Oborsurea and Skanshuria revisited

As I said in my last post, I’m working through the continents of Udaris, giving my maps what I hope will be a final polish – making sure they’re all labelled with the same font, re-positioning the labels so that they look nicer, adding in a few more names etc.

I’m also re-writing their entries in the website’s reference section. My original idea was for each page to have a map of natural features, a political map, perhaps some historical political maps (I made loads of these showing the history of Tanurea last year), descriptions of the natural landscape, histories, maybe even timelines…

This was proving hard work (I have plenty of notes on the continents, but it’s not easy to condense them down into something concise, informative and well-written!) Anyway, I recently decided that I didn’t want to clutter my website with too much detail. So, now each continent has just two paragraphs mentioning its most interesting lands (as in, the ones I feel like working on – not the most wealthy and powerful!)

Here are my new Oborsurea and Skanshuria maps. They’re no different from the old versions, except that I’ve done more work on the labels.

A map of Oborsurea created with CC3 A map of Skanshuria created with CC3

A map of Zasulia

Now I’ve created my rotating globe, I’m working my way back through the continents, producing what I hope will be the final versions of these maps. I used to think Skanshuria was my largest continent, until I re-drew Zasulia…

A map of Zasulia created with CC3

A map of Zasulia created with CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 18

You can see what Zasulia used to look like on my old world map (it’s the continent in the lower-right corner, in case you can’t recognise it!)

Zasulia’s shape has changed significantly during the 2017-18 redesign. It’s now connected to the south pole, and the large island of Hasrukia (to the left of Zasulia in the old map – I really should have included some labels!) is now close enough to be part of the continent.

These changes have resulted in an expanse of land to the south that I don’t feel like populating with yet more kingdoms etc, so I’ve left it as a wilderness. Why haven’t people settled there? I haven’t decided. Possibly it was the site of an ancient magical cataclysm that left the region uninhabitable…?

I like the idea of places that the world’s inhabitants have yet to discover; while I seem to favour the ‘top-down’ approach to con-worlding, it gives me the freedom to keep imagining new things.

The Rotating Globe

Ok, here it is: my new pride and joy!

For over a year now I’ve wanted to create a rotating globe of my conworld. I worked out how to do it using the sphere effect in Adobe Photoshop Elements and slideshow option in the WordPress gallery, but it was clear that I needed to redraw the world map first.

As you can see, there were trees down in the south pole back in 2016.

A Globe of Udaris created in November 2016 using CC3 and Adobe Photoshop 13.

After spending some time working out the proportions of my conworld, I produced this draft version of the rotating globe in September 2017.

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Since then I’ve been redrawing the continents in Campaign Cartographer 3 and pasting them onto a giant world map. At long last, the project is complete! Here is the animated rotating globe of Udaris!

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At last, the new Udaris world map is complete!

Back in August 2017, I decided to redesign the mundane world. I’ve been working on it (one and off) all this time, figuring out the proportions of the world, thinking about plate tectonics and climate, redrawing each continent with CC3 and adding them onto the world map.

This is what my conworld looked like in August 2017:

This is what it looks like today:
A map of Udaris created using CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 18
I know it looks strange when the whole world is flattened, so here’s the version I’m using for the Udaris reference page:A map of Udaris created using CA3 and Adobe Photoshop 18
And finally, here are the poles of Udaris:

A map of the north pole of Udaris created using CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 18 A map of the south pole of Udaris created using CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 18

I shall unveil the rotating globe tomorrow!

Some thoughts on art

I’ve decided that if I want to improve as an artist, I need to cultivate more patience and attention to detail. I also need to believe that no matter how ugly my first few attempts are, eventually each picture will turn into something worthwhile if I keep working on it.

Looking back on my latest digital painting, I realised I could greatly improve it if I just spent a bit more time on the details.  Continue reading

Anevurah: personal pronouns

Identity is important to the Ankaykari, so personal pronouns feature heavily in their language. There is one set for the Esu (the ruling elite) and another for the Nayusuru (the servant class).

There are also pronouns for non-Ankaykari: one set for mortals (which includes not only dragons, humans and Kaniyari, but animals and plants) and inanimate objects / abstract ideas.  Continue reading

My thoughts on creating conlangs

For years I’ve been happily creating characters, countries, histories and creatures for my conworld… but no languages. The closest I’ve got are lists of words (sometimes with accompanying notes on grammar) to help me add place-names to my maps.

For many people it seems to be the other way around – they create a world for their conlangs to exist in, rather than languages for their conworld.

I did give some thought to languages back in 2016, and, having read several blog posts about conlanging, I’m feeling inspired again. I’m especially interested in the idea that language and culture are intertwined (our language determines how we interact with others, after all!)

The problem is, I’m not naturally interested in languages themselves. French and Latin are the only ones I’ve studied, and that was years ago. The conlanging guides I’ve read are filled with strange words and concepts that make no sense to me. I fear that any languages I do create for my world will just look stupid / poorly-planned / too much like English.

On the other hand, I’m not trying to impress anyone with my conlanging skills. If, in later years, I look back at my first attempts and realise they could be improved, I can always start again (after all, I’m always re-drawing my maps). I may not be interested in languages, but I am extremely interested in my conworld, and maybe that’s enough for now!

Conworlding with Focus

“Don’t cram every detail of your world-building into your story,” is well-known writing advice, but what about when it comes to depicting a conworld?

I always wanted my website to be a complete work of reference for Askamar and Udaris, and I had this idea that the more details I added, the more ‘real’ my conworld would seem. After all, completeness is one of the criteria on which a conworld is judged.

However, I’ve realised that too many details are overwhelming. If I put everything that ever happened in the history of the world into my timeline, it’s harder to recognise key historical events. Over in the reference section, entries on kingdoms become swamped amid entries on their towns, forests and castles. Real-world reference books aren’t like that – clearly, their authors choose what to include and what to leave out!

So, I’ve been working on my timeline again. There are now fewer entries, but they go into more detail, and I’ve only included events from the last 500 years (I might make a separate timeline for ancient history).

I’ve also started polishing the reference section, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for ages! Again, there are fewer entries, but they are more detailed, and hopefully more meaningful as a result.

Why worry about ‘realistic’ dragons?

I always thought I should try to make my conworld as realistic as possible, even if it is a fantasy conworld. If I wanted my dragons to have six limbs (four legs and two wings), I needed to make other six-limbed creatures to suggest a common family tree. Then I decided that all the mortal creatures of Askamar originally came from the mundane world, where vertebrates have only four limbs… and so, I redesigned the dragons.
A picture of some yuyarni
I had this idea that maybe the dragons had evolved from pterodactyls (even though they look nothing like pterodactyls), but over time they began to look more and more like traditional western fantasy dragons. Continue reading