Creating an Overland Map by Pär Lindström

Italy CoastlinePär Lindström is a Swedish fantasy cartographer and map-maker and long time contributor to the Cartographer’s Annual. His maps appear in a wide-variety of Swedish and international role-playing publications. Here is his take on creating an overland map in CC3+.

I’ve used Campaign cartographer for a long time and have made more maps then I can remember, both for personal use and for commissions. This will be part one in a series where I will describe the process I use while making maps.

First of all you have to have an idea of what you are going to map. I usually find inspiration in many different places, it might be that I’m playing an RPG with my family and we need a map for the next session or it might just be an idea that I want to put on paper, or in this case digital paper.

Paper SketchFor this tutorial I’m going to make a map of an area that I’m calling the Three River Kingdoms. It’s an idea I’ve had for a while of an area where you have some kingdoms all separated by three large rivers.

The first thing I do before I start to map is to sketch the map on paper. You can do this both with pen and paper or you can do it digitally. The important thing is that you can have the finished sketch in digital form.

So why is this important? Well I find it so much easier to work in Campaign Cartographer 3+ (CC3+) when I already have a clear idea of what I want to complete. Especially since the order you put down symbols in are quite important. Of course you can change the order of the symbols via the commands “Bring to front” or “Send to back”, but putting things in the right order from the beginning makes your work go much smoother.

New Map WizardI usually start out by looking at some nice coastlines in Google maps, borrowing from mother earth usually gives you a much better looking map in the end. You can of course make up your own coastline if you want to but I prefer borrowing because it gives me a better end result. In this case I’ve used an area in Italy. Don’t be afraid to move things around a bit, I moved the large Island and rotated it a bit for example.

When I have the area I start drawing on top of it, sketching out some key areas like forests, mountains and rivers. Just so you will know where to add in symbols in a later step.

Next I create the file in CC3+. Since I’m making an A4 map and the pixels of an A4 map in 300 dpi is 3508×2480, that is also the size I’m making the map in CC3+. The reason for this is that when I import the sketch I know it will fit perfectly in the map.

When the map is created I’m adding a SHEET that I name SKETCH. This is where I want to place the sketch map I made earlier. Make sure that the SHEET is placed second to the top just below the SHEET BACKGROUND.

Sheet SetupCheck that the SKETCH SHEET is selected and Click Draw/Insert file from the menu and add in the file. To do this you need to first left click with the mouse in the top right corner on the map and then move the mouse curser to the bottom left corner and left click. You will now have a SHEET with your sketch map.

Now it is time to start drawing the actual map, which I will cover in my next post.

Pär lindström – CC3 user for ten years and creater of a handfull styles for the annuals. Follow his mapping days at www.instagram.com/imaginarymaps/

Leave a Reply