The World of Ja-Nu - A Fantasy Map

My project involves coming up with and illustrating a fantasy, hand-drawn antique-looking map, with hand-lettered names for its lands and places.

I've always liked hand-drawn maps and the concept of world-building, and it seems like a good initial project where I can just practice writing a lot of letters by hand for both script and "Antiqua" type of font. 

The name "Ja-Nu" is from the ancient Roman god "Janus", who was the god of beginnings and passages (and the month January is named after him) - I really liked the idea of that. As for the dragon - I like swirly things, and it started out as a decorative line around the title, but then I remembered Jormungandr - a giant sea serpent from Norse mythology, also called the World Serpent. So I wanted to incorporate some of that as well. 

For most of the place names on the map - I looked through a list of Latin names for herbs and minerals on Wikipedia, and switched some letters around.

For the sketching/drawing itself - I sketch things separately in layers (with a pencil, then pen) - so the landmass, the mountains/forests, the names - they are all on separate papers. Then I scan it all in and arrange it in layers in Photoshop, so I can move elements around for a better composition. Then I end up enlarging the drawing and printing it out again, and drawing on top of it on a new piece of paper (using a lightbox) - then scan that in again, replace elements, etc. Eventually I bring the elments over to Illustrator and vectorize/add color in there.

Word List:

 

Inspiration:

Concept sketches for the map title:

Initial map sketch:

2nd Iteration:

3rd Iteration:

4th Iteration: 

(Inking in layers, vectorizing and blocking out colors)

5th Iteration: 

6th Iteration: (Final?)


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