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Tolkien-style Map Brushes by calthyechild Tolkien-style Map Brushes by calthyechild
Image pack HERE: [link]


:iconthewhitecrayon: converted this and the "I want more mountains" brush set for the GIMP with my permission and can be found here. [link]


Woot! I probably spent no more than 30 seconds on each brush. >_> It's up to you to add scatter effects and figure out how to use them.

As usual: free for use for absolutely everything and anything you feel like, EXCEPT for redistributing the brush pack. I define free as 'does not require any effort on your part outside of making the actual image', rather than 'it's free as long as you link me to the final image and credit me and don't use it commercially or off of DeviantArt'. Use them commercially! Use them in your comic! Use them in your novel! Use them on your head! Don't credit me if you don't want to! Don't show me if you're too lazy or think it's awful! (but I will fave what's done with my brushes on DeviantArt.)

If you really like them and want to do me a favor, link to my comic, which is the sole reason I make Photoshop brushes. In this case, it's obviously to make a map. [link]

A fave if you use them, might use them, or like them would be awesome.
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Grafsburg Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2016
Used these for my Dungeons & Dragons maps, absolutely beautiful brush set!
MDO2010 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is fantastic - thank you!
toteZitrone Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
OMG OMG OMG.... I was sarching for an easy way to build up maps eg for PnP for AGES, and now I accidentally stumbeled across this. THANK YOU!
King2099 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2016
Better than what Martin would think of.
BJBposeruser Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you
Atmo-Art Featured By Owner Edited Dec 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Your brushes worked very well for my map.  10/10 for the vaguely triangular shaped blobs masquerading as mountains!
lunchymunchies Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015
Where are the download links? All those links just go to other Deviant Art pages and not, like, ZIP files or something.
calthyechild Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, that's because the actual zip file download is (currently) on the right side of the page, above the fold, about 200 pixels down, right above the 'more' thumbnails, and not in the artist comments. :)

It messes me up too, DA keeps moving it.
Sateenkaari-Ranch Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
-> Makes me want to download them, even that I have no idea what to do with it :D
Maybe I make a fantasy-looking stable map for my HARPG barn :)
Hydr0phobic Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015  Student Artist
Thank you :) 
debbsmith Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2015
thank you! great brushes and textures.
FunDoom Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
These are perfect for a map I'm trying to make!
xSodeNoShirayukix Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Gosh, this is awesome! I am currently in the process of making a map for my first novel, this is just what the doctor ordered! Thank you!!
calthyechild Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015  Student Digital Artist
There are tons more map resources in my folders if you take a look. :) Thanks.
pirmas407 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015
These are brilliant. Thank you so much for your work.
hephaesteon Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Love these! I ended up using several in a map I made for the roleplay I'm involved in (map ahoy:…). Thank you so much for sharing them with us!
Phandorica Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
These are so perfect! ~ 
I will be using them on the map I'm making for my fantasy book series, and if I post the image on here I will link to this page. c:
Shepsus Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2015  Professional Writer
Unfortunately, I only have Photoshop CS2, the brushes didn't work! NooOOo
but awesome brushes. 
calthyechild Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Hmmm, I made the brushes in CS2, so I can't imagine any reason why they wouldn't work! Did you extract the brush file?
Shepsus Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015  Professional Writer
Don't worry! I wasn't clicking the incorrect one... All my fault. Thank you SO much for these. THey are awesome. 
GhostHead-Nebula Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014

Gonna use it for my own map. A previous version is done, planning to "update" it:

AET - World Map by GhostHead-Nebula

I'll link you final product when I'm done :)
TheWarOfTheRing Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015
Nice! Needs a bit of work (two rivers cross over each other), and just to let you know, An Elves' Tale is grammatically incorrect. If you're trying to say it's a tale about a singular Elf, it should be An Elf's Tale, or An Elv's Tale/An Elve's Tale if you want to use to "f to v" change Tolkien employed. Note where the apostrophe goes. Can't wait to see the final product :)
Axe-Canabrava Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Not quite. It's Elf/Elves, because he modelled it on plurals like life/lives and knife/knives.
TheWarOfTheRing Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015
I know, I misplaced the apostrophe :P
Axe-Canabrava Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist

I like that "dwarves" entered the popular lexicon, especially since Tolkien created that plural to show how Middle-Earth is *different* from our world where dwarfs aren't an entire culture. He even used "dwarrows" once, following the goose/geese logic.
TheWarOfTheRing Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015
…dwarrows rhymes with geese?
Axe-Canabrava Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's a linguistics thing. Instead of adding an S, you change the vowel sounds. Goose/geese, mouse/mice, woman/women, and in this case dwarf/dwarrows (or dwerrows).

