How to Draw a Map Step by Step
1. Determine, why do you need a map. Before you take a pencil, think how big a map you need. Do you plan to draw a map of the entire planet? Of a hemisphere? Of a continent? Of a country? Of a city? Note, this point is relevant for real-world maps, and for the maps based on your imagination.
2. Determine the ratio between water and land on the map. With few exceptions, you’ll have to draw a map where there is both water and land. However, it is up to you to decide how much there will be of both. The larger the scale of the map, the more not only rivers and lakes, but the sea and oceans are needed there. If the map scale is small, you can do with a couple of rivers or ponds and the coast, say, of the ocean. If your map shows the islands of the archipelago, then, of course, there will be much more water than land.
3. Think about what will be on your map. Actually, what map do you create: geographical, physical, political, road or something else? The map type determines how you’ll draw it, so it’s best to decide this before the start of the work. Of course, you can draw a map that will combine all kinds of maps, but not to swell the reader’s head by the abundance of documented information on the map, you’ll have to reduce the number of details. In principle, any specifications can serve as a basis for the map: trade routes, population density, languages of local populations and so on.
4. Decide how detailed your map will be. On this you will have to think about when you do over the scale and contents of the map. The main thing is to think about. Maybe you are going to point out on the map only the most important? Do you want to map even the most details? How detailed is your map, largely determines how large (in the physical sense) it will be, how much paper you’ll to need to create it.
5. Think about the weather. This, of course, mainly concerns those who draw fantasy maps, however, it is always useful take into account the weather, especially when it comes to planning, so to speak, the physical aspects of the map. Will you have a lot of dry or rainy regions? Will these regions correlate with the location of the oceans and seas, mountains, and the planet itself (as they do in reality)? You may even have to thoroughly think over about the climate and weather of a region before you take on drawing the map, so that it turns out to be more detailed and realistic.
6. Choose how you’ll draw a map. Paper? A computer program? Online program for making maps? Each of these methods requires a different approach, especially the first one – the method of drawing the map manually. As for the online programs, you can find dozens of generators of maps, but it is rather an option for the lazybones, and those who are not confident in their own artistic abilities.
Draw a Map
1. Draw the continents. If you have already decided on how detailed the map will be, you should rather have a clear idea about the continents (or land, in principle), how many of them will be, what their size will be. Start with the indicative outline of straight lines, then do the contours more detailed, more curved, thereby depicting the coast and borders.
Dealing with the continents, imagine where there are tectonic plates beneath them (real or fictional)-this will help you make a map look more realistic, especially if you draw an imaginary world. Don’t forget about the peninsulas and Islands, archipelagos, river deltas, bays and things like that.
2. Go to the aquatic component of the map. Yes, everything that is around the continents – oceans and seas. However, the water should be even in the continents. What about rivers, lakes, seas, bays, channels? And if the scale allows, why not draw even the ponds, streams, wells and other small bodies of water? If a pond is very small, but very important, you can mark its point on the map and give a comment that the scale does not allow you to portray the place in its entirety.
3. Add details to the continents. Depending on the style, you can make the continents rich in details or much more modest in this regard. However, it is impossible to do without the details. For example, add mountains and mountain ranges, valleys, deserts, forests, plateaus. Given the weather and climate, draw the jungle, rain forests, swamps, tundra, meadows and coral reefs.
4. Mark on the map the countries and the cities. Again, it all depends on the style of the map. Again, we cannot do absolutely without cities and countries-at least a few major cities and borders of the countries should be drawn. You can draw the borders by simple lines and they can both repeat the contours of the natural boundaries (mountains, rivers, seas and oceans) and be invented. The cities can be marked by any character, whatever (points and stars are most commonly used).
5. Paint the map. This step will allow your map to transform, and for the better! The color on the physical map can mean one thing, on the political – another, though you can always use the color even for purely decorative purposes. If you have decided to do without the colors, use at least grayscale. You can use as many colors at once (to denote all the features of the map), and only 2-3 colors for the basic signs.
6. Make the inscriptions on the map. Of course, from a purely technical point of view, this step is optional, however it is much better with inscriptions than without them. You can start with the names of the biggest and most important regions (by the way, you can mark them in a bolder or larger text). If you want to make the map more detailed, use more inscriptions. You can use a different font and different styles.