Map of My World – CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
I. Why Create A Map?
To answer this question, read World-Building: Map-Making (Part 1)
II. Where To Begin? How Do I Create A Map?
To answer this question, read World-Building: Map-Making (Part 2)
III. Let’s Start Building
I’ll take you step-by-step and give you examples by showing you how I created my world in Photoshop.
A. Create Your Landmasses and Oceans
If using a program that uses layers (such as Photoshop), start by creating your ocean on one layer and then all your landmasses (including islands and the poles) on a second layer.
CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES
On the above map/s there are two layers: the ocean in blue and the landmasses in tan. This is a very basic beginning of a world map. Later, we’ll rough up the edges of the continents and refine the landmasses and islands (even add some). For now create as many landmasses as you desire. Maybe you want a world full of nothing but island chains, or maybe just one super continent. It’s your world, so you have free creative reign.
B. Create Your Biomes/Ecosystems
The next step is to create the various biomes that will make up your world. Here is a simplified list of Earth’s biomes:
1. Tundra – Polar desert, no trees, only top four inches of soil thaws in summer; winter average temps around -20 °F, summer temps rise as high as 50°F.
2. Taiga (Boreal Forest) – Coniferous forests found throughout the high northern latitudes, between tundra and temperate forest. Short summers, long winters.
World’s largest land biome.
3. Temperate Deciduous Forest – Well defined seasons of warm and cold; varying ranges of rainfall; fertile soils, many different tree species, understory shrubs and herbaceous plants.
4. Tropical Rainforest – Near Equator, high rainfall and humidity; soils devoid of nutrients; lush, layered canopy with high diversity of life.
5. Grasslands (Prairies, Savanna, Steppe) – Interior of continents and within rain shadows; hot summers, cold winters; frequent droughts and fires. Mostly grasses, some woody plants, little trees; supports large numbers of herbivores.
6. Desert – Within a belt along the equator, stretching from 30°S to 30°N in latitude and in rain shadows of mountains. Very little and unpredictable precipitation. Warm deserts–mild winters; cold deserts–long winters with temperatures well below freezing. Nutrient -poor soils, sparse plant cover; rich in reptiles and rodents, most animals are nocturnal.
Forests – 38% + Grasslands – 23% = 61% of Earth’s Terrestrial Biomes
As you can see nearly two-thirds of earth’s biomes are covered by either forests or grasslands. In addition, grasslands, savannas and woodlands are part of a continuum that are divided arbitrarily, which leads to great variations in the estimates by different authorities of the area occupied by each type. As the following graph shows, there is considerable overlap of these biomes.