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August 15, 2012
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"Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground."—Prof. Albus Dumbledore


Early life becomes an exploration of invisible parameters, circles beyond circles, as one pushes out to test the boundaries of safety. There is one’s bedroom, one’s home, neighborhood, school and town, state and nation. Early on, maps become important documents – declarations of being and rights and privileges. In the art world, throughout history, maps have been a constant measure of human progress, from the Phoenecians recording their trade routes over 2000 years ago, or pre-Columbian times in which maps pictured the world as a flat chessboard balanced atop huge elephants or whales, the oceans spilling over the edges as waterfalls in infinite space – to the latest details of the surface of Mars, courtesy of the Curiosity probe. There’s something beyond the purely practical in always knowing where you’re at, look no further the mania of checking in with digital GPS devices. Somehow, just knowing you have a map in your pocket to guide you, maybe even one that speaks to you is a kind of a liberating power over the common frustrations of life.







The opening credits of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” features a massive raised relief map of the series’ warring kingdoms. In genre fiction, maps of the mythic lands in which the stories take place have always been a special enjoyment. From finding the Garden of Eden, to elaborate maps guiding Indy on his quest for the Holy Grail, or the map of “Hyborian Times” sketched out by Robert E. Howard to better immerse you in the wanderings of his barbarian hero Conan, storytellers have always known that there’s something about the “authentification” of seeing a map that can make even the most dubious quest seem real.



Mythical Maps are currently enjoying a resurgence in our favorite videogames, detailed 3D virtual "maps" upon which the mayhem of Call of Duty, Skyrim, and Gears of War are played out, are things of wonder in and of themselves. The DLC cry of “new maps” has become the call that new magical killing fields are at the ready to be tested for their vicarious thrill-potential. Where once explorers sought out maps to the Fountain of Youth or the gold-paved streets of El Dorado, today’s adventurers seek out the perfect multiplayer map.







Let us celebrate the imagination of our mythic mapmakers on deviantART.


From our shared common knowledge of the islands and coves within Peter's Neverland, to the navigation of the Dothraki Sea, to the celestial cartography of hidden maps to unknown worlds within the stars above us, mythical maps have carved out a space for themselves right along side, and just as important as, the maps based on a “knowable” earth. The importance of a map to any fantasy story reader is the key, the literal base anchoring the fantasy, to be referred to over and over again as a story unfolds. So much background information, and so much added story texture, can be conveyed to a reader through the art of a carefully thought out and executed map.


A small part in each of us is the sense of where we are not only physically but psychically and spiritually. Whether real or not, a great map tells a great story. One could argue that a masterful cartographer must be a skilled storyteller as well. As we create our mental maps of the fantasy realms we prefer to inhabit as part of our existence in the sometimes mundane world, let us celebrate the imagination of our mythic mapmakers on deviantART.


















QuestionsFor the Reader


  1. What’s your favorite map of a fictional land?
  2. Do you think the increasing similarity of “cosmic” maps as created for videogames and superhero movies is dulling our collective sense for adventure?
  3. Which videogame maps do the best job of totally immersing you in another world?
  4. Is there an actual map hanging anywhere in your home, and what is it of?









One's geographical sense of place within the world is one of childhood's important components of that inner puzzle that contributes to ones sense of identity.Early life becomes an exploration of invisible parameters, circles beyond circles, as one pushes out to test the boundaries of safety. There is one's bedroom, one's home, neighborhood, school and town, state and nation. Early on, maps become important documents – declarations of being and rights and privileges. In the art world, throughout history, maps have been a constant measure of human progress, from the Phoenecians recording their trade routes over 2000 years ago, or pre-Columbian times in which maps pictured the world as a flat chessboard balanced atop huge elephants or whales, the oceans spilling over the edges as waterfalls in infinite space – to the latest details of the surface of Mars, courtesy of the Curiosity probe.

Writers: techgnotic
Designers: marioluevanos

For more article like this, visit depthRADIUS
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:icon322282823:
322282823 Featured By Owner 2 days ago  New member
did you draw these maps
Reply
:iconcirias:
Cirias Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Love this article.
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:iconhensen007:
hensen007 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014
 I saw this topic-password protect folder without software many times, this time I do as the post step by step, It works finally. Great sharing. 
Reply
:iconrealmwright:
Realmwright Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
1. Asking my favorite map is like asking a favorite food. There are too many flavors of other lands to pick just one. However, Middle Earth will always spring to mind since the Hobbit was my intro to fantasy.

2. I don't see how new maps, especially those of the unknown vastness of space, could ever dull our sense of adventure. Even when every inch of every possible parsec has been filled in, I'm sure we'll still continue to make fictional maps.

3. I'm not much of a gamer, but the 3 worlds I loved wandering were Tamriel, Hyrule, and the sweeping west of Red Dead Redemption.

