I thought it might be interesting to track the evolution of my world map as it matures.

This is my original map – sketched out on a piece of paper in a Travelodge in deepest Devon in the autumn of 2017. I had no names or anything at this point – and a map is always a good place to start.

I wanted something vaguely analogous to Europe – on that sort of scale. To add a bit of difference I thought it might be interesting to base it in the southern hemisphere – so the hot, dry kingdoms are in the north, and the icy wastes in the south. I also wanted an east/west split, but keep this on the regular orientation. So the standard kingdoms are all in the west, and the exotic, unknown kingdoms in the east are separated by some sort of physical barrier – which is where the concept of the Spine mountains came from (I liked Worlds Edge mountains – but Games Workshop beat me to that) (or at least did until they blew the Old World up).

These were my first few rough sketches in an A4 pad. Basing the size on Europe – I thought I’d start by mapping countries to existing european ones (just to give a rough idea to grow from). I also wanted to maybe introduce some eastern practices (but not aesthetic) into each kingdom (e.g. ancestor worship from China).

I took a version of the rough drawn map and sketched the outline on some better paper in black ink.

My next step was to add some names. I knew these would be changing, so didn’t want to hand write them on the map. As a quick solution I scanned the map and added text layers in Photoshop. I also added some basic colour – it’s crappy, but it was just to start to get a feel for what might exist in the world.

World Map Version 0.1

After deciding I wanted a monochrome kind of website (based on the Android app I was developing) – the garish colours had to go – so I flipped it to black and white and made it more grainy (in Lightroom).

I then started fleshing out the kingdoms and back story a bit. The map had to start changing – I wanted to push Achshara to the edge, and open up more space in the centre. Also switch Pavia and Samatra around a bit.

I needed some map making software really. As I’ve got a Mac – the only real choice was Inkarnate. I have to say it works great – was a bit slow to load, but then fast once it was running, and super easy to use.

This is just what I’ve managed this morning in an hour while eating my breakfast before going to work. Needs a lot more work obviously – but so far so great.

And some more refinement – moving the southern belt down more and adding more features. I think I probably need to expand the land mass of the central kingdoms more – make the southern sea smaller, but that’s probably good enough to support moving the world building onwards for now I think. So much to do…

And, zooming in,  an early map of the area around Garretts Gowt (Balcian Town) for the first game I started developing

My Early Maps