Below are two sets of map examples and the tutorials that helped me create them.
How to Draw a World Map Example
Tutorial: How to Draw a World Map by Jonathan – Explains more than just how to make a map, but also the way geography works, which is essential to world building.
I can’t draw to save my life, and these certainly aren’t pretty (as Jonathan says they shouldn’t be!), but they’re pretty darn awesome, in my opinion.
1.) You can see a large island off to the west. In the east, we have the country north of a port city.
2.) Here is a closeup of the country north of the port city.
3.) This is a closeup of the country south of the port city.
4.) This is a street map of said port city. However, it’s a very basic map, and not true to my current visions of this city, so will be redone at some point.
Macaroni/Froot Loop Map Example/Tutorial:
Original Tutorial: Make a Perfect Fantasy World Map With Macaroni! by Emily Asher-Perrin*
*The example below recreates the macaroni map tutorial with additional details, and no swearing.
What you need:
- Macaroni, breakfast cereal, pony beads, or whatever else strikes your fancy – In this case, 3-4 cups of Froot Loops cereal. (We will call them “items” henceforth.)
- A pencil
- A Sharpie, or something with dark ink in a fine line – In this case, a Pigma Micron Graphic 1 pen with black archival ink did the trick.
- Books with which to line your paper (See #2 below.)
- A blindfold (You may or may not require this. See #3 below.)
- A large piece of blank paper – In this case, six 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of printer paper
- For this map, the paper was overlapped and taped together on the back. However, if you’d like your overlarge map to fold up easily in order to slide into a folder or binder, do not overlap the pages before taping them together. (One lesson learned too late! GAH!)
Note that the size of your paper needs to be relevant to the amount of items you plan to use. Too much macaroni on a small piece of paper won’t work out very well.
1.) Get your paper ready.
2.) Place book spines around your paper to keep your items from rolling off the table. Dump your items onto the paper. If it’s a food item, make sure you don’t eat the landscape until you’re finished! Also, if you’re using cereal and there’s too much dust/crumbs, you may wish to pick the cereal back up, set the pieces in a bowl (not back in the box where they’ll pick up more dust), dust off your paper, and reapply the cereal for a cleaner map.
3.) Organize your items to look like land and water. If this seems daunting to you, blindfold yourself and spend no more than 10-20 seconds carefully messing around with your items. Then take off the blindfold, and make any other changes you think are necessary. In this case, there were too many islands, so I grouped several single Froot Loops together to make fewer, but larger, islands.
4.) Using your pencil, outline all of your items, making sure to keep your lines jagged, like a real coastline. No steady hands needed here!
5.) The Froot Loops below are completely outlined in pencil. I had hoped that I could color code my map, for example putting lakes where the blue Froot Loops landed, but as you can see, that wouldn’t have worked. But it’s okay. Everywhere there isn’t a Froot Loop is a lake or perhaps a river. And the places where there are a pile of them will be a mountain. (These were photographed so I know where to add mountains later.)
6.) Pick up your items (If they were a food item, you can now eat them!) and see what you have left. This actually came out pretty good!
7.) Now, take your permanent marker, or whatever else you want to use, and outline it in ink, going over your pencil outline. You do not need to follow your pencil outline perfectly. You may wish to make your coastlines more jagged, if they weren’t before, like this one. Hey, this looks pretty cool!
8.) Now that you have the outline of your world, you can photocopy it a dozen times, so that you can make changes to it. You may wish to color in one version with colored pencils. Now, you can visit the other tutorial to learn how to place other features like mountains, valleys, roads, rivers, cities, countries… whatever. Just make sure you have enough copies of your original so you always have a backup blank just in case.