Well, it's finally finished! And actually, it's been finished for a little while now, but at long last I have time to post about it. Some of you may know the exciting news already, and for those of you who don't, I will tell you about it right now. :)
I was commissioned to do the map that will be featured in author Scott Appleton's new book "Offspring" coming out in July. Yay! *does a happy dance* Here it is. Click to view a close-up.
In April I was lucky enough to meet Scott when he came to the central IL area for a book signing event and the Homeschooler's Convention in Peoria. It was an amazing experience for me, and I loved meeting him and his wonderful family. His wife, Kelley, is an wonderfully sweet person and his son Andrew is the cutest little thing! And the best part of all was that they love God with everything they are.
As he was out here, Scott and I started talking about fantasy and books and writing, and the conversation eventually swung around to fantasy maps. At that time I was (unknown to him) researching and experimenting with a few different mapping techniques, but I didn't show him what I was working on right then because it wasn't finished yet and... well, I'm just funny that way. After he left and I finally did finish the practice piece I was working on (a map for my WIP "Eldrei"), I sent the file to him and he emailed me back asking if I would like to do the map for his book.
Of course I said "yes". How exciting! My first commissioned piece and it was going in the book of one of my favorite authors! I had to do some other research before hand, mostly concerning price and rights and so forth... Art, I know about, but commissioned art was a whole new monster to me and I didn't want to tackle it without knowing what I needed to. After we settled on what we both felt was a reasonable price, I started on the map and boy was it exciting!
In the program that I use for my art, I have many differen't types of brushes to help me with my art... including map brushes of mountains and trees and so forth and so on. I experimented with these brushes when I was making the practice map for Eldrei, and I found most of the brushes on Deviant Art for free (with credit to the brush-artist). For Scott's map I started by using these brushes, then later switched them out with brushes I created just the map. I studied the brushes I had, and studied other fantasy maps as well, and finally came up with a look that I liked. When I had the symbols I wanted to use, that's when I started working on the shading. In my practice map I hadn't used any shading, but I liked how it made the images in Scott's map "pop out" and come alive.
I would like to post more about the process of making the map... sort of make a tutorial or an info-dump on the subject, but I don't think I really have enough content for that. For me, making the map was like painting a picture... there are, of course, technicalities to be aware of in the process, but it is more of a "feeling" thing than it is technical. You just work on it until it looks and feels finished, and then it is. Perhaps one of these days I'll post a brush pack for you GIMP users out there, but I don't have it ready yet. <_<
This map is currently featured at Scott's main website here: http://www.wix.com/scottappleton/sword-of-the-dragon
And here are Scott's other Websites for "Offspring" and his other books, as well as his Publishing Company "Flaming Pen Press".