Interlude: A Map of the Westwind Isles

A Map of The Westwind Isles: from the Redwing Archives

A Map of The Westwind Isles: from the Redwing Archives

What fantasy story would be complete without a map? Since Sami is setting off on her voyage, the first order of business for me was to make a map so we can follow along! I’ll put this in its own tab at the top of the page so that it’s easy to find when you need to see where the action is taking us.

I had a lot of fun making up names — in fact, I had to restrain myself so that I didn’t name every little islet! There are actually a lot of little towns and villages scattered among the islands, but if I started naming them all, you wouldn’t be able to see the map. So  I just stuck with places that will be relevant in the story (probably — we may not get to places like Bear Lake, in this story arc, anyway).

Apart from the original sketch, I made this map entirely in Photoshop. I’m still quite a newbie at it, and every time I use it, I find something new to do with it. This time I figured out how to make my lettering do an arc shape. And I tried a new blending mode for the mountains layer. Hooray! Knowledge increases!

And yes, I know I used Papyrus for a font; but I like it, so there. I may eventually do a handmade version of this, in which case it will be hand lettered.

The actual story will resume on Friday, and I’ll be posting Mondays and Fridays, as I did for the first chapter. Stay tuned!

Cartography, At Last

I love drawing maps. As a kid I drew pirate maps on old brown grocery bags, burning the edges to make them look old (with Mom’s help). In geography class, I lived for the feel of onionskin tracing paper, and the traced and coloured maps we were assigned. I had great fun recently making an updated map for Elizabeth Ann Scarborough’s Seashell Archives series. And at last I get to make one for my own world, the world of Mermaid Music.

I’ve had the shape of what the world looks like, or at least Sami’s little corner of it, in my mind for some time. Those familiar with the area around the west coast border of British Columbia and Washington State may recognize some influences here, though I’ve kept it very loose (I didn’t even look at a map because I didn’t want to get too close). My concept of the islands trade and the voyage The Mermaid will be taking grew out of the landscape of my home, on what we call the Salish Sea, which includes all the straits, sounds, and bays between our islands and the mainland, so it seemed a natural place to start.

This drawing was entirely made in Photoshop, based on a pencil sketch. There's still a lot of work to do, to give the land some more form, add place-names, a compass, and maybe a couple of "here there be dragons" kind of things!

This drawing was entirely made in Photoshop, based on a pencil sketch. There’s still a lot of work to do, to give the land some more form, add place-names, a compass, and maybe a couple of “here there be dragons” kind of things!

This drawing is a work in progress of the area where the next bit of the story will take place, or at least start. The Mermaid and her crew will be heading even further south, and I’ll expand the map as we go. As for names, I have a few, though the map is only roughed in, so I haven’t written them in yet. I’ll present a more finished version soon. (UPDATE: there is now a “map” tab in the top menu bar!)

Sami’s home is the island near the top with the two lakes. The little round bay on the west side of the island (assume standard map directions) where the two rivers come to the sea is Moon Bay, where the action so far has been taking place.