Coloring Your Map Part 3 (Final, for now )

I colored my map shortly after my video, but a lot happened, you know what I’m talking about. It’s strange to think that when I wrote part 1 on map making, the world was normal(-ish). Since COVID-19, I spent more time in my writing cave, writing and editing. Every now and then I get on my Xbox and play Destiny 2 for some Gambit Prime. But other than that, I haven’t done any reading, but I did a swell job having a consistent schedule…sleeping until 6 or 7 a.m.

Let’s get back to focusing on the beauty of coloring your maps, and some feedback I got from my first video. In my recent video Coloring Your Map. I mentioned that a friend found it interesting that I did not suggest using your hand-drawn map for making a globe/planet.

You have to be extra careful about hand drawn maps when you’re using world making software.

Below is my map as a globe, with no changes. Straight out of my scanner.

Software used: Gplates

Below is my map with changes.

Since Asylum is the sister planet of Earth. (More on it will be revealed in The Hunted Prince and future videos) I had to take into consideration the body of water for my planet. If your world is more water than land and is focused on islands, you wouldn’t want any world making software to make it look like there’s a puddle of water. But a map with no exaggeration of water would be perfect for showing the important islands that will feed the story that your character/hero/protagonist/antagonist will travel.

Blue Green Brown. Rinse and repeat.

The first thing you’re going to do is choose one shade of the three and stick with that shade. It doesn’t’ matter if you’re coloring digitally or with color pencils. Try not to steer too far in choosing a high contrasting blue with a pale one. Have a safe zone, like choosing your colors first, will help you best. If you look at other people’s maps, you can see they have a feel to it. Some people use little colors, no detail, more warm colors, or cool colors.

Set the base and build on top of it, carefully.

I say carefully because unless you are digitally coloring your map, there is no back button to markers and such. (But would have already followed my other advice and made many copies of your map, right?)

Probably add green first when drawing on digital.

When I first colored my map, I drew continent brown and figured I can add the green over it since the terrain makes up the landmass, but it didn’t work for me. It looked like I was adding green spider legs over the land.

So I did it in reverse, used darer tone colors instead. This was magnificent for me because my symbols were extremely helpful in adding my dry climates. My goal was to make my world appear like it was being viewed from space. Color was the biggest factor here. We can barely see a mountain of Earth from space, and the ones that do look like a line of raisins.

The rest is up to your skill but, most importantly, your goal.

Make your map work for you, mine will be in videos, my books, trailers, etc. I can also now focus on smaller regions, kingdoms, cities, towns. Yay! But that is for another project. It’s time to close this Map blog journey until I work on a new one. A big thank you for everyone who has commented, liked, and shared. I hope this had helped you, inspired you, or gave you the kick to get to work.

Stay creative.

Asylum, the sister planet of Earth.

Logos for your Maps Part 2

Perhaps I missed the target. Maybe creating a map was what every fantasy writer did before they wrote their draft. But if you were like me and didn’t, it was an honest mistake on our part, wasn’t it?

A bit of a back story. I  outlined The Hunted Prince. As someone who writes by the seat of her pants, this was fairly easy and enjoyable. But I ran into a problem. I was stuck when it came to writing it. Me,  a pantser! One of those reasons was because I haven’t properly introduced the Asylum world in Black Wings. (Details are found in my prologue while Volume 2 mentions it but that’s it)

I got to chapter three, and still felt a little lost. It’s not like I didn’t know my setting! Asylum is the sister world of Earth. It’s people live like in the medieval times, with some influences on Earth’s culture through the ages. Mythical creatures and dragons roam the world, and the main story follows my protagonist,  a vampire prince.  But that was still a broad idea. I haven’t grounded my chunk into molding clay.

This is where I decided, the heck with it. Back to world-building, back to reading European, Asian, and Native American lore. In doing so, I got excited but not for the writing part. Rather for my world. I outlined my map, wrote the cities, villages, and kingdoms my protagonist will visit. Once I finished, I wrote my first draft at 50,000+ words in less than a week. This was a surprising speed for me, considering it took me almost a month to write a 50,000  word draft of Lola.

Roll up your sleeves, it’s time to make your map.

One thing to remember about building your map is, what exactly is the purpose? Mine was to convert it into a globe and place it on the first few pages of The Hunted Prince. Now it’s my blueprint for what will be (though I didn’t plan it to be) a trilogy.  

If you wrote your world on 8 x 11 paper like I did, I wouldn’t conclude that your map is ready. For example, my map from my first blog post looks nice, but I spread them out when I copied it for Adobe Photoshop. Unless you wrote your continents really tiny, you could fit your world nicely, but it will be hard to write down your notes.

Everything I know about my world was in my head, so creating it wasn’t difficult. If you already know where your hero, heroine, or villain are in the first chapter, I suggest you start there. Remember, conflict drives a story forward, do not make your world a walk in the park, make it dangerous.

