Evolution of my Maps

I’ve been asked to show some fellow writers my hand drawn maps, so I thought I would post the evolution of The Lowest Realm’s maps.

I started writing TLR about 17 years ago, and at the time I was good at drawing maps, but only on a basic level.

To counter this, I painstakingly used paint with an ordinary mouse to recrate the outline of my maps. I had in my mind that it would look amazing, but in all honesty it was quite crap.

My first attempt at digitising my map

I also made a mockup with terrain for some reason. At the time I thought they were cool.

The Roman numerals indicate that I hadn’t thought of names for regions. A lot of the place names for things are Dutch words as I was learning Dutch at the time. A lot of these names have since changed.

Coloured terrains

When I revisited the work 17 years later, I knew I needed to fix the maps and bring them up to date. I signed up to Inkarnate and once again recreated the maps.

I love the look of Inkarnate, but they are impractical for my book. The bright colours make it look very dark when printed in black and white.

And so I bought Wonderdraft, and dabbled in their software. I like the platform, but wasn’t happy with the look. Plus I couldn’t get the sizing of the assets right.

I think at this point I threw my hands up in despair and said ‘fk this!’

In my world, there are no computers or digital maps, so it made sense to go back to the start and redraw them.

Makeshift light box

To do this, I traced the printed maps to preserve the coastline, using 0.2mm fine liners on high quality art paper.

I liked this a lot, it just needs some edits. This I did in paint.

This was my test piece so I didn’t destroy the good copy.

Here is the Isle Bar’Am. It was almost ready to publish….but still not 100% happy with it. So I’ll be adding some coastlines.

I plan to erase the inside content, and overlay the coastlines onto the edited copy.

Since I am now working on book 2, I needed to expand my world map. I enlarged one of the continents using word and a printer, and pencilled in some basic details. This continent is half a world, so the details will be very basic. I will do zoomed-in higher detailed maps for each area later on.

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