4. I have a whole Nerdatorium devoted to fiction worlds. The walls are adorned with everything from Pathfinder to Middle Earth and less well known maps from cartographersguild.com. The only drawback is that I have way more maps than wallspace!
Reply
:icongoblynoid:
Goblynoid Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1. What’s your favorite map of a fictional land?
Don't think I could pick just one. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" world map is a current favorite though.

2. Do you think the increasing similarity of “cosmic” maps as created for videogames and superhero movies is dulling our collective sense for adventure?
Hadn't really thought of it like that, so I suppose my answer is, no. Although it does bother me a bit whenever I see a star map in a movie or some such that has obviously no bearing on even the basic structure of the cosmos. IE: Star system to galaxy to galactic cluster to universe.

3. Which videogame maps do the best job of totally immersing you in another world?
Actually the map screen in "Dawn of War" and its' expansions was pretty immersive in that it was presented as a tactical auspex of the WH40K universe.

4. Is there an actual map hanging anywhere in your home, and what is it of?
Not at the moment, but somewhere around here is the map of my home brewed game world for my GURPS Fantasy campaign that I put up on the cork board for gaming sessions.
Reply
:icondevaujany:
DeVaujany Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Here is the last version of the Map of Tryskellia for the first chapter of my novel, made with a real parchment. Sorry for the french comments ! [link]
In another way, I really love The Game Of Thrones open show with the Evolutionary Map and the music.
[link]
Reply
:icondevaujany:
DeVaujany Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Here is the last version of the Map of Tryskellia for the first chapter of my novel, made with a real parchment. Sorry for the french comments ! [link]
In another way, I really love The Game Of Thrones open show with the Evolutionary Map and the music.
[link]
Reply
:iconseberin:
seberin Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012
1. Middle-earth. In particular, there was an impressive map that Iron Crown Enterprises made a long time ago that extrapolated what all of Arda might look like, outside the well-known northwestern region drawn by Tolkien.
2. I guess it would be better if more maps looked unique... but I'd rather have similar attractive maps than unique ugly ones.
3. The Ultima games' cloth Britannia maps were great; I spent hours studying them. More recently, I was really impressed by the in-game maps for Dragon Age, especially the antique Orzammar map. Also, the Grand Theft Auto series has a surprisingly strong tradition of really good maps.
4. Not currently, but in the past I've had maps of Middle-earth, San Francisco, and Yosemite hung in my bedroom.
Reply
:iconlulybartolomy:
LulyBartolomy Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
1. The Old Kingdom/ Ancelstierre map
2. Maps only enhance our sense of adventure and anticipation of adventure. :)
3. I don't play many games, but I always appreciate those that offer maps.
4. Yes, of earth.
Reply
:iconiwan88:
Iwan88 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Student General Artist
1 . Isla Sorna in Michael Crichton's Book the Lost World

2 . Nope

3 . Mass Effect, handsdown

4 . No, sadly :( but good idea! I think I'll get one.
Reply
:icongrimvaarwolfthane:
GrimvaarWolfthane Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012
The original cloth map from the DarkSun campain setting is my favorite.

Skip the next two ...

I have two painted maps, one of the USA, & one of this solar system.
Reply
:iconkura-ai-yuki:
Kura-Ai-Yuki Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012
My favorite map so far is one my friend made. This one! It should totally be up there! [link]

