This is my project - making the map of Velantia for my book set A'mara Dawn (I'm already realizing this is going to be a 2-3 novella set.) - about the very beginning of the A'mara.
Last time, I showed you how I start getting the 3D effect for my map with texture, beveling and shading.
Today, I'm doing the mountains including that pesky volcano which blows its guts out around 500 BTCE.
- I create a new top layer called "mountains" and make sure it's selected.
- Next, I switch to a more solid brush, choose black or dark brown/gray... I have recently been choosing a lower opacity - 40% is what I've used this time - to keep the mountains from sticking out too badly.
- I draw a ridge across where my range it and give it some "legs" here and there to look like a mountain top-down. I may have a mountain all on its own, but those are relatively unusual in nature except for some volcanoes. As such, my volcano is on its own in the eastern part of my land and gets a circle at the top for the crater. I don't want it too big.(Which it may actually be - but I want it to still be obvious.) Mt. St. Helens' caldera crater is about 1-2 miles across.
So, here are my mountains added - the look like a bad stitching job.
Shading my Mountains
- I use the same light and dark layers that I used before and the same guide as to which sides get shade and which ones get light added.
- I start with the largest brush that I want to use - again, with about 10% opacity give or take... I will layer further shadow or light with smaller brushes if I want. If I want snow on the top, then the last layer will get 100% opacity on the light layer. (If you want that to overpower the shape of the mountain, you'll need a new top layer.)
Here is what it looks like now. I need more practice with snow, but it's good enough to get the idea across.
Adding rivers and water features
- I switch to a blue brush, though I didn't change the type. I'm using 100% opacity again.
- I look at the mountains for where the water comes from - and I look at the coast for little inlets for where the water must go. Bascially, I'm trying to drain the land of excess water.
- In this case, I'm also thinking about the location of my story - where it has to be given current information on snow capped mountain(s), rivers, waterfalls and possible caves. It is logical that the biggest village of the realm might be located along the river as this (historically) was an excellent way to travel. So, as I create this map, I'm also creating an ideal situation for my capital village.
You can see two major things happening on this island - which may fortell its future disaster...
One, the island is so fertile because of how volcanic eruptions would blanket most of the island, with very little to stop it.
Two, the island is clearly tilting, the magma chamber beneath it must be more unstable than we thought - there are likely to be geysers on the island, such as around the fire swamps, maybe even hot springs in the area... I haven't explored those areas yet, so I honestly can't tell you...
Next time, I'll add other land features and the towns of Velantia.
Lori – photographer at Viking Visual, author at A’mara books, student-of-the-world.
Banner by @shai-hulud