Creating a fantasy map


How to create fantasy or historical maps with Clip Studio Paint

Hello! My name is Monica N. Galvan and in this tutorial I will show you how to create a card. But not an actual map, but an introduction to fantastic mapping. And this time we will use the tools of Clip Studio Paint to take away some of the work without losing our personal touch.

1. The first thing we need is inspiration

When you want to create a fantasy map for a book, comic, or fantasy video game, the first thing that comes to mind is Tolkien. In fact, this is what many authors of the genre have in mind when they order a card.
But there are many other places where you can get inspired. A quick look at the websites of museums or institutions in your country can discover wonders from past centuries, from which you can get ideas for your cards. These can be very useful documents to get information for more realistic fantasy maps. In particular, those from smaller territories or provinces usually have the most classic elements, which you can safely identify using the most famous fantasy maps.

With this in mind, let’s start with our map!

2. The sketch

The first thing we will create is a new document. If the card is in a publication, it is best to use the proportions in which it is printed. You can type this when you create the document (Ctrl + N). By default, we have selected the A4 format and the resolution of 350 pages per second in landscape mode.

In this document we will create a new layer and sketch our map with the pencil and the color we like. I usually use the color blue for sketches, but in this case we use one color for each type of element.
The idea I have is to make a simple card for a young adult novel. We left some space to make a poster and another for the compass rose.

3. Create custom brushes and textures for maps

Although we can create the map completely freehand (I especially like them), we will use the versatility of the Clip Studio brushes. To this end, we will show how to create the ones I consider most often used in this type of illustration.

First we prepare different types of images to make our brushes. This is the most tedious part of this tutorial, and it requires a lot of trial and error until you find the most suitable brushes. The more images they compose, the better. We can use it as a simple brush or as a more elaborate brush, which we will explain below.
It is advisable to place the brush in a separate document with a much higher resolution (ca. 600 dpi).

We have created the image of a mountain. It consists of two colors, black and white. White helps us to overlay some images with others.

To create the brush, we select the layer of the desired element and add it to the library: menu Edit> Material registration> Image. Remember to check the "Use as brush tip shape" checkbox (important, if not, it won’t show in the gallery) and add a label and location to find it later.

Remember that we need to add the right amount of details to the brushes if you want to color the card later on. Not having more details is better or having less is worse. The format also has an effect here, because if the map appears in a book, the more detailed parts disappear when the size is reduced. (For example, you can try to reduce the size of the image on your screen.)

Otherwise, if we draw only in black and white or in large format, we can add much more detail to the lines.

The more sophisticated the shape of the brush, the more different elements must be added so that the repetition is not noticed.

3.1. Mountain Brushes

Step 1: To create our brush, we need to use different images of mountains to form our "chain".

To create the mountain range, we need to overlay the strokes starting at the end (continue). That’s why it’s important that the image used for the brush has an opaque / white background (later we can get rid of it by changing the layer in " Multiply "or with the great function: Edit> Convert brightness to opacity if we want to color the lines.

Step 2: We place the images that make up the tip of the brush. To do this, you need to open the brush settings and click where it appears below:

Add them under "Brush shape> Brush tip" by clicking on the "New" icon click.

We are looking for our images that tags will help.

Step 3: If we have already selected all the images of the brush, we will be randomly selected. By varying the interval, we can superimpose the elements:

Note: Printing can be enabled to quickly resize the mountains. also the dispersion effect for small elements like hills or grass. This option can be left unchecked for better size control.

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