How to make good fantasy maps (Even if you can’t draw)

Have you ever wanted to make a fantasy world, but when it comes to actually drawing your world, you feel like you won’t get it done well enough?

I’m a terrible artist and drawing maps has been one of my biggest challenges in worldbuilding, but luckily, there are options for you and me to choose from!

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 1: Create a new map and make the settings right!

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

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

Step two: Generate 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 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 coloring!

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!

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!

Step four: Symbols, aka, TREES AND MOUNTAINS!

Let’s add trees next!

We’re going to use the mountains later on, as well as the symbol tool!

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: 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: Details and the finishing touch!

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!

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 and you can find my more detailed schedule on the top of my page! As always, feel free to comment down your thoughts! 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!

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