On Creating the Maps of Erâth

The geography of Erâth is an integral part to the story of Brandyé, particularly in the coming books. Even within Consolation, there are the Trestaé Mountains to the North, the sharp and rocky Perneck Gorges to the West, and the Far Burrow Hills to the East. Daevàr’s Hut is central to the land of Consolation, with Burrowdown being towards the northern borders of the land. Consolation, ringed by mountains, is nearly isolated from the greater lands of Thaeìn.

But how to keep track of all these locations? Even in my own head, I sometimes find myself wondering how certain events played out, given the territory and geography of the country. For example, I wasn’t entirely sure how the soldiers of Erârün keep the hordes of Darkness at bay, when Kiriün, the western kingdom, is physically closer to the lands of Darkness. I also wasn’t entirely sure what the difference was between the mountains of the Reinkrag and those of the Üthervaye.

I realized that in order to visualize these places, I would need to create maps. These maps aren’t necessarily an addition to the world of Erâth, but rather are necessary to create the world of Erâth.

The process started with a hand-drawn sketch of the greater world of Erâth. This formed the basis for the History of Erâth, so that I would know where the different races of Erâth originated, and where the deciding wars of the past took place. This hand drawing is then scanned, and loaded onto my iMac. Lacking skill at the big boys like Adobe Illustrator, I end up using Apple’s Pages to trace over each line with a pen tool, recreating each and every curve digitally.

One key advantage to this approach is scalability; by drawing the map out using only lines, I can infinitely scale the individual components of the world up and down, allowing me to zoom in ever further to create more detail in the lands.

The process of digitizing the maps can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. I’m currently working on a detailed map of Thaeìn, the land in which the events of The Redemption of Erâth take place. This map features nearly a hundred individually drawn mountains, each needing to be traced over twice – once for the shape, and once for the shadow. This will then be followed by the rivers and the lakes, and the names of places.

From this…

…to this.

When I complete this map, I will continue on to an equally detailed map of Consolation. For the future books, expect maps of Erârün and Kiriün respectively, and perhaps even of the Hochträe and The Realm of the Dragon Lords.

This isn’t state-of-the-art illustration (if anyone out there is willing to produce high-quality maps for me, for free, let me know!), but my hope is that it will serve to give a placement to the events of the story, and not be terribly ugly to look at, either.

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