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Mapping: Look, More Mountains...! - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
e_moon60

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Mapping: Look, More Mountains...! [Jun. 25th, 2010|06:14 pm]
e_moon60
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[Current Mood |awake]

Twenty-odd years ago, when I first did the maps for the world of the Paks stories...leading to last year's Mystery of the Missing Map(s), I didn't get anywhere close to finishing the overall map.   I did the bits of it needed for Sheepfarmer's Daughter, and Surrender None, and that was that.    After all, those were just going to be mass-market paperbacks, right?   (Wrong.)   Unfortunately, the original map went missing, and so on and so on through all the difficulties previously described, and now I have a good bit of the new master map...which on Wednesday I had scanned at Miller Blueprint in Austin, and also had printed (because, for my own photographs of the finished version, it will be a lot easier to photograph white paper than semi-translucent vellum.)   A visual snippet is on view in the June 24 entry of the Paksworld blog.

About a quarter of the map-space...the lower left quadrant...had nothing in it because so far Story has not wandered there.   This made a very unbalanced looking map, but what could I do?   Then very late in Book II (but not in the part that will be published) I got the first hint of what might be there.  Uh? I said to Story.   Some ways into Book III, Story turned over a couple of pages and said "Look!"  And I said "Wow!  That's going to be fun."

So now there was something to add to the map.   The map is already (as can be seen from the published bits of it or its predecessor)  decorated with some interesting mountains.  I knew that the mountains south of the Eight Kingdoms did extend all the way west past Fin Panir, and some of those mountains had been penciled in, but not inked.  But there are more mountains.  More ranges of mountains.   Every one of which is drawn--at least symbolically--individually.   Shaded individually.  

The map itself is on a 24 x 36 inch sheet of paper (or drafting vellum in the real original; I'm now working on the print.  There is of course border allowance, so the actual map space is 20 x 30.  The average mountain peak is less than 1/4 inch wide and the longest mountain range is now 26 inches long and several inches wide in places (it's not a simple stripe.) 

That's a lot of hand-drawn little mountains.  Then there's the 6-7 inch long mountain range that intersects it.  Then there are little individual ranges in the formerly blank corner.   The mountains can't all be the same--real mountains aren't.  Sometimes they're crowded together; sometimes they're more open, with little spaces between them; sometimes they're more rounded on top and sometimes more pointy.  (Pointy mountains are iconic, and thus belong on hand-drawn maps at this scale, though a detail map should show the actual shape.  Still...not all little triangles.   Then there are the hilly regions. 

Mountains are  lot of fun...until you're drawing a lot of little mountains every day, day after day--it's still fun, but it's also a concern that today's mountains may not blend perfectly with yesterday's mountains.   That the other pens (I'm doing this with Rapidograph pens of 3 sizes) may dry out while working day after day with #2s.   Yet when I stand back...the very unevenness of the strokes here and there gives it character, makes it look more real.  I've been tempted to pull out the drawing pens (not the technical pens) that allow me variable stroke width, but for printing in reduced size in a book, I think the constant-width line is better.  

More mountains loom in my future.


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Comments:
[User Picture]From: gifted
2010-06-26 01:00 am (UTC)
As a reader, words cannot describe how awesome I think you are for doing this. ;o I hope it remains to be enjoyable for you, despite the tedium.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-06-26 03:42 am (UTC)
I had not done any serious artwork for a long time, so it is actually very satisfying. I realized awhile back that I needed to get back to using my hands for more than tapping on the keyboard or stirring a pot. I'm enjoying it, except...there are so MANY mountains. I'm looking forward to doing some other artwork again, if I can squeeze out the time. Photography is great, but I want to try painting some of what I photograph.

Oh--just edited entry to mention that a bit of this thing is visible at the Paksworld blog--link's in the entry now.

Edited at 2010-06-26 03:56 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2010-06-26 04:07 am (UTC)
My friend and I were just discussing last night how we "should" draw more often, but don't. I think I'll put my hand to it when I have some spare time, though I'm afraid I'll find it frustrating. I'm still learning to turn my critical mind down when it comes to my own art. Good idea painting your snaps. My first oil painting (at age eight) was from a photograph and it turned out quite good.

Thanks, I'll go check it out. :]
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2010-06-26 04:08 am (UTC)
Oh wow.. your mountains are brilliant. ♥
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-06-26 02:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I added some hills this morning and more tracks. I'm not going to put in ALL the hills as that would make it too cluttered, but hilly areas with very special hills in them have to be shown (I think.)

Still wondering what's the best way to show escarpments, given the rest of the map's style. May not be possible...at least not all of them.
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2010-06-26 02:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've seen a topical view of them; you'd definitely have to simplify it.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-06-26 03:45 am (UTC)
Oh yeah....there is SO MUCH they don't tell you when you start a story. For instance, if you do it right, it comes alive and its world wants to suck you in and have you appreciate it.

And you start thinking about all the additional bits of finishing you could do on it...gee, couldn't the costumes be more individual? How about the shapes of the tree leaves? The bark pattern? Something just chittered up in that tree, but this isn't earth...do they have squirrels or is this something else? How long is its tail? And then you get tangled in the evolutionary possibilities of somewhere else (what is the selection process that results in bushy-tailed squirrels in hot climates, like ours? Etc.)
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[User Picture]From: gotica
2010-06-26 08:53 am (UTC)
Oh yeah....there is SO MUCH they don't tell you when you start a story. For instance, if you do it right, it comes alive and its world wants to suck you in and have you appreciate it.

Think of us poor readers who have a fantastic imagination to get lost in this world that you've created, get to the last page and then start reading again because we've been well and truly sucked in :P
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-06-26 02:45 pm (UTC)
Bwah-hah-hah....

Yes, it was my evil plan.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-06-26 03:50 am (UTC)
Oh, yes. And sometimes you realize that you were overtaken by Story and failed to keep an eye on Geology (the Old Original Map, or OOM, had very carefully worked out geology. This time I kinda sorta forgot part of the plan. We are now dealing with multiple layers of complex forces (doesn't that sound impressive? If not, hush...) resulting in just a *leetle* problem in comparison with OOM. But nobody's going to see OOM again, even if I find it, until it goes off to Texas A&M with the rest of my stuff. And one set of forces that's been operative wasn't even thought of at the time. If you've got Elder Races as well as natural forces working on the topography, there will be weirdness.
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[User Picture]From: moonsinger
2010-06-26 12:37 pm (UTC)
Pity the poor characters who have to climb all those mountains! They're going to be mad at you. ;)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-06-26 02:44 pm (UTC)
They'll never know how the mountains got there...they get mad at me for things like "You haven't actually done anything for days now...time to quit enjoying ordinary life...let's see...Oh, HERE'S a crisis for you..."

And I left passes through where the plot daemon insisted. Not always easy passes (Silver Pass from Aarenis isn't!) but passes.
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