Both Old English and Welsh, languages that Tolkien studied very closely, featured more of those plurals. Did you know that in Old English the plural of "book" was "beek"? XD
TheWarOfTheRing Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2015
Huh. Evidently, I'm anything but a linguistics expert, but I'll take your word for it that this makes sense :P

...beek. That is weird.
GhostHead-Nebula Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015
It's on plural by purpoise. There's more then 1 elf involved in that haha (BTW I'm not english myself xD)

And thanks for feedback. You should check this out:

MAP - Aegnor by GhostHead-Nebula

Still needs more towns and such. So has to be still modified lol
TheWarOfTheRing Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015
Alright then, it'd be The Elves' Tale, or Tales if there's more than one tale. Better yet, The Tale of the Elves. Doesn't have the same ring to it, but you can't go wrong with a "The X of the Y" title :D

I'd also suggest a little more variety in the shape of the land - at the moment, it seems a bit too generic fantasy land-ish. Real coastlines have tons of curves, divots and points, not to mention offshore islands, and they're rarely as clearcut as Aegnor is at the time being.
GhostHead-Nebula Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2015
Hmm... could add more bays and such, or even bigger lakes inside to make Aegnor a more irregular place. Thanks for suggestion
TheWarOfTheRing Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015
Welcome :)
MikanYukihara Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014
nir90911 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2014
thank you
zeetak Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2014
thank you! 
GalaxyWafflez Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
is there a version for sai anywhere? love love LOVE the brushes btw~ Fangirl 
UnseenHarbinger Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much :)
SeleneTheWerewolf Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014
This is awesome, thanks for allowing people to use it :D
Dantedevilhunter Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Student Interface Designer
Thanks For the Amazing Brushes 
leedunning Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much - these will be very useful.
45dragoons Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2014
i will link you if i use the brushes. 
inkybee Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer


(but seriously I was crying over this map I'm making and your stamps were a godsend <3)
calthyechild Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Well, I hope you found the several other map brush sets in my gallery as well. :) There's way more than just this set. There are two sets of mountains as well as a tutorial set that contains basically like a hundred and fifty different things. Lots of things. It's great. I use it myself.

I use my own brushes for map commissions so I share your sentiments on having to hand draw each and every individual little thing. I've made a fairly large variety of brushes, some of which I haven't released yet, because I keep running into new things I want. :D Trees with shadows, for example... another one I have yet to release are 'mountain ranges', though I realized quickly I wanted large clumps of pre-drawn mountains. And at some point I hope to do "ground textures", because I hand-draw all of my deserts and usually grasslands too, since I haven't made decent brushes to cover the entire ground.

Anyway, cheers, and don't cry over maps, they should be fun!
inkybee Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Oh I love maps. The crying is just when I can't use the software (I only just switched from hand-drawn to using photoshop). The rest of the time I'm researching plate tectonics and ecology and geology and ranting at anyone who will listen about how you can't have an atoll like all these popular maps have without realising there's a volcano in the middle and that means a seismically active area, and you can't just randomly put mountain ranges everywhere you have to think about them (Tolkien I am looking at your square-ass mountain range), and like, you can't put a desert without putting mountains on one side. Lol I will not shut up about this, world-building is like breathing to me. Don't get me started on fjords. I spent like six hours drawing fjords pixel by pixel. But apparently having to draw trees is too hard and I need a rubber stamp for that. Go figure. :lol:
calthyechild Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
My pet peeve is rivers... rivers do not fork off and go in two different directions to the sea, or spring up out of swamps, or spring forth from the middle of a lake and go into multiple directions... little creeks run into big rivers... (facepalm) You know, for fantasy stuff I'm willing to give some leeway for say, Tolkien's square mountain range (it drove me crazy as a kid but I figured it was probably like, a man-made range or something) but without some justification like "we dug it that way", rivers don't go through the entire country from sea to sea either. And then it's not really a river.

But, I do commissions, so I have to work with the person's sketch of how they want their land to be! I usually try suggest changes but if I try make more natural rivers/islands/mountain ranges and they really want their layout, well, then I have to put in the bad geography. Ah well.

All this time though and no one has ever requested an atoll! Go figure.

Anyway, I understand. I devolve into seething rage over rivers... so I really do understand. (grumbles) And it's not like geology is that hard to understand, I'm not exactly highly educated, I know what I know from one little elective I took in high school and like, educational TV shows. I knew about the rain shadow effect when I was 12.

