The inkwash map

I have finally finished off a new map to share with everyone!

The inky islands

This is entire ink and ink washes, applied with both pens and brushes. It’s mostly black ink, with a bit of brick red for those cryptic labels.

These mountains are in a new style, too. Their shapes are more blocky and angular, and I provided all the relief with ink wash rather than hatching. The coastline also departs from my previous maps, where I favored a double line with a thicker landward line. Here, the line is no different from any other, but I drew in some icons for breakers and focused the washes on the water side of the line.


The labels have a sort of funny procedural story to them. They don’t consist of much; simply a few random scribbles with suggestions of ascenders, descenders, and diacritics. I always intended to do something tiny and random rather than making precise characters. What’s funny is that I let this map sit forΒ months between when I finished with the black ink and when I sat down for the quarter hour it took to put in the labeling. In all previous cases, I’ve had something very careful in mind with my labels; this time, I went in wanting to scribble randomly on my map. In ink, that scribbling becomes permanent. (I can scrape off ink with an x-acto knife, but that leaves some slight damage on the paper and isn’t feasible on a large scale.) Eventually, I just had to bite the bullet and see what came out the other side of the process.

Then I could call the map done.

6 thoughts on “The inkwash map”

  1. Let me get this straight. . . you make fantasy maps for fun, as a hobby to relax from putting ships into space.

    Sir, you are the most interesting man in the world.

    On a related note, would you be interested in opening for commissions? I’m about 80% done with a fantasy novel that will never publish, and the person I had draw up my map used -triangles- for mountains. Somehow, although no one’s gotten it yet, I feel like you will understand why I was appalled by that. -Triangles-. Really.

    Anyway, if you do it for fun already, why not get paid? πŸ™‚ There wouldn’t be any time constraints, and only very few artistic ones, if any.

    P.S. I just found this blog, and it is fascinating. Subscribed via RSS.

  2. Well, *I* don’t personally put the ships in space…but yes, I’m a spacecraft engineer by day and one of the things I do for fun at home is draw increasingly elaborate sci-fi/fantasy maps. πŸ™‚

    Selling my maps or producing some on commission are things that I have been thinking about lately, yes. I would be open to that discussion.

    You know, I could dig up some very old doodles with triangles for mountains. One has to start somewhere!

    ^ / ^
    / /^
    ^ ^ /

  3. Oh, I agree. I used triangles on my sketch and notes. They’re effective in getting the idea across and easy to do. But when they handed me a print and a flashdrive and said, “It’s done. That’ll be $116.25” I was a little put off. And making them more artistically pleasing was somehow considered ‘overtime’ because they’d already spent 8 hours. More than that was extra per hour. Anyway, I’m looking to replace it.

    Also, the book I’m writing that the map is for has yet to be read by anyone, unfortunately. If you read fantasy, you may like it. It’s free. Only 80% finished, but at 55,000 words it’s take some time to get through. Just a suggestion if you’re want for reading material that doesn’t have a bibliography. Also, elves and dragons and magic and rite-of-passage. πŸ™‚

    My next few paychecks are going straight to paying down my student debt, but early November I should have some cash for a commission. Would you be okay with opening talks long before I can show any $$$? I can understand if not.

  4. This is a conversation that should not happen in comments. I’ll send you an email; you’ll have to be patient, though, as I’m juggling a lot of things right now.

  5. No problem. Really though, I’m not working with any time constraints. πŸ™‚ I patiently await your email (I don’t think I missed it in the junk that bombards my account).

    Also, I particularly loved your explanation of how Unobtainium is obviously a room-temperature superconductor in ‘Avatar’. It was fascinating, and I learned a lot about things I thought a already knew a lot about. The best kind of learning!

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