Etrakien reshaped

In an earlier post I presented my Etrakien map that I made after having joined Cartographers guild. As time went by the story of the world had a tendency to outgrow the map in many ways. So I decided to start all over again and make a new one.

Mainly I wanted to expand the world a bit. A big part of the world’s back story is how the two Empires Arnoria and the Etrakien Empire slowly conquered the world until their borders met and the Great War of Tears broke out, a war that in the end brought them both to their near destruction. To make this development plausible I felt that in the old map the Island of Arnor and the central parts of Etrakien was a bit too close, to solve this I needed to expand the area called the Etrakien sea.

A part from that I also wanted the western continent to be bigger. During the war a lot of people emigrated to this western continent to avoid the horrors that war brings with it.  I see this western continent a bit like when America was colonized. There are great plains where small communities have settled in and the state don’t have the same control of its citizens and land here as in the “old” part of the world. Life is in many ways hard and there are foreign creatures and savages to defend against. But at least they are more free then before.

The eastern continent was mainly put in to balance the map. Then I just had to put in some countries as well to justify its existence.

To expand the world I started with my original map as a base and then started to draw on top of that in a new layer in Photoshop. In the picture below you can see the progress. 

This was an easy way to keep the feeling and look from the original map. The western continent is actually partly based on the two bigger western islands but moved to the left. You can clearly see how far I moved them if you look at the island Perlago (marked out with a red circle on the map) that is situated between the two continents.

I’ve imagined the Etrakien world to be the same size as earth. So when I made the map I downloaded a map of earth that I put in a bottom layer in photoshop. This was an easy way to get the right proportions in the map. I also used earth as inspiration when I created the eastern continent. As you can see in the picture below I “stole” the coast of china and Vietnam :).

The whole map kind of slightly resembles earth, which is done by purpose. I believe that this makes the map more convincing because you recognize part of it and will then accept the “wrong” parts more easily.

After having done the whole map I had a black and white map that only included mountains. In this map I also put in the regions where civilizations had emerged. I used this map as the base for the new Etrakien map. In this way I could easily transfer the continents onto a paper background and then start painting it from there.

The map was completely done in photoshop and all the symbols where made by me, except the compass that I got from the Cartographers guilds homepage.

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Etrakien revisited

After having joined the Cartographer’s guild I started on a new version of the Etrakien world. There are probably one or two versions between this version and the one in an earlier post. But they are probably lying forgotten somewhere in a drawer or a box with old stuff on the attic.

Making this map was a big struggle for me. Before this I hadn’t done a complete map in Photoshop so I really had to work things out with trial and error while working. I soon realized that there are some shortcuts you can take and some you can’t.

The mountains for example I tried to do with a pattern in the beginning but I couldn’t make it look any good, I soon realized that patterns where great for some types of terrain and mountains wasn’t one of these. In the end I actually hand draw all of the mountains, I’m still very pleased with the result but I guess that I probably spent nearly half of the total time on the map to finish them.

Another thing I had big problems with was the borders. I think I tried nearly ten different ways of showing the countries on the map. In the end I decided to visualize the countries in different colours, and I think that the end result fits well into the map.

The whole process of learning while working was very time consuming and without all the support I got on my work of process thread at the Cartographer’s guild, the end result never would have been as good as it in the end turned out to be.

After having finished the map I was also honoured to have the map as a featured map on the Cartographer’s guild homepage, and the nice guys over at Profantasy decided to make a style out of it for their Campaign Cartographer 3 program.

So if you want to make a map in the same style just head over to their homepage and have a look at the Annual 2009’s Fantasy Worlds style.

In the end I actually printed the map on a canvas frame, so now I have it on display in my workroom. And I don’t think anyone of my friends understands how much time I’ve put into it and if they did they’d probably think I’m crazy.

The first world map

This is the first world map of the Etrakien world. After having finished the Nordhem map I decided that  I needed a map of the whole world, that would make it easier for me to continue creating the story I’ve started to explore.

As you can see from the map not much is kept from this first version (compare with the picture from my earlier post “My world and my maps”). First of all the complete world map is today much bigger, I’m coming to that in a later post. Secondly I didn’t lika a lot of the names of the countries, so they’ve changed.

Some things are still there though. Like Ankh-Bathor that already here is a major trading city that connects the two sides of the world. The Etrakien Empire is also situated south of the city. Krug and Armadien lies next to each other and a lot of the background story of the world was created at this time.

The map was done on paper and scanned to the computer, it was still some time before I discovered the true art of map making in Photoshop.