Art · Book Reviews

Fantasy Mapping: Drawing Worlds

As many of you already know, this is my first year participating in Beat the Backlist. I’ve had a lot of fun participating in this challenge this year, in no small part because it’s given me the chance to read some fantastic books. One of books I had the opportunity to read earlier this month was Fantasy Mapping: Drawing Worlds.

Fantasy Mapping: Drawing Worlds is a drawing guide created by Wesley Jones, a cartographer and artist.

The first half of the book introduces the reader to the process of creating a map for a fictional world. Some of the topics covered in this section include: questions artists should ask themselves about the world they want to create, tools and materials for creating maps (both physical and digital), drawing tutorials for specific physical features (rivers, roads, mountains, etc.), and suggestions for labeling various features.

The second half of the book, which is actually the seventh chapter, focuses on examples of finished maps drawn in various styles. While these maps serve to illustrate for the reader/artist some of the things that are possible when creating fantasy maps, they also reinforce many of the concepts from the previous chapters. Jones also gives the reader background information about each fantasy world represented by the maps, and provides details about the stories they were created for.

I actually decided to purchase Fantasy Mapping because I am currently considering the possibility of writing a series of fantasy novels. Since I know that the world I create will need its own map, I thought this book would be a good place to start doing some research…and it was. Fantasy Mapping is a really nice introduction to the world of mapmaking. The art tutorials are very easy to follow, and Jones does a great job of explaining the process of world building.

Whether you are interested in creating your own fantasy map for an original novel or tabletop gaming adventure, or you’re just looking for a fun drawing tutorial, I definitely recommend checking out Fantasy Maps: Drawing Worlds for yourself. It’s a well-written, easy-to-follow book that has definitely inspired me to spend time drawing again.

Happy reading!

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