Artwork: A pine forest in Nezruthar

It’s December, and I haven’t fulfilled any of my goals for 2017… until today! I wanted to paint some new landscapes for my website’s header image; in particular, I wanted a wintry landscape for December, when snow starts falling on the website.

Naturally, I chose to paint Nezruthar!

Nezruthar, one of the places in my conworld

Edit: I’ve done some more work on the picture.
A landscape painting of Nezruthar


A new map of Tanurea

Here is my latest map of Tanurea, created with Campaign Cartographer 3 (yes, I’ve used the Annual DeRust style again!) and enhanced with Adobe Photoshop Elements 13:

A map of Tanurea created with CC3
A map of Tanurea created with CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 13

I am very proud of it! I wanted it to be a ‘work of art’ map, and I feel that it’s turned out well.

And here are some old maps of Razurea and Tanathia, just to remind myself how they looked before they became merged into one continent:

A map of Razurea made with CC3 and Adobe Photoshop, created in November 16.
An even older map of Razurea drawn with CC3 and Corel Photopaint, back in 2014.
An old map of Tanathia
A map of Tanathia created in July 2015 using CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 (I think)

As you can see, some elements have survived, some have been discarded and some have been adapted (and a lot of place names have been moved about!)

I did like the shape of the old Razurea, but I feel the new map is an improvement, especially when viewed as part of the world map.

10th century Tanurea

I’m still working on Tanurea.

Here’s a proper political map of Tanurea in the 10th century (as opposed to the scrappy map of 11th century Tanurea that I made yesterday). Notice how the place-names are still shifting around.

A map showing the kingdoms of Tanurea in the 10th century
A map showing the kingdoms of Tanurea in the 10th century, made using CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 13

I’d really like to design some flags for these kingdoms!

It could be a fantasy world in its own right…

Since I’ve been writing The Ruler of Ruins for the last month, I’ve decided to do some world-building that’s actually relevant to the novel.

You may recall that during my last period of world-building Tanathia and Razurea became merged into one continent. I’ve decided to call this new land… Tanurea.

Here’s an early attempt at mapping Tanurea, featuring (for the first time ever!!) a scale, so we can actually see how many miles places like Wayaiqua are from the coast.

An early draft of the Tanurea map, showing the climates
An early draft of the Tanurea map

Tanurea is a continent that spreads from frozen tundra in the north to the equatorial mangrove swamps in the south. As I was looking at this early draft, considering where all the natural resources were and what crops grew where, it struck me that it had all the elements needed for a self-contained fantasy world. You could just stick it at the front of a book and label it ‘The World of Tanurea’.

There’s just so much of Udaris to work on…

Anyway, I did some more tweaking, and this is what Tanurea looks like right now. There are more lakes in the north, and the continent of Zasulia (down at the bottom) has been moved west slightly.

A map of Tanura showing some of the kingdoms
Tanurea in the 11th century?

I also put in some place names to remind myself where everything is. Since the Naoskaiun and Tuyaz-Oan empires are both there on the map, I reckon it must be the 11th century.

First book review

Almost two years and nine months since it’s publication, The Web of War has received it’s first review on Amazon:

(Five stars) Really enjoyed this book

Really enjoyed this book, an epic fantasy in every sense of the word. Found myself drawn into the world of conflict and rivalry between the immortals and mortals. This book is full of exciting believable characters. You can sense that this was written by an author with a passionate imagination who draws you into this fantasy world.

Words can’t describe how happy this makes me!

New artwork by Maggie

Maggie has finished painting some beautiful digital artwork of my characters! I feel so lucky to have such a talented sister. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but no one brings my con-world to life like she does – the characters, the fashions, the landscapes, everything!

A new portrait of Arellesria. Known for her charm and beauty, she serves the Court of Thasenare and arranges Lord Yazelern’s banquets. She might not be the most powerful Nayusuru, but she is one of the most politically astute and influential.

Lord Tassedehami and Drathessa from the Court of Ebzazire. It’s so nice to see a picture of them together, and I love the atmosphere of this painting!

The books are back

I’ve been doing a lot of world-building lately, but now my thoughts are finally turning back to The Ruler of Ruins and how I’m going to continue writing it.

Earlier this year I decided that I’d rather publish my Askamar stories as web-fiction rather than novels.

Well… I’ve changed my mind!

Perhaps the main problem with novels is that they require plots, which means that I have to impose an artificial-feeling ‘dramatic structure’ on the history of my world. I also have to choose which point-of-view to focus on , which means that a lot gets left out.

On the other hand, it’s more satisfying to produce a novel, and it brings more focus to my writing projects.

