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Story-Scribbling Sunday – October 21, 2012: Messing Around with Maps

October 21, 2012

NaNoWriMo is approaching. “Goblins” is still not finished, and I’m beginning to think it won’t be finished before November, although I’m so ridiculously close. I’m just, once again, lacking the motivation. And the time. The NaNo forums, coming to life again as everyone gets ready for the novelling madness, are far too distracting, and I must cook and freeze ridiculous amounts of everything so I’ll have more time to write in November… and I must work on my map.

I’ve decided to “rebel” a bit this year and continue the story I started for Camp NaNo, “The Legend of Larin and Liria” – except that the title has now changed to “The Bramble Prince”. It is a Kivailo World story like “Goblins” is… but “Goblins” is set in present time, more or less (2004 to 2008), and in just four different places, so I didn’t need a map.

“The Bramble Prince”, however, is set some time around 1000 A.D. (I haven’t decided on the exact years) and the characters are constantly travelling around Joltehay Kiwylo, so a map will be very necessary. And a better map than the scribbled one I was using for Camp NaNo.

Which means I have a lot of work ahead of me. Much has changed since I made the first map of Joltehay Kiwylo…

A previously-posted picture of the first map on the left, and the newer map on the right. I think that newer version is from 2006 – that was when I bought myself a new computer, and my first scanner… I scanned in my newest river map and spent many hours redrawing it, bit by bit, in MS Paint… and then I lost that file! Luckily, not before I had printed it out! So that print pictured above was the map I’ve been working from for the last six years – copying it and scribbling around on it with pencils and pens, putting in principality borders, towns, roads, areas in which different dialects are spoken… always trying to make things make a little more sense, because as you can see, in that first map, the borders (drawn in red) are all over the place, instead of following the rivers, which would make a lot more sense.

Only I’ve never managed to make a map that contains all these different bits of information, and it gets a bit old if you constantly have to refer to three different maps. So I finally scanned in the newer river map again and got to work.

My first step was to save it as a 16 colour bitmap, to get rid of the grainy-ness.

And then colouring it:

After occasional badly-aimed clicks, the map looked like this:

But bit by bit, the bodies of water turned blue:

When I was done with this step, the map looked almost the same as what I’d started with, except a lot neater and less grainy/smudged.

The next step, now, is adding the borders. I’m still not entirely sure what’s the best way to do this. Right now, I’m simply adding the ones that follow the rivers.

Which is a lot of work, again.

I’m still not sure what I’ll do about the borders that don’t follow the rivers, but I’ll decide that when I get to it… there are still plenty of rivers to trace first.

It does bother me that the map fills a sheet of paper so neatly, and the main rivers both run straight north-to-south,  but there’s little I can do about that now – I’ve gotten far too used to Joltehay Kiwylo being the shape it is (and I was about 13 or 14 when I drew the first map).

Although, in about 1500 years of history, there’s plenty of time for adding and losing territory, so it probably wasn’t this shape/size all the time… and now I’ll probably spend a few more hours drawing half a dozen maps of Joltehay Kiwylo at different points in time…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2012 21:07

    Oh, your map is pretty! So clean and organized. Maps always make me want to return to what little worldbuilding I managed here and there when I was in school. Sooner or later I will…

    How long did that take you in Paint though? It looks like you did a lot of unnecessary extra work, but I might be mistaken. Still, Paint is horrible compared to GIMP (which is free!) or Photoshop. 😛

    • October 22, 2012 21:22

      I didn’t check the time – not nearly as long as the first time round, when I deleted and re-drew it bit by bit.
      My father is always pushing me to get some other program, but… I suppose I’m too lazy to learn my way around a new program.

  2. October 27, 2012 04:38

    I wanted to be a cartographer when I was little. By the time I was in college, I realized I was born in the wrong century for that. Don’t get me wrong – I love that you can draw maps on computers now. But I long for those days of doing them all by hand. Sigh. Those were the days. So interesting. I look forward to seeing how your maps progress. Keep us posted, please!

    • October 27, 2012 09:58

      I’ll write another post about it tomorrow – hopefully, it’ll be mostly finished by then.
      Cartographer in the age of hand-drawn maps would have been a cool job.

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