Tag Archives: world map

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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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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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

Slaver’s Bay

Today, the cities of the Slavers. If you’re following the TV series then you might be wondering why this part of the world merits a map all to itself, but all will become clear….

Official Slaver's Bay map for Game of Thrones

Slaver’s Bay, © George RR Martin 2012, used with permission

This is the second map with detail illustrations of the different cities. Continue reading

The Free Cities

The Free Cities map for Game of Thrones

The Free Cities, © George RR Martin, used with permission

Today we’re travelling to the Narrow Sea and visiting the city states of Lys, Pentos, Myr and Braavos.

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Official World Map of A Song of Ice and Fire

Last year I was commissioned by Random House to create 12 24″ by 36″ maps of the world of A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. It was a dream commission for me. I originally read the books in college and, like so many others, was absorbed by the rich world. The lack of good maps bothered me, but I assumed that some day they would be created. I never expected I’d be the one to do it.

The Official World map for Game of Thrones

The Known World from Westeros to far Asshai, © George RR Martin, 2012 used with permission.

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Lands of Ice and Fire Video from Random House

I ran across this video from Random House the other day. It’s the best preview I’ve seen out there of the maps I illustrated of the world of Game of Thrones.

Also, everything should be narrated by this guy. He could make the opening of the humblest letter sound Epic.

The World of Ilkor: Dark Rising

fantasy map of the continent of Caledon for the browser based MMORPG Ilkor: Dark Rising

In 2011 I was commissioned to create a map of the world of Ilkor for the browser game Ilkor: Dark Rising. The brief was to use a style inspired by the classic Middle Earth maps. Recently GAD Games have released a few of the detail views that I did for them so I get to show them off! I’ll have to wait a little for the full world map to be released, but for now, here’s the detail views: Continue reading

How to Draw Grassland

Grasslands are tricky to map. They’re large empty open expanses. But if you just flood fill an area with light green it’ll stand out like a sore thumb against your beautifully rendered mountains and lovingly painted rivers and forests. The colour is tough too – you want it to be a light green without being fluorescent.

How to draw grassland
I’ve found that the following works well for grasslands: Continue reading