Molding clay until you are ready.

It’s cool to have a map to show around, but I suggest not coloring it or spend hours drawing every mountain. Instead, make up your own logos, and write the names of every forest, town, city, kingdom, etc. Don’t beat yourself up for how you drew the logo. A colorful map will not help you move your story forward, but the details and logo will.  

Here is the video showing what I did with my map from my part 1 blog.  Below you will find a link to download the symbols I used. They are in PNG format so they can be transparent and blend over your maps nicely. On my part 3 blog, I should have finished outlining the third book of my trilogy.

I look forward to sharing it in hopes it will inspire you.  

Writing and Mapping – Building your Fantasy World Part 1

Every writer should know that the more your research, the more realistic and accurate your story will become. I’m going to jump on the assumption wagon and conclude that you already know that and are, therefore, practicing on that knowledge.

When I first designed my world Osois, for Black Wings, I wasn’t sweating it. (This is a world I won’t be writing about for a while) but for the sake of The Birth, I had to know what it was, and who the Lenur are. As I’m working on Volume 3 The Deceit, I’m also working on a side story, The Hunted Prince. This is where I cannot evade world-building. My previous protagonist live on  Earth 80 years from now. (Personally, I don’t believe technology would improve drastically considering global warming and the fact that everyone still drives on gas)

In The Hunted Prince, Ryth is in the Dragon world, known by everyone (except the Dragons) as Asylum. I wrote the first 10,000 words of The Hunted Prince while I was writing Lola until I came to a screeching stop.

I need a map.

Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t pay much attention during grade school. I spent it drawing and writing my stories during lecture. (Oh, how I wish I paid more attention now.) Luckily I took World Geography in college because I absolutely fell in love with it. I learned about its rich cultures, rough terrains, dry and wet seasons, and how war affects them both at a micro and macro level. I was so into it that I impressed my math teacher because I was casually talking about Sri Lanka and the historical conflicts in that region.

But no mandatory class of World Geography would prepare me for creating the world map of Asylum. In its defense, I started liking maps but creating them? That’s a different story. I got a little scared. Scared because my senpai Tolkien did it so effectively that I figured. “Hah, I’ll never be that good, so why try?” But my fellow fantasy writers, you can only be as good as your abilities and improve.

Concerning Maps

If you’re reading this. Scoffing. Knowing you will NOT be creating maps because your attention to detail is so great, visual representation and nitpicking every single little thing like you’re a Dungeons and Dragons master is a waste of time. I congratulate you. But you might also be missing out on seeing your map on your wall.

I’m a visual learner. Tell me how something can be done, and I can’t process it well, show me, and I’ll do a lot better. This is why I’m a self-taught artist, but I am no Kim Jung Gi.  (I did take a mandatory drawing 101 class, but I was not paying attention then too.) Now I’m searching the web, geeking out at how other people create maps/

So, should you draw a map?

After I finished Lola, I went back to The Hunted Prince and resumed my tale of the second-born prince of a tyrant ruled kingdom. Thing is, in my mind, I knew where in the world the kingdom rests in Asylum, but what is it surrounded by? What kind of seasons does it have? Here is a sketch of my first map.

A picture containing rain

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Note: This map is subject to change, be added, or moved around.

Unlike Osois and it’s 9 years of winter. Asylum shares the same seasons and has the same axis tilt of 23.5 degrees as Earth. My challenge is the new terrain, are the plates moving? How is the current and wind shifts affecting this lovely world? I’ll write more on that on my part 2 post. For now, let’s have you create a map!

Rice and Beans

If you want to create a new map, there are many ways you can start. One of my recommendations is to work on it without adding the regions you do want to add. Create your world then add a few changes as you move the rice, beans, around.

When I created Osois, I used beans. It’s great if you want to add roundness and curves, but I recommend adding rice. I did that with Asylum, and it was much more comfortable moving the ‘land’ around.

If you want to get creative, add both beans and rice, or other tiny particles! (just as long as they’re not oily)

Once I drew my map, I named a  forest, the mountains following after, and after that, everything became a blur. I wrote 30,000+ words in less than a week because I was able to create the next step without pausing to think about what Ryth is facing, or what ordeals neighboring countries are facing.

Note: All characters and scenes were planned before I created the map.

The end result for me was that I wore in shorter time than I did with Lola by glancing over the kingdoms, villages, lands, and borders. And I stopped depending on my outline and pantsed my way through. This is why I love first drafts, you can get messy and get everything out of your head so can come back and think of it critically.

For great map-making advice on YouTube. I recommend Edgar’s channel Artifexian! Mind you, Edgar breaks down map making, world-building like a pro! He has a flood of knowledge, so I advise you to listen first, then start practicing what he’s saying.

I’m waiting for the charger of my drawing tablet to come in the mail. (I lost it when I moved) After that I will show you the progress of my completed map of Asylum.

I will see you for part 2!