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September 25, 2011
Fantasy Map TutorialxResources by ~calthyechild Suggesters Words: It's a wonderful pack for all the designers who dream about making their own fantasy maps . It contains everything you might need : Fonts , Brushes , Textures , and renders ..All combined with an easy-to-follow tutorial .
Featured by shelldevil
Suggested by spring-sky
calthyechild's avatar

Fantasy Map TutorialxResources

2018 Edit: Too lazy to make your own map? Want yours cleaned up? I take commissions, see Fantasy Map Cartography Portfolio I'm MUCH better at making maps now but I haven't gotten around to creating a new tutorial and this one is still serviceable. :)

Other versions of brushes:
Converted to Photoshop 7 by :iconithilwenia: here.…
Converted to Photoshop 6 by :iconpiratelotus-stock: here piratelotus-stock.deviantart.c…

Edit: YAY! The obscene amount of work put into this tutorial has paid off with my first DD. THANK YOU! :love:

I'm working on my next ridiculously obscenely over the top resource pack: "Color Me Terrified: Creating the Ambiance of Horror", just in time for Halloween, containing everything you need to make creepy art. It should be live some time in October, so remember to watch. :D


Everything you could ever need to make your own fantasy map: the tutorial (should work with any digital program that supports layers), and all the resources you'll require to follow the tutorial available in a .zip folder. Just hit the download button, and view fullsize for the tutorial.

Please consider giving a fave if you download. I do not require any link/credit or alert rules for use of my resources: though all of this is appreciated, I like a favorite so others can find the resources.

I must give a nod to Jezelf, who made the tutorial from which I leaned to make maps. It's no longer online, and so I've made my own tutorial based on the method of "render clouds" for the jagged coastlines.

Resources in resource pack are not free to DISTRIBUTE, but can be used for any commercial, non-commercial, on/off DeviantArt use you can think of, which will probably be fantasy maps, but hey, if you have some other use for these, by all means.

While everything is free, if you appreciate my resources, please consider tossing a donation through my StayClassy page to NaNoWriMo, the crazed month of November Noveling that keeps me going. Your donation gives me a shot at going to their Night of Writing Dangerously, and keeps the fantasy coming!


One Tolkien inspired font containing as many European characters as I could fit! It's a crappy font, but you get what you pay for.

One dingbat font containing most of the map icons. I hope you like exploring because they're mapped to both uppercase, lowercase, and symbols with no rhyme or reason whatsoever. The only interesting bit is, the sea serpent pair is on the two "smart" quotes, so if your program doesn't support smart quotes, you'll get the tree or mountain that's on the regular quote, and you'll have to access the sea serpent via alt codes.

Three Photoshop CS2+ brush sets, which contain all the map icons. All of them are new sketch-style brushes, but can be used with my previous map brush sets.

(The images are included for those without Photoshop. As always, feel free to convert to whatever brush format you would like, upload to DeviantArt with a linkback, and link me to it... I'll add it to the list.)


15 parchment-style textures for use as backgrounds.

Two different sets of prefabricated maps, in black and white, lineart, and color for the lazy who just want to get going with the stamps.

Three files of "render clouds" jagged lines for you to assemble into your own continents.

Check out my free fantasy webcomic, Between Places.
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HeartStorm4ever's avatar

Oh wow this is awesome! Why do I only find it now? Anyway, thanks a lot for this!

calthyechild's avatar

It's pretty old, but the internet is also pretty big.

HeartStorm4ever's avatar

Very true. But for someone that has failed in drawing a decent map so far, this is gold! Thank you!

calthyechild's avatar

I take commissions if you get frustrated making your own!

HeartStorm4ever's avatar

I'll keep that in mind, thanks ^^

I just have to get a computer so that I can try ^^"

calthyechild's avatar

You can also make a map using online services like Inkarnate without a computer program or by drawing in a program on a tablet or phone like Procreate! Or by hand! No computer required!

HeartStorm4ever's avatar

I had never heard about Inkarnate. I'll search it up, thanks ^^

Yeah, by hand... it looked like a weird blob XD.

calthyechild's avatar

There's also Other World Mapper and Wonderdraft, if Inkarnate isn't to your taste! Lots of free and cheap programs for mapping. I maintain a list of them here. External link goes to my page of links to fantasy map generators.

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ValentinaStone's avatar

I created this using your resources a while back. I'll probably take another look at the tutorial and recreate the map, but it serves my purpose for now; I've made it solely so I remember where countries and continents are.

Thanks :) Your resources were amazing!

The Realm of life map
calthyechild's avatar

You're welcome. I'd say it's kind of outdated now compared to my current process, but I'm glad you got something useful for you out of it. Your choice of lineart around the edges is quite interesting. That could make for a good look for mountains! Hey, everyone's first maps are like that, eventually you'll flesh it out more if you need!

8 years later, still the best tutorial I found so far.
Wonderdraft is too expensive, inkarnate is far too expensive or too simple for the free version and BTW, you get the same kind of map as everyone else.

So, I started a map that is not so fantasy, but a good start for a future good one.
Mountain symbols will be placed on rocky color locations.
I tried a river but not great.
Small dots in the water are hazardous navigation zones
All is made according to the generated cloud except for some small exceptions (I wanted a rocky cliff jumping into the sea on the biggest island).

Annotation 2019-03-28 141815 by j2l2
calthyechild's avatar
I'm glad it works well for you! While I freehand all of my map land forms now, I found this an excellent way to assemble land shapes when I was still uncertain. I suppose I really should make a new tutorial at some point, but I worry it would be like "just sit down and draw mountains forever oh haha the mountains are done you thought we were done TIME FOR TREES FOREVER NOW"... uh while it may not sound that way I actually do like my results quite a bit.

I didn't realize Wonderdraft cost money. Thank goodness, that means people will still hire me to draw their maps! LOL! Anyway, I think your map looks great, the beachy edges are really natural and that didn't come from my tutorial–that came from your heart. Keep at it, you'll make some great maps. It puts me in mind of more like, a comic than a fantasy map, but I love it, it's got some genuine soul I KNOW you didn't get from my tutorial.
Thank you very much for your encouragements!
Coming from you, I really appreciate :)

I'd love to find a tool/way to generate a cloud based on coastlines (limits of the cloud) and peaks (the densest part of the cloud), the reverse way of generating coastlines from cloud.
Any idea?
calthyechild's avatar
I found a fractal world generator you might like playing with.
Thanks! Nice finding.

You're a lifesaver. Seriously. It's taken me 4 days to hand draw a really, really awful layout. This is going to save me SO much time! THANK YOU
calthyechild's avatar
You're welcome. Maps can be pretty time consuming at first, yeah, and especially if you handdraw everything. :) I'm pretty fast now but only because I've made hundreds... xP
JediArgento's avatar
Can you pass a link or something in the description, please? The Download button doesn't work properly.
Messinground's avatar
I made this last Summer using your tutorial, thanks a bunch! Love how this turned out!

The Map of Iltanda by Messinground
Edit: Sorry, wrong link, haha
Ayi82's avatar
used here for the map:
Amazing tutorial, thank you so much for sharing this to the creative community!  Shoot me an email at and I will forward you a free digital copy of our upcoming Issue #1 next month!  We are always looking for Tidbits of fun like maps, weird diagrams, recipes, and other masterpieces that pause a reader from turning the page!

Editors, Gathering Storm Magazine
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