30 Jun 2015


Earlier this month, I posted on the map I created from the sketch I made while spending the afternoon outside. While those outside activities have had to be curtailed due to a stretch of uncomfortably hot weather (to anybody from the south this is going to sound silly, but it's been in the mid-80s [~30°C] for the past 2 weeks) I've continued creating maps of places both fictional and real.

This was done in black pen on a 5" x 8" Rhodia pad. It's some of the best paper for fine pen work, though if you're sloppy, it can sometimes smear a little. I scanned it in and colored it digitally to simulate a 3-color printing process. The area is loosely based on northwestern Michigan.

This map was created in the same way as the previous one, except it was based on central Nova Scotia. I used Sakura Micron pens for these two. Click to enlarge.

And this is a full-color (9 colors, to be exact) map of southwest Michigan, done with Sakura Micron (black) and Marvy Le Pen (colors). It's accurate for driving with and nothing on it is fictional, unlike with the others. Errors are therefore less forgiving because I can't just imagine a road or a differently-named city.

This gif shows the process of creating a black and white map of a fictional place.

1. Sketched out the coastline and major cities, and connected those with main roads and added small towns and county borders.
2. Added minor roads and sketched the names for major cities. Added highway shields to main roads.
3. Inked main roads and highway shields, adding road numbers.
4. Inked major city names and filled in the main road patterns denoting highway surface. (you'll notice here that I smeared the ink on the highway above White Cloud, the first error I made)
5. Inked small town names, then the coastline and water features. (my second mistake was inking a minor road near White Cloud as a river)
6. Added decorative lines to coastline and lakes, and inked county lines. Fixed both mistakes by turning the smudge into a minor road and re-routing the river. (this is why I like creating fictional maps based on reality rather than maps of real places!)
7. Inked minor roads, added hills, and added compass and title. Erased pencil sketch.
8. Scanned and colored digitally.

I just got this new old stock Berol RapiDesign general mapping stencil which will help out a lot!


  1. Ha! Amazing work! (:

    BTW, Monster Zero arrived today, none the worse for wear. :D

  2. Damn! You're good at this!

    I'm reading The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet. I think you'd like it if you haven't read it yet.

    1. Thanks. I've been doing it for over half my life at this point so I've had some time to improve. ;)

      Sounds like a fascinating book. I'll put it on my list, I need to get back into reading fiction again.

  3. Fictional maps never go out of date!

  4. Great work! Would be nice if you could do something for the Typosphere's out of date 'Where in The World" map :)

  5. Couldn't help thinking about you when I saw this: www.wired.com/2015/07/secret-cold-war-maps/ You probably know it already, but in case you don't I didn't want you to miss it. :-)

    1. I was very aware of the extensiveness of the Soviet topo maps, but it's interesting to read this article and see that they were also marvels of accuracy and precision!