Early last year, I created a crude map of the Cae Valley, a region in my fantasy setting. At the time, I only needed something rough to help visualise the general layout of the valley. To create the map, I used Adobe Photoshop and a cheap Chinese drawing tablet. I wanted to try a painting style, but it never really turned out the way I wanted.
Since I finally got around to upgrading my workstation yesterday with a new GPU, I decided to recreate the map in Wonderdraft. Wonderdraft is an inexpensive and relatively new cartography app for Linux, macOS and Windows.
Without further preamble, this is what I created.
I’m quite happy with the results. It took me a couple of hours to create, but much of that was spent learning to use Wonderdraft.
Coming from a background in Photoshop/Pixelmator, it was a little strange at first. It doesn’t behave like a classic raster editor (or a vector editor for that matter either). While there are some drawing tools, they are meant for creating specific elements of the map, like rivers or paths. The coastline is sculpted rather than drawn, and many of the features are added through a library of symbols.
It’s still early days yet — for Wonderdraft, and me as a user — but the app shows tremendous promise. I will likely write a proper review when I become more familiar with the workflow. Until then, I’ll be creating more maps — new and recreating old ones. I’ll leave you to decide if the maps are publishing worth, but at the very least they are perfect for world-building maps that aid with the writing process.
I review World Anvil, a very promising and comprehensive app for world-builders, table-top gamers and novelists.
After my beta readers tell me I need a map for Cadoc's Contract, I make a map...then I tumble down the rabbit warren of fantasy cartography and ask myself why fantasy maps look nothing like their Medieval counterparts.