Thursday, December 13, 2012

Illustration Friday - Explore

Explore In the course of illustrating this topic, I discovered and explored a whole new world that I had no idea existed: fantasy map making. Just Google "fantasy maps" to see an incredible variety. This simple map took hours to do, several of which were spent perusing the many online resources, such as Cartographer's Guild.  That's where I found a link to a tutorial on creating a realistic coastline. And all those hills and mountains, trees and the couple of lakes – made with free Photoshop brushes downloaded from Deviant Art.  Now, the castle and the ruin are my own handiwork, created from photos and reduced to icon size.  The map "paper" is from Lost and Taken which offers a wonderful selection of textures, also for free.  The distressing brushes used on the map were downloaded a few years ago, so I no longer know their origin, but they are so useful.

The rest of the composition was done a bit hurriedly since time was running out.  The mountain scenery as well as the binoculars and the compass were found on stock.xchng, my favorite hunting ground for free photos. I used Topaz Simplify filters on the mountain photo with a warming Photo Filter layer to bring the tone more in line with the map.  The compass and binoculars were simply cut out from their background, with a Find Edges filter on a duplicated layer above, set to Multiply.

I try to use my Illustration Friday submissions to learn and do something different each time. Making a map certainly was that!


  1. Love it! I just added stock.xchng to my favorites based on your recommendation.

  2. Really interesting Julia, this has such an interesting feel to it. Thanks for all the info too, Happy Holidays.