing lava). I simply can’t make a map without some lava somewhere!

Feel free to talk about mapping in the comments. You might be a newbie with questions or a cartographer with insights, it doesn’t matter. It’s all exciting.

And now it’s time for me to shut up and create!

6 Replies to “January Map Update: Glorious Madness!”

  1. Pingback: January Map Update: Glorious Madness! | Christina Anne Hawthorne

  2. That’s terrific! So much patience,you have, young Jedi 🙂

    After learning that I could get a commercial license from them, I ended up using Inkarnate for Raven Thrall (aka Flight of the Ceo San). I only mapped the part of the world that this story takes place in. I will have lots of work expanding it for later, but the thought of mapping out 3-4 more kingdoms and maybe more was a little daunting. LOL.

        • Most fantasy readers adore maps, love the idea of exploring the fanatical place they see depicted. The map is better than a calling card, it’s a shop window promising glamor or the aromas escaping a restaurant. There are a zillion boards on Pinterest devoted to fantasy maps and my blog receives a bump every time I talk about them—especially if my preview includes a picture of one.

          For me, a good map is better than a great cover. The cover isn’t always representative, but the map … it’s a visual representation of the world I’m going to have the opportunity to explore in the story. That’s exciting! I still remember, at 15, opening The Hobbit and seeing the map, and then LOTR … it was like I was given a free ticket to anywhere in the world.

          So, my longwinded point is simply that I’d recommend sharing at least a portion of the map when you blog about the book. You’ll capture people’s imaginations.

          • Excellent advice as always, Christina 🙂 I hadn’t really thought about the finalized map too much in my promotion efforts. I know I did get a bit of interest when I posted about some earlier work on it, so maybe I’ll give it a try on Instagram/Twitter. Haven’t done much blogging on my fiction site except for the occasional book review.

            I appreciate it many times over.

            Hope your books and short stories are coming along nicely. I’m working on a short story myself (about Shira’s parents–as you can imagine, Shira was a handful as a tot!). 🙂

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