Blog: Maps, Games and Children’s Fiction

It’s funny how quickly time can slip away from you when you’re busy. I can’t believe it has been almost three weeks since my last post!

I’ll present you with my excuses…

First, I was working on some fantasy map commissions for two clients. They are each vastly different styles, so I’ve been alternating between them over the last few weeks, trying to get those towards completion. Hopefully I’ll be able to share those on deviantArt and on my Portfolio, too.

Second, I was trying my hand at another map, mainly for fun, which harkens back to the antique/Tolkien style I used to use a few years ago. I’ll post it below. People seem to really love this style, so I’m going to be focusing on that type of map for my next couple of projects.

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Some Fantasy In Motion Updates!

Happy Fence Friday.. Moooo
Happy Fence Friday.. Moooo (Photo credit: Ian Livesey)

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve got some blog updates for you, so read carefully…

  1. Starting this coming week, author interviews are going to be posted on Mondays! I figured the beginning of a new week is a pretty crappy time for us all, so why not give you something to look forward to? Our next interview is with Chris Stevenson and we have some pretty great people coming up in the near future. Stay tuned!
  2. I’m going to be adding a few new webcomic episodes over the weekend, including a new one for Blatant Fantasy Ripoff. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, visit this link.
  3. The Life As They Know It mug was replaced and it arrived in one piece this time! Again, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go back in time a few posts and you’ll see.
  4. There’s a large project in the works, designed to appeal to those of you who enjoyed my fantasy mapmaking tutorials. It’s a project that deals with worldbuilding, but I’ll say no more for now. Keep your eyes peeled!
  5. Lastly, here are a few of my favourite things from around the blog recently. Do take a look and drop in a comment if you enjoy it 🙂

Talking About Me…

There’s no author interview today, though do check back next week because I have a fantastic one lined up and then another two for the following weeks. There are some really brilliant authors coming up, so be sure not to miss out! So, I thought I’d write about me today. I try not to talk about myself too often on this blog, just because I want to put my subject, fantasy writing, first and foremost. Alas, today I’m going to break that rule.

So, what’s been happening?

First, I’ve been asked by a bestselling fantasy eBook author to translate their world map from their own hand drawing into a fancy one with pretty colours and stuff (obviously using GIMP as I’m useless with a pencil). The bonus for me is, I love making maps anyway, so this is a really nice little project.

Another exciting thing that happened is I was approached by a pretty well-known fantasy author who hangs out on SFF World and she’s very kindly offered to do an interview for the blog. I won’t give away who it might be, but you’ll want to come have a read once it goes up.

As far as my own writing goes, it’s progressing nicely. I just devised a great scene which I’ll now use as a prologue and should set up the mystery for the rest of the storyline. I originally wasn’t going to have a prologue, and I still believe firmly that unless you have a good idea and its needed for the readers, there’s no need for a prologue. Anyway, the main plot itself is coming along well and I’m excited to progress further into the first part of the story because there are some scenes set on the high seas which build up to the catalyst for part (book) two.

I’m also planning to take part in the monthly flash fiction contest on SFF World this month. I didn’t enter last time because I had so much going on and my story was floundering a bit. This month, however, I still have a busy schedule IRL, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a new piece of flash fiction.

Lastly, I want to let you know about two things:

  1. I’m currently looking for ideas for special series’ of Life As They Know It. If you have any suggestions, you can let me know via the Contact Me page. I’ll choose the best suggestion and do a series from it!
  2. The new Fantasy Mapmaking page is live and it features my complete article on creating a fantasy map in GIMP. Check it out, it makes really nice looking maps. I also want you all to share your own tips/secrets when it comes to making maps. Leave a comment on the Fantasy Mapmaking page and I’ll include the best tips in a special worldbuilding post later on this summer!

Antique/Fantasy Map Tutorial – Coming Soon!

Keep an eye out over the next week or two for my upcoming series of articles which will feature a step-by-step guide on making a really nice fantasy map in GIMP. Part one will tackle getting your ‘antique paper’ background in place and generating a realistic-looking fractal for your landmasses and oceans.

Let's make a map!
Image via Google Images

I’ll also throw in a couple of variations on the style, if you want a slightly different type of map. In the first part of the series I’ll also throw in all the links to resources that you’ll need to create your map.

In the meantime, why not download GIMP and have a play around with it? It’s a great (free) Photoshop alternative that I now prefer to Adobe’s offering.

~ James