Map Upgrade

A couple of weeks ago I purchased Wonderdraft, and fell in love with the program. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks getting a feel for how I like to create maps with the software, and decided that I’d try to update my map of The Realm, which is the setting for my current series of novels.

I’d created the first map following a tutorial on YouTube, and I was pleased with the results given the limited resources I had at the time. I’ve made several more maps since that one and each one improved over the last, but I can’t even touch what Wonderdraft can produce.

I’m almost jealous.

Wonderdraft has an excellent feature where you can import a land mass from another program. These images need to be black and white—where white indicates land and black is ocean 1. So I copied the Affinity Photo document which contained my first map and spent time preparing it for transfer. I filled in lakes and rivers, deleted all symbol and text layers, and recolored it to the required white on black format.

Below is my original map of The Realm.

Map of The Realm.
Drawn in Affinity Designer, Procreate, and Affinity Photo.

I then opened Wonderdraft and created a map with the same dimensions as my original project, and used the import feature to get my landmass set up. Once this was done, I went to the “overlay” section and imported the image of my original map and set the opacity down low. From here I first cleaned up some of the errors I’d created along the coasts and got the shapes back to the original look. I then used the river tool to trace the paths of the rivers from the previous map, followed by the lake and freshwater brush tools to form the central lake 2. Again, I traced the image of the original map as I did so. After this I switched to the symbol tools and added mountains, hills, forests, and grass to the mix. I finished up with symbols by adding my cities. Finally, I added my labels to name the cities and other features 3.

At this point I had a colorless antique-style map. It looked cool but didn’t match the ethos of The Realm, which is not so serious. So I duplicated the project and switched to the land painting brush–giving mountains, forests, and river valleys some light shading. I am very pleased with the results, and the map below is now the official map of The Realm.

Enhanced map of The Realm
Done entirely in Wonderdraft.

  1. I reversed this on one attempt and kept trying to figure out why everything was backwards. Duh. 
  2. Wonderdraft treats freshwater as it’s own category, separate from the Ocean. 
  3. I still need to add names for the rivers.