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How to Illustrate a Fantasy Map - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
How to Illustrate a Fantasy Map
Here's an excellent post about making a fantasy map for a book.  Lovely job of describing the illustrative process.

My maps tend to look a lot like the author's sketch.  I don't do them very often, because I'm not an artist, but sometimes I do.  And when I do, they're detailed and carefully thought out.

If I'm thinking on a large scale, I am thinking about the biomes of a continent or the continents of a planet.  If I look at someone else's map, then that's also what catches my attention first.  I look for signs of plate tectonics, ocean and air currents, weathering, that sort of thing.  This is what lends verisimilitude to a map: it "looks right" when people see it.  Of course, for a world with different underlying laws, sometimes the map winds up very different.  But usually those are the rules.

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