And nope. I don't think cosmic maps change anything I still find the game fun.
And I think final fantasy, they got some awesome maps.
And nope. No maps up. :(
Reply
:iconagent-0013:
Agent-0013 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think at this time my favorite map of a fictional world is the one depicted in the RPG Final Fantasy XII. It has a lot of detail. There are many other maps included within the game as well that show the detailed layout of specific areas.
As for cosmic maps, I have found that seeing the same constellations in the skies of almost all fictional worlds in video games that show the skies at night makes me wonder at the imagination of those that create the games. A very familiar constellation "Orion" shows up in multiple video games, and if you study the constellations that surround that one you will see that they too are familiar and in the same places relative to "Orion" as they are in the sky of Earth. Perhaps it is too much to create a world's own version of the night sky, although I have seen many games that did have their own skies.
As I have already indicated, the Final Fantasy video games seem to have some of the best maps; however, this is not by any means an exclusive. The maps included in "Oblivion" and the other games associated with that world are just as fantastic. I would also include the maps for many of the Legend of Zelda and the Metroid games. All of these maps have the detail that is needed to help you figure out where you are in the game, which to me is very important.
From time to time I hang different maps in a conspicuous place that can be readily accessed for reference while playing a video game related to that map. Sometimes I hang multiple maps of the same video game world to see and compare the differences and changes that have been made to that world across the series of games that have that world in them.
Reply
:iconjdcm1965:
jdcm1965 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012
How about Riven?
Reply
:iconpatriciaenola:
patriciaenola Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012
[link] This sounds good - I am somewhat of a Map Fiend myself - I have the Game of Thrones Map and some of Frodo's Journeys - now looking for a map of Disc World - I think I shall have to go to somewhere like Diagon Alley
Reply
:icontophat83:
TopHat83 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012
Does anyone know of a good map-making software/freeware. Something that creates maps similiar to the ones shown in this article? I'm really interested myself.
Reply
:iconagent-0013:
Agent-0013 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
There are several art applications that can be used for this purpose. I use Bryce from DAZ 3D to create my topology and cities and so forth, then I take the map to a program that can be used to add the names and designations of areas of interest in those maps. Microsoft Office PowerPoint is a good one. I don't know if a free version of PowerPoint is available but you should be able to do a search for a comparable free program that will do the job. Bryce 7 Pro is free to download, and I highly recommend it. I also recommend the Bryce 7 Artist's Guide, which will tutor you through nearly every aspect of the software with concise and very clear instructions, along with screen captures to help you see what is being done. This guide is free also, and it comes in PDF form, (you will need to have Adobe Reader, preferably the latest upgrade, which is also free).
If you have any questions concerning the above software and related items, feel free to contact me personally via e-mail. Here is my address: "artmage13@yahoo.com". I will be glad to help you in any way I can.
Reply
:icontechgnotic:
techgnotic Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012
Great question. There must be something out there. You might want to ask the cartography guild. [link]
Reply
:iconscareysherrie74:
scareysherrie74 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1.The map of the world of Naruto is my favorite because it adds detail.
2. No i think they add to the experience of the game or movie and give us ideas. It can only dull your sense of adventure if you allow it to.
3. This I have no idea about because I don't play many games.
4. I have a world map and my son has a map that was his great grandfathers, it is of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company's British Columbia Coast Service. It is historical and allows him to have a connection with his namesake who died many years before.
Reply
:iconlurockia:
Lurockia Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This journal has influenced me to finally upload my own fictitious world map. Thank you!
I must say that I'm rather proud of it.

--------> [link]
Reply
:iconagent-0013:
Agent-0013 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very nice map! You did a wonderful job creating this one. I like the way you show the two halves of your fictional world in a familiar historic format. Excellent!
Reply
:iconlurockia:
Lurockia Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, that was the idea. :)
I looked around at all sorts of old maps and just fell in love with the two circle style.
Reply
:icontechgnotic:
techgnotic Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012
So glad the article inspired you to do so. We will add your map to the collection in the article.
Reply
:iconlurockia:
Lurockia Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! That's nice of you. ;)
Reply
:iconlouigino:
Louigino Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012
is this maps on a competion or something? if Yea I also join?
Reply
:icondjoely:
djoely Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012
I very love World of Warcraft Map . . .
it very wow . . .

hahahahahaha
Reply
:iconcapnskusting:
CapnSkusting Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
I've always been a fan of maps both old and new both real and imagined.
My Atlas of Middle Earth is dog eared from looking at at both while reading the books and watching the movies.
Some of the old NYC and Brooklyn maps show some very surprising things like farms in midtown Manhattan.
Reply
:iconcapnskusting:
CapnSkusting Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
I don't have an actual map hanging anywhere at the moment,
but I do have this satellite photo image framed and hanging....
[link]
Reply
:iconalsart:
AlsArt Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
1) Tamriel (elder scrolls)
2)No I think that the more maps made increases the inspiration to make a map of your own fictional imagination
3)Morrowind
4)Morrowind, Cyrodill and Skyrim
Reply
:iconteafoxkaris:
TeaFoxKaris Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
1. maps of middle earth, the edge and dinotopia and the shadow league
2. i think so
4. yes, dinotopia and star chart. but would love to have more!

i've always loved poreing over the maps in books
Reply
:iconarizonaalbatross:
arizonaAlbatross Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I've always enjoyed imaginative maps from games and literature. I've been looking over these treasures, reading their stories, creating chronicles and campaigns since the early days. From early edition Dungeons and Dragons to The Forgotten Realms, to so many of the computer, solo and online games. I need to read this. I could write my own paper on this topic. I still hold, as a dear treasure, a mythical map, penned and inked by hand, rolled and tied with a little string, that an xGF crafted while we dated back in University. Just lovely... it seems to rip a tiny bit more each time I try to unroll it, no matter how careful I am...
Reply
:iconaem3:
AEM3 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I guess I never realized until now what an interest there is in fictional mapmaking. I created a world while in junior high school which has become a hobby and somewhat of an obsession over the years. The maps have grown and evolved over the decades (yes decades, as in 45 years). I've built a papier maché globe, several poster sized maps of each hemisphere and a fully animatable globe in Carrara. In the past 5 years I've converted most all of the paper maps to digital format and now am drawing more detailed maps than ever before using PS CS5. I am now writing a book about it. My dA icon is the cloud covered globe of the world I call Grivantia. My regret is that it took computer technology so long to catch up to my overall vision of this project and that I may not live long enough to finish it so I can share it with others! I'm now making the maps the way I wanted them to be 40 years ago. Perhaps I shall post some here on deviantArt.
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
Reply
:icondantesangreal:
DanteSangreal Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1) I have a map of the route to Prester John's Kingdom
2) Over all I'd say yes, however... I can also see them inspiring fantasy cartographers.
3) None, I'm not a big video game player. Although Risk and Supremacy had a big impact on me growing up.
4) I have many maps hanging up. Where should I start?

