Category Archives: World Map

Simple Labeling

How to label a map
Eric Quigley asked about labeling recently and that prompted me to think a little about how I actually go about labeling a map. Often it’s the last thing to get done, but it’s also the most important. A map without labels is just a pretty picture, it’s not useful. So, it’s worth taking some care getting labels right.

This is a photoshop tutorial, but these techniques are almost identical in Gimp.

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How to use a map for worldbuilding

Worldbuilding By Map

This article was originally written for Fictorians.com and was pitched at people building their own worlds for novel writing, but the general process should be useful for a broad variety of world builders.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now.

A map shouldn’t be pretty.

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Heroes of the Jade Oath

It’s always a little daunting to take on a brand new style of map. When Steve Russell asked for an map inspired by the Orient for Heroes of the Jade Oath I took it on with some trepidation. After a ton of experimenting with textures, brushes and line-styles I came up with a version I was happy with, and this is the result!

Lands of the Jade Oath map

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Journeys – the lifelines of Westeros

The last map from the Lands of Ice and Fire is the map of Journeys – all the paths taken by the characters in the novels of A Song of Ice and Fire (up to the end of Dances with Dragons). This map contains spoilers, so don’t look too carefully if you’ve not read to the end of A Dance With Dragons.

Journeys map of the character routes for Game of Thrones

Journeys, © George RR Martin 2012, used with permission

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The Official Map of Westeros

Westeros map for Game of Thrones

Westeros, © George RR Martin, 2012, used with permission

Westeros is the beating heart of A Song of Ice and Fire. In this map Westeros gets its own official map in the form of a 3 foot by 2 foot poster. Continue reading

Using Mountains to Define the Scale

Defining Scale using Mountains

I’ve been asked a lot about how to depict different scales recently. The question is – how do you tell the viewer of one map that they’re looking at a zoomed in region of a small area, and on another map convince the viewer that they’re looking at a large area, zoomed out. The easiest cue for the viewer is mountain ranges. These are the feature that’s different enough at different scales that they can act as a defacto scale-bar.

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The Dothraki Sea

Dothraki Sea map for Game of Thrones

The Dothraki Sea, © George RR Martin, used with permission

Today, the Dothraki Sea – home to the horse lords who destroy everything in their path. These tribes define a large part of the early books, offering a glimpse into a totally different culture from Westeros. Daenerys is brutally inducted into their ranks to help buy and army, and transforms to become a Khaleesi in her own right. Continue reading

The East

The East map for Game of Thrones

The East, © George RR Martin 2012, used with permission

Today we visit the trackless East – land of mystery, off the edge of the known world.

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The West

Map of the West for George RR Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire, detailing Westeros, the Summer Isles, the free cities and the Narrow Sea

The West, © George RR Martin 2012, used with permission

The map folio contains 3 vertical maps that together cover the whole world. We’ve already seen the map of Central Essos. This map picks up the west of the Rhoyne. and details Westeros, The Summer Isles and the Free Cities. Continue reading