How To Make Great Fantasy Maps, Even If You Can’t Draw

Have you ever wanted to create a detailed and beautiful map for your fantasy world? Do you struggle with the actual drawing.

Well, I won’t blame you. We are authors, not painters.

I have struggled with creating a detailed map for my world for years, but just recently I found a way to create beautiful maps even if you can’t really draw!

Read till the end, for I added some helpful links for you which can help you on your mapping journey!

If you find yourself struggling with drawing,

Say hello to Wonderdraft!

Wonderdraft is a mapping tool, which gives you the ability to draw gorgeous maps, without having to do all the work from the beginning.

You don’t have to draw every single tree and river of your word. There’s a tool for all of those things! Trees, paths, lakes, mountains… all can be done easily and fast with this beautiful program! It costs around 30 €, but from my own experience, I can assure you: it’s worth the price!

So today, I’m going to make a quick map with you and show you how to get started with this program! I’m also going to put some helpful links to the end of the post, so make sure to keep reading!

Step One: Creating A New Map And Making Sure The Settings Are Right

Start creating a map with Wonderdraft

So here we are! At this point, you can choose the size of your desired map, as well as the stance of your picture!

Fantasy map dimensions in Wonderdraft
You can also change the look of your map with Themes! (Don’t worry. You can change these things later on!)

Step Two: Generating The Basic Landmass

There are two ways to do this! First, you can use the landmass wizard. (Like I’m using), or you can draw the basic shapes yourself! If I don’t have any clear ideas, I like to use the landmass wizard, for it will always give you a new shape to work with! Inspiring!

The variety of tools Wonderdraft offers to fantasy mappers
(The landmass wizard)

You can change the detail, roughness and other elements when creating your world! Pattern means the type of world you’re creating! Uniform creates an part of the world, but not the entirety.

This is good if you’re creating a closeup of a place for example! Then, there is the continent, and world options, which give you bigger pictures! For this tutorial, I’m going with the uniform option!

And here we go! A beautiful base with many story options! This could be the home for many harbor cities for example! Let’s start adding some color and texture!

Step Three: Texturing And Colouring

On the left side of the screen, click “land” and then, select the “ground brush” tool! When you’ve done this, you’re presented with some options:

In addition to the basic textures, you can use manual color to get the exact color you want! Try playing around with the colors, opacity, and brush types! Get creative!

Painted fantasy map
A quick draft, but it serves its purpose!

Basics are done! We got some green here and there, and some darker colors (for a desert for example). Sometimes, this is all you need, but the program offers a huge range of symbols!

If you’ve enjoyed this post this far, be sure to follow my blog for more weekly articles and short stories. After you sign up, you’ll receive a confirmation email. After confirming your subscription, you’ll receive notifications whenever I publish a new post!

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Step Four: Adding Trees And Mountains

Let’s add trees next!

We’re going to use the mountains later on, as well as the symbol tool!
Trees and other objects for a fantasy map

What I like a lot, is the large library of symbols for you to use! I like to use the white ones, for they take the color of the base! If you place them on a green land, they’ll be green! This helps to make the map more insteresting!

I placed some forests here and there! I also added some grass to fill the empty space! I advise you to take your time with this step to make it more interesting, but for the sake of time, I have to push on!

Next, we’ll add some mountains! Select the mountain brush and start placing those misty mountains down!

I placed the mountains, with some hills here and there! I must say: The map’s getting more and more alive as we go!

Step Five: Adding Water

You can place lakes, rivers, and windroses to make the map more realistic and interesting! Select the water option and get experiemental!

Lakes, rivers… important places for nature!

And so, my water elements are done! Next, I’m going to show you the labeling tool!

Step Six: Labeling!

Select the label section on the left side and choose: Labeling tool!

You can play around with this tool a lot! You can change the fonts, add some curvature, and select the colors of your choosing! You can even use a name generator, if you’re running out of ideas!

Labels make the map so much more appealing and interesting! You can basically name whatever you want, so get writing!

Step Seven: Adding Details And Applying The Finishing Touches

There are so many symbols and tools to use that I simply don’t have the time to go through them all! i’m going to showcase some of the symbols in my next and final picture, but don’t think they’re the only ones! There are hundreds of them!

Completed fantasy map, made with Wonderdraft

And we’re done! I barely touched the surface of this program, but hopefully I managed to give you the basic idea of it!

I highly suggest you buy it if you’re worldbuilder or an author in general! It has helped me a lot and I’m still discovering new tools and techniques to use!

I hope I can make another tutorial, maybe a more focused one, later on! But for now, I’m going to rest and allow you to start discovering the program yourself! Create beautiful maps and don’t hesitate to send me some of yours!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow my blog and share it with your fellow creators! I post new content every other day!

As always, feel free to comment down your thoughts and have a wonderful and creative day!

Some helpful links:

Wonderdfart reddit: Share your creations with the community and get help from other creators!

Cartography assets: Custom assets for your maps! (I’m not sure if any of the donwloads include viruses, so be careful of what you download!

Icarus games: Makes some great tutorials and I highly suggest you to take a look!

More articles about worldbuilding:

The Most Powerful 11 Tools Every Writer Should Use | List of Writing Tools

Worldbuilding Language | How To Create A Fantasy Language

25 thoughts on “How To Make Great Fantasy Maps, Even If You Can’t Draw

    1. There are tons of elements you’ll get when you buy the software and you can always download more. I don’t use them often, but they are there! Thanks for your comments! 🙂

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