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C.C. Hogan

Tutorial: Creating a Fantasy Map

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Geography is the bedrock of civilisation

With modern communication and transport, the influence of the geographical makeup of our world has far less influence than it did in earlier, less technological times.  Mountains are not much of a barrier when you fly at 30,000 feet, cars travelling up motorways at 70 pass borders unnoticed and even when we can't be bothered to sit for hours in a coach, we can phone or email someone. 

But go back a thousand years or more and suddenly a small river is a barrier, a mountain near impassable and travelling across the country a major endeavour that might take weeks or months, assuming you don't get eaten on the way.

With many #fantasy novels being set against a more primitive backdrop, the geography of the world can play a major role in the development of the story, indeed, it will often become a character in itself; a stubborn and unhelpful one. 

In the fantasy series I am currently working on I was a little tardy about getting down and drawing a map and I had to embark on some rapid editing to sort out problems of distance and timing; if I had thought about this first, my life would have been easier!

I am going to walk you through the stages of mapping that I use and hopefully it will help you. I am not going to attempt to teach you to be an artist (I am not one, so I am the last person to ask), but once you do have your basic map, I will show you some few things you can to to tart it up if you like. If you want a beautiful map, then check out some of the artists on Deviant Art.

Next: The Tools »


  1. Tutorial: Creating a Fantasy Map
  2. The Tools
  3. The importance of mapping
  4. Your Working Map
  5. Using Your Map for Planning
  6. Pretty Maps

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