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