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This week is a series of posts about Mirelyn’s Skyrealm – a map I drew at the beginning of December as part of a cartographic challenge. The challenge was to draw a map of a “floating island” and the map that will unfold over this week was the result. I don’t normally give a lot of work-in-progress material for my pieces, so I’ll discuss what I did as I went along for this one. 


With the base map of the Skyrealm done, it became somewhat of a race against time to see how much more I could do for the map. As it stands, the isometric view of the island (posted Tuesday) is much more of an illustration than a functional map. I had finished the island drawing with six days left before the map was due…

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The goal was to produce as many interior maps as I could – with emphasis on the major fortified and stone structures (particularly the fortress on the left side of the main island that hangs off the island proper). So I scrambled and started working on the fortress map which would normally be a full map or even two on my production schedule as it consists of four floors and spans two pages.

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But then from the fortress there is an underground tunnel to the tower… and then from the tower to the landing pad! That’s three more maps (landing pad and under the tower, plus two levels of the tower itself!) But there was a whole other pressure on me for this one –

I did NOT want to rush this map. The goal was to get these maps done at a fluid and friendly pace without stressing myself. After all, I had spent a month rushing maps last month and while I was looking for a challenge with this map, I didn’t want something that would make me regret taking it on.

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So I just kept drawing for four days… fixing up structures and working on making the floors nice and crinkly, the walls nice and bold, the hatching pretty and not rushed, and then moving on to the next structure or floor.

So tomorrow I’ll post the finished structure maps to go with the isometric island map.

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