It’s all a matter of different ways of depicting my con-world. Writing brings my world to life, but never perfectly. I feel like the articles on my website depict Askamar / Udaris more fully and ‘realistically’ (at least, those that are up-to-date!), but they they lack detail, emotion and description.

Anyway, I’ve decided that I’d like the website to act as a reference for the con-world, while the stories themselves remain in the published novels. It feels neater that way.

I know this has been an especially rambling blog entry! The main point is that the library has been re-arranged again. Descriptions and links to the published Askamar novels have been restored, and the web-fiction is gone (well, it’s not as if anyone was reading it!)

One of the ‘stories‘ that I’d posted in the library can still be read on this blog, however. I’ve produced a lot of writing for The Ruler of Ruins that just won’t fit into a novel, so I might add more early drafts and cut scenes to the blog later.

I’m also probably going to resume work on The Ruler of Ruins over the weekend. I might still even achieve my goal, which was to get to the end of the book by the end of the year!

Here be dragons!

I’ve taken a break from maps and instead done some more on the yuyarni re-desgin. The yuyarni now have the full set of bantagri horns, and they also have scales.

Yuyarni artwork by Louisa Watson
Artwork by Louisa Watson

They look so much like dragons, maybe that’s what I should call them from now on. Yuyarni (or yuyarri, ‘wandering people’) might just be the anevurahan name for them.

Maggie suggested that I should show how large they are compared to humans, so I drew some ‘dragon fighters’ with the help of CA3.

Yuyarni and humans drawn by Louisa Watson and CA3
Yuyarni drawn by Louisa Watson; humans drawn with the help of Character Artist 3

You would definitely be afraid if you met a yuyarni battle! No wonder the legions of Askamar are so formidable…

Fire, wind and sea…

Over the last week I’ve been re-watching a DVD series called How Earth Made Us – highly recommended for anyone interesting in conworlding, as it explains how natural forces shaped human history (so far I’ve watched the episodes on Water, Deep Earth and Air – as I recall, Fire is about the industrial revolution, so I might save that one for later). I’ve also been studying DK’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Earth.

The result of all this research is some new maps of Udaris.

Tectonic Plates

A map showing the tectonic plates of Udaris
Firstly, this is what I think the tectonic plates of Udaris might look like. The blue-shaded boundaries are divergent, meaning that the plates are pulling away from each other and creating a rift. The red-shaded boundaries are convergent, meaning that the plates are smashing into each other and creating mountains.

Since I know I’ll never remember that, I’ve also helpfully included arrows showing which way the plates are travelling.

Wind Patterns

A map showing the wind patterns of Udaris
Here are the prevailing winds  of Udaris – the trade winds, the westerlies and the polar easterlies. Along the equator are the doldrums and hurricanes (I imagine the south-east coast of Skanshuria and and the north-east coast of Zasulia get the worst hurricanes).

I haven’t put in the seasonal winds because it made the map look too complicated, but I understand that, where there is a large expanse of land, they flow inland during the summer and seaward during the winter. The result of this is dry winters and summer monsoons.

Ocean Currents

A map showing the ocean currents of Udars
This is the map I feel least confident about – but at least it looks good! Having studied the little chart in the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Earth, it looks like currents flow in a circular pattern, carrying warm water away from the equator and cold water towards it.

One day I might create more sophisticated and accurate maps of the plates, wind patterns and ocean currents, but these will do for now!

The new Udaris map

Here is the new map of Udaris, drawn in simplified form (later, I’ll make a more detailed version using Campaign Cartographer):

A map of Udaris drawn in September 2017
As you can see, it’s undergone some big changes!

Most significantly: Razurea and Tanathia have become fused into one continent; it’s now possible for early humans to have travelled by land from west to east; and Zasulia has become connected to the southern continent (which used to have a name, but I’ve long forgotten it). Hasrukia has remained an island, though.

The continents have also moved much closer together, to make both trade and the colonization of the globe by early humans easier (later, I’ll make a map showing how and when humans colonized Udaris).

Of course, this meant I had to make the ocean bigger, too. About two-thirds of our own world is covered in water, and I wanted Udaris to be the same.

By using the ‘spherize’ tool in Adobe Photoshop Elements, I’ve managed to make some new globes:

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I’ve even been able to see what the poles look like by using the ‘polarize’ tool. It wasn’t easy to work out how to do this, though. As a note to my future self (and anyone else who wants to see what the poles of their conworld look like), you need to crop the map at the equator, turn the canvas into a square with the map at the top, fill the bottom part in black, then hit the polarize button.

The north pole of Udaris
The north pole of Udaris
The south pole of Udaris
The south pole of Udaris

I’m excited to see how my globes will look once I’ve re-done the map in Campaign Cartographer!

An epic fantasy saga