A few folks have inquired on my maps and how I put them together. So I have added this section to help explain what I do, how I do it, and what programs I use. Firstly, I use a Mac OS X, and this advice may not be of much help to those of you who are using Windows.
I started off making my Kingdom maps when I first began the campaign. I created the mountains using a font called Hill Country, because I really liked the way these mountains looked together. However, because these mountains are each individual fonts, I found that photoshop put them each on their own layer, which was really cumbersome when editing them together and make the process take double or triple the time, switching between layers each time I wanted to position a particular mountain element.
I have an inexpensive ($20 for a 9 month trial) program (for Mac OS X only) called EazyDraw, which lets you keep all of the fonts on one layer, and manipulate them easily. It is a neat little program, but also not as powerful as Photoshop. So I created the base for my maps in EazyDraw, including the coastline, borderlines, rivers, roads and cities. The city icons are also a font called Cityscape.
I import my scanned hand drawings (or in this case an older version of my world map) into EazyDraw and just trace over that map, setting the boundaries, placing the cities, etc. Then I add the mountains and other features mentioned above. I then export it as a PDF version of the map, which seems to have better resolution when I then open the doc into Photoshop. When I do create the PS version of the map, I set the resolution to 600dpi, which puts out a reasonably detailed map. The imported map layer is transparent where the actual lines (like the mountains and the rivers, and roads, etc.) are, so that many features I add in PS can be set on a layer beneath this base layer, so the quality of the line art is net distorted. I then add the shading to adjacent countries and add the city names. I use PS for the city names because PS allows me more options for shading and adding a stroke around the text (which I often do when the text overlays the terrain features, and I set the stroke to the same color as the background for the map. This creates the same issue of having many many layers of text, but I put them all in a folder layer to keep track more easily.
Each kingdom map I make is a little more detailed than its predecessor. I may some day go back and rework the earlier maps, but right now I am focussing on the maps of the countries where my party will be traveling through. And seeing as how they are globe-hopping, I have quite a bit of work in store for myself.
My main map is of a different style than that of my kingdoms maps. It is a much later creation, for I have been expanding my skill set and learning more about the tools I use. I was wandering around over at the Cartographer’s Guild for the tutorial where I discovered a fantastic tutorial by Ascension. I did a few things differently for my map, but in all it was a really fun project.
For those of you who do not have Photoshop, and use windows, I have heard that GIMP is a relatively good program and it is free. There are tutorials for GIMP over at the Cartographers Guild as well. GIMP is for Mac and Windows.
I wish you all the best of luck with your maps, and do not hesitate to drop me a message if you have any questions.