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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

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Add a Comment:
 
:iconpatriciaenola:
[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
:icondjoely:
I very love World of Warcraft Map . . .
it very wow . . .

hahahahahaha
Reply
:iconmalikleck:
sorry I said that i didnt mean it
Reply
:icondiamondwind94:
Diamondwind94 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
:iconjmcv29:
JMCV29 Aug 23, 2012  Student
I love maps!
Reply
:iconalusdril:
looking for middle earth.........
Reply
:iconunicornsaint:
UnicornSaint Aug 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
When I was a child I loved to create pokémon inspired maps with my friends (and also drawing and designing the various gym leaders and trainers :heart:).

But usually we copied the ideas from one another and at the end they were too similar (with the great waterfall, volcano, and lakes shaped as hearts or stars)

One day in order to amaze my friends with my "incredible imagination" I drew a map which was the plain copy of Iceland
(I also copied out the real names :B)

I still conserve that map.
Reply
:icongiftofthedragons:
1. Alagaësia from the Inheritance Cycle, the map of Haven from Jak and Daxter II, the composed map of Enroth from MM6 and the map of Skyrim. They all claim my heart.
2. No! They are helpful, and let you get a better sense of the world, whether or not it tries to kill you and roast you over an open fire.
3. The maps from the Jak and Daxter series (any map at all) the maps from MM6 and the map of Skyrim. No contest between the three.
4. No, sadly not.
Reply
:iconartstrac:
black beards treasure map, i kid. i love pirate movies though.
Reply
:iconjburns272:
Jburns272 Aug 21, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great entry. Very thoughtful and interesting. :#1:

1) The Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia maps would have to be my favorites. These maps helped immerse me into their respective worlds before I could even read the books by myself.

2) Hmm. Yes, I think so.

3) Probably the original fallout (1, 2 and tactics) maps, and to a lesser extent the maps from the Zelda games.

4) Yes. I have a map of my city, Kitami, on my wall. I'm thinking about putting one of my maps of Japan up too.
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