I started off with a tiny little thumbnail pencil sketch. I did a whole bunch, but decided to go with this composition. After that, I redrew it roughly in Manga Studio with larger lines and better proportions. I used reference when I started the official lines, I googled all sorts of things, looking at old maps and trying to figure out what those map grid lines meant... I still don't know, but I did it anyway haha. I also looked at medieval leather gloves, ancient coins and cool spyglasses. It turned out looking quite nice, especially once the lights and shadows were brushed in.
I finished all my lines in Manga Studio and did all the shadows, lighting, colours, textures, gradients and tweaks in Photoshop. It only took my two days! Whoa, definitely going to do more with this style and process because it's so stylish and pretty and.... also because I've officially crossed off coral reefs for awhile and will stick to simpler things and strong lighting. XD
In fact, I've decided to create a series of 'top down' images where there is a story mixed in, a kind of untold narrative, which I love, haha.
Thank you for checking out this post!
Stay tuned for more!
Font used for map: Sarati Eldamar by Måns Björkman