Friday, 22 January 2016

Off The Page Project #2: Maps Maps Maps

#2: Maps Maps Maps

Maps. What is a fantasy novel without a map? It's become the norm these days for every and any fantasy book to have its own map. Which is amazing, really..

My first true encounter with a map in a book was the ERAGON series. For hours as a kid I would sit and stare at it and illustrate parts of it (The towns, cities and desert, etc.) The terrain and imagination behind it utterly fascinated me. It remains to this day one of my favourite maps.


Maps greatly enhance the reading experience, that is a proven fact. The map in the THRONE OF GLASS series and the GRISHA trilogy are maps that I want to have framed on my wall one day. Along with A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSE'S Prythian and the Ice Court of SIX OF CROWS.

If England truly was split by Courts, I'd be living in the Autumn Court. Yikes. 

Urgh. MAP PORN. 

OCEAN OF INK AND TEETH's maps came right at the beginning of the original version in 2010, and they've barely changed since then. 

Andronia @ 2010
Plotting Andronia is still great fun. Though on the original drawing you can't really see it, the terrain varies drastically in some places. 

The Twin Islands (the blue islands) is where the Okyano, the "mermaids" reside. It's also where our heroine, Cascadia, lives. Now that I look back, I see that the islands were heavily inspired by Venice. (Canals, aqueducts and rivers and lakes. Also, like Venice, it is very slowly sinking beneath the waves. Hence its small landmass.) All in all, it's the perfect place for people who spend a great deal of time in or around water. Their livelihoods revolve around the ocean (they are natural born master fishermen.) The towns are built on raised bridges to prevent flooding, and the main city, Winonav, is nothing but rivers with the buildings tall and reaching up out of the water. Transport is swimming or boats. Instead of stone, the buildings there are created from a special type of white coral, hence the nickname for the city: The White City. The city is is essentially alive with the coral constantly growing and changing. 

Vyra to the north, capital of the people that have never changed and never will, the Tieranah, is built upon a mountain. It is a mountain. Well, an extinct volcano. The residents there have to deal with the steep climbs and have adapted long ago with incredibly strong muscles. Vyra's castle can be found at the top of the mountain. The higher up the mountain you live, the more important you are in the eyes of the people. The Tieranah occupy ALL of the yellow on the map. And they detest their watery neighbours. So you can see why the Okyano fear them and know that extinction is coming if nothing is done. The north is relatively dry and covered by lush forests and a few marshes. My trip to Scotland very much inspired Vyra. 

Finazea to the south is hot hot hot. The place is also volcanic, sporting a desert and the inhabitants have long been dark skinned because of the heat. Because of the high temperatures, the Finazean's are master craftsmen when it comes to working with metals and precious jewels. The best type of sword in Andronia is a Finazean sword. 
Finazea is Switzerland. Though its inhabitants are Tieranah, they harbour no ill will towards the Okyano. There's rumours of Okyano living there and dealing with the heat. Finazea was inspired by the Sahara desert. Also Namibia and African culture.

There are obviously many more places beside, but these three are the main ones. 

I have some sketches too. One of the map, and the other is Osa'ri.

So that's maps and typography! Plus a little info on the world in general. Up next? MYTHOLOGY! Take a dip into a few tales from Cascadia's world.


  1. I absolutely love maps in books—they're one of my favourite things. In fact, I just love maps in general. I love the map for your world too, because wow—you're organised. It's made me realise I should probably have a map for my own fantasy-isn novel. I'm definitely going to join in with OTPP!

    Ely @ Tea & Titles

    1. I adore drawing maps. Actually, I have a folder full of them! It makes navigating through cities etc SO much easier. Like wow. And definitely tell me when your OTPP post is up! Would love to read it!!!

      Nicola @ qotb