WiP Italian Wars map

Recently I purchased CC3+ using the Humble Bundle offer. To learn how to use the program I have tried to draw a map for an Italian Wars renaissance wargames campaign. I am reasonably happy with the result, but know that it can be improved, so am looking for constructive comments and suggestions.

If possible I also want to give the map a more period look, so if anyone can suggest suitable reference images or other source material it will be most appreciated.
QuentenRicko HascheMapjunkieLautiHadrianVI


  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer
    That's a really nice map :)

    Are there any example maps from that period we could use as a starting point?
  • Well, I don't play Wargames so i'm not sure what more you'd need in a map for such a game. That being said, I adore this. You could try using a parchment fill for the background to help give it a more period look. also, you can make the whole map a big darker or texturized by using those effects on "Whole Drawing".
  • GaltisantGaltisant Traveler
    Thanks, your comments have helped to clarify my thoughts.

    The Italian Wars date from around 1494 and 1559, so source maps can range from Nicolaus Germanus' Ptolemy Cosmographia from 1467 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ptolemy_Cosmographia_1467_-_Italy.jpg) to the works of mapmakers like Ortelius Abraham (https://www.vintage-maps.com/en/ortelius-abraham-1). Later mapmakers like Gerardus Mercator could also be a useful inspiration (https://art.famsf.org/sites/default/files/artwork/mercator/5074163103670099.jpg).

    To be useful the map also needs to be relatively uncluttered and easy to read. A second WiP works with respect to function and clarity, but has very little period feel.

    As a starting point I think that I probably need a point to point map like this, but with relatively simple symbols for the mountains and a much more gothic or cursive font.

    I also need to look at the period maps in much more detail.
  • edited July 2020
    Perhaps the more obvious option to me might be the Mercator style package from the Cartographer's Annual; the original was in the very first issue of the Annual from 2007, which was upgraded by a further add-on pack ten years later in the July 2017 Annual. (Both can be used separately, though you get more options with the pair.) That would mean needing to make extra purchases for possibly both year's-worth of Annuals, however.

    To be honest, there's not really much wrong with your original map here to my eye. Beyond Lorelei's suggestions, maybe reduce the number of mountain symbols and space them out a little more (as in Mercator's maps), possibly add a few tree symbols for major forested areas (if any seem appropriate), or try a darker blue for the river lines to make them stand out a little more, though I'm not sure those are essential - just to make it seem a bit more "Mercator-like".
  • The only thing I might change is making the rivers a bit darker. Honestly though, this is a really lovely map as is.
  • 1 month later
  • Very nice map!
    One small typo: "Teramo" is misspelled as "Reramo" (or "Beramo" ?)
  • Beautifully drawn maps! I would be very proud of them :D
  • Beautiful work. Mind-bogglingly so for someone who has only had the product since the bundle offer. Personally, I love them as is, and don't think they need much of anything with regards to looking more period. In the topmost map I actually like the hybrid modern cleanliness with the classic font and ship symbols.

    How did you go about doing the landmasses? Did you trace by eye from an image, or use a command like this? And what style did you use?
  • Thank you everyone for your very kind suggestions and comments.

    Wyvern thanks for pointing me towards the Mercator style, I will definitely try this out in the future. For this map I tried making something along the same lines, but could not get it to both look right and convey the information that I wanted.

    OverCriticalHit for the first map I imported a scanned map of Italy, then manually traced around the coastline etc. The second map was drawn using data from Fractal Terrains 3, with the rivers drawn manually using a scanned image as before. In other attempts I have used the TRACE and TRACED commands, but they do require quite a bit of preparation in another package like Gimp or Inkscape. In both cases I started with the Mike Schley metric style, but then changed many of the settings. I suspect that in this case the starting style has become largely irrelevant.

    This project has now dramatically widened in scope. As I research the Italian Wars in more detail I realised that my original maps were hopelessly inaccurate. In addition because the political alignments within Italy changed so frequently and so dramatically during the period, I was having difficulty keeping track of all that was going on. I am now trying to make a series of maps to help me better understand the history.

    As an example the attached image, again a work in progress, shows part of the map for 1696 about two years into the 60+ years of conflict. I plan to add markers to highlight the key manoeuvres, battles and other events, but I have not yet settled on how I want to display this information.
  • Another great one. The hand tracing has worked very well, as did the FT method. Italy is one of those landmasses where if it didn't actually exist and was created in a fantasy world I think people would say it looked too unrealistic!
  • OverCriticalHit I had not thought about the map of Italy looking “unrealistic”, but in some respects you may be right. Following this argument, the same could be said about Greece, but then again that was the home of some of the very earliest fantasy stories.
  • 3 years later
  • Hello,

    I exhume this topic because I am looking for Renaissance italian styles.

    I see that there are a lot of good things in Annual 2007.

    Would there be good soul to point me to possible updates, avoiding me to scroll *another time* all the Annual pages ? :D

  • I don't think we have a specific period mapping style, but if you want to spend less time scouring the webpage I made this wall of links as a quick reference guide. (It does need updating for this year, but I will sort that out before the end of the year).

    The Mercator style mentioned by Shessar above was revisited in the 2017 annual, as you will see.

  • Sorry, should have thought to this one !

    and 2017's refurbished mercator.

    I do not see the Panicale mentioned, is there a specific reason ? Too antic, maybe ?

    Thank you for your quick answer !

  • Panicale was never revisited, but it is still as usable today as it was when it was created.

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