Are there any fantasy cartography groups in DA?
Reply
:icondiamondwind94:
Diamondwind94 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1-Map of "the lord of rings";
2-Yes,sure;
3-Super Mario's map;
4-Yes,i've the map of the sky, with stars .[link]
Reply
:iconmisslennie:
MissLennie Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012
1. Neverland (Peter Pan)
2.Yes. Who wouldn't want to explore some of these worlds
3.Monkey Island
4.No. Sadly there isn't.
Reply
:iconblod:
blod Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
1. WH40k Universe, I think
2. Yes, to some degree
3. See Doom score screen
4. I wish I have one, wall size
Reply
:iconwolfsong-of-dragon:
WolfSong-of-Dragon Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have a world map, but I sort of use it as a billboard X3
Reply
:icontheelevateddeviant:
TheElevatedDeviant Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
1. YNot1989 has made some great maps.
2. A little, but we can overcome it.
3. Those of Star Wars: Empire at War and its mods, chiefly Thrawn's Revenge, Republic at War, Phoenix Rising and Corporate Addon.
Reply
:iconamoredellbuio:
Amoredellbuio Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
THEDAS from Dragon Age is my favorite.
Reply
:iconsteve-the-cutie:
Steve-the-cutie Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
whoa! that's incredible
Reply
:iconmoonlightsecho:
MoonlightsEcho Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
Middle Earth
Reply
:iconckn-bonbon:
Ckn-bonbon Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Student Writer
My favourite fictional map would have to be Middle Earth. It's my phone background right now, and I just really enjoy looking at it and reliving the Fellowship's adventures. I think a close second would be the original playing board of the game Risk. Don't know if that necessarily counts, but it always seemed like a pretty cool looking map to me.
Reply
:iconhylio:
Hylio Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
Q1 = If I must choose => The map from Avatar the last airbender/ Legend of Korra and Middelearth from Tolkien.

Q2 = Sometimes, but i wonder about how they created such worlds and for how long they can remain to be original.

Q3 = Skyrim for sure, but at first it was de map from Zelda Ocarina of Time.

Q4 = I have 2 maps of Europe and the map from Skyrim.

Enjoy!
Reply
:icon1213mb:
1213mb Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
awesomeeee
Reply
:iconeefj91:
eefj91 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1. What’s your favorite map of a fictional land?
There are two. One of them is the map of the Tamir Triad, by Lynn Flywelling. I don't know who drew the map but I adore it. The other one is, duh, the one of Game of Thrones. I love how they made it.

2. Do you think the increasing similarity of “cosmic” maps as created for videogames and superhero movies is dulling our collective sense for adventure?
No I don't, I think it's nice to know where you are and how you got there. As an adventurer you want to explore the world, and you want to know how the hell you got somewhere, so you know how to get back there again.
Maybe it's an idea for videogames to make the map as you're playing. As in: you've been some place, and that gets into the map when you get there for the first time. That way, you know how to get there a second time.

3. Which videogame maps do the best job of totally immersing you in another world?
Don't know, don't play that much videogames.

4. Is there an actual map hanging anywhere in your home, and what is it of?
Yes, it's a map of the city I live in. Or atleast, it's a copy of an old map of that city. Like from 1700 or something like that. It was a present for my mom, and we both love it a lot :)
Reply
:iconantonyc:
AntonyC Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
What’s your favorite map of a fictional land?

Probably Neverland, followed closely by Piers Anthony's map of his world of Xanth.

Do you think the increasing similarity of “cosmic” maps as created for videogames and superhero movies is dulling our collective sense for adventure?

Who is dulling the what now? Are you asking if I think video game maps are a bit samey these days? If so, then yes.

Which videogame maps do the best job of totally immersing you in another world?
Is there an actual map hanging anywhere in your home, and what is it of?


Not hanging anywhere, but carefully rolled up and stored in my wardrobe is a lovely canvass print of this little macguffin.
Reply
:icongeralin:
geralin Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Hobbyist
I find maps to be very fascinating. Especially ancient maps are lovely. :)
Reply
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