The only really fjordy map I ever did I got pretty nitpicky over the jagged cuts too. But, I still use stamps for my trees! I go crazy drawing each and every little tree. I have a few dozen different trees now, though, varying sized clumps and types of trees instead of just the Tolkienesque circly trees I started with.
inkybee Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Rivers still aren't a thing I know much about, so I would probly piss you off with my map (I'm from the desert, is my only excuse. I'm surprised I remember rivers at all), cos I've got it all backwards apparently. Whoops. I guess deltas are what got me thinking big rivers branch off into little ones. Fuck now I feel like I need to redraw my entire Magic Kingdom map. D8 Would you mind having a look and helping me fix the rivers and lakes if they're wrong? I'd be really grateful.
calthyechild Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Lol, I took a look at your map afterwards and I was like 'WELP'. Wasn't actually pissing on your rivers! :D I'm from Canada and I know very little about say... rainforests and coral reefs, so y'know. (And when I started doing maps... I thought that rivers came out of the ocean. YEP.) (Also, hey, what mountain brushes are you using? Those look pretty awesome, I wanna check out whoever does those mountains, they are nice.)

Anyway, you don't need to redraw the entire thing, just reroute a couple of rivers!

Hokay, so! Let's start at the bottom.

Deltas! I love deltas, drawing them is awesome. Basically, rivers always take the path of least resistance. That means that if a river forks around something, eventually it will erode down and start taking the path of least resistance, eventually wearing down so deep that it only goes around one side of the thing. Or, it will wear right down through the thing. So a delta happens when a river is carrying a bunch of sediment. So roughly when it hits the standing water that cannot wash away the sediment fast enough to keep it from building u p, you get unstable routes built up, and things like flooding can make the rivers build up new steeper routes, etc.

So you have two points where you have deltas. The one near Dauphin makes perfect sense. It's cutting through what seems to be unstable swampland, and that's ideal ground to be carrying tons of sediment and then hitting slow moving ocean water. Plus there's a good chance that there'll be flooding in that area which can also contribute to delta formation. The other point where you have a delta, near the top of the map on the right, is also feasible... it looks to me like that's going to be rocky area though so I think it's less likely. Oops, missed one. There's one in the middle by Ufwundria. I'm not sure how I feel about a lake feeding into deltas like that... I'm not sure that the delta could have formed with all of that still water right there. There wouldn't be the impetuous needed to collect all of that sediment. More likely that you'd see a delta leading into the lake, and the lake sort of casually draining into the ocean through a pinch point.

Now, lakes. You have a few major lakes. Around Dauphin it makes perfect sense. Low swamplands. You're going to be seeing rivers spreading out into flat swaths of water in that kind of land, filling up any gaps in the area. In fact, in that kind of area I'd guess there's probably a lot of rainfall, and you're probably going to see some lakes that aren't attached to rivers, just rainfall fed dugouts. The big sea up in Kremlenzra by that delta would probably be the passage the river takes, there's not likely to be a river passing beside that huge chasm of a lake without spilling into it. Path of least resistance here. Pretty much everything else lakeish looks fine. A good classic river to look at is the Nile.…

You get your large lakes up on higher levels feeding into your rivers, the rivers spilling out on lower, wider points of ground where there's nothing to really hold it in. That's how lakes usually are--feeding a river because they're glacially fed, spring-fed lakes, or rainfall reservoirs. So keep in mind the climate you're seeing... and the overall height of the land. Flatlands will see spillage, rivers widening into lakes. Mountains will see high captured lakes feeding rivers. Etc.

So, keeping in mind the path of least resistance, here’s how your rivers are going to work.

The river between Agraba city is probably fine. You might see a little bit of branching near the top, where little streams run from higher points and get caught up in it. Seeing how it’s going through desert, you may see some points where it branches out. It’s quite straight, and because of that it makes sense that it’s draining into a thin point of land. Likewise, the river to the right of it is probably okay. I would expect to see a few other smaller rivers running into the sea on the opposing side of the mountains there. And probably a larger lake feeding these rivers being as it’s desert and there’s unlikely to be a glacier feeding them.

The river to the LEFT of that is not okay. It’s not going to drain into the ocean at four different points. If you were to split it so there’s a couple of rivers that start up from a point in the mountains there, though, or make it so that instead of four draining points, you see four smaller streams running into it, that would be more accurate.

If you were to make the river that drains near Blaecwymord start up somewhere and run into the main river it would be fine.

The river that starts up by Arborglith and runs through the lake would NOT split off to go up through Schleifenstadt. The lake is obviously lowlands, and while it might delta to enter that lake, it’s just going to exit to the ocean there. If you disconnect the branches of river to the north of that so that either they start up somewhere and drain into that lake, or just drain into the river by Nyen, it’ll make more sense. I think the most sensible point would be for the two little rivers that enter at the north of the Ufwundria lake to start in the mountains just north of that and run into the river. Then you get a second river that starts from the same mountains and runs to the east past Nyen, consolidating it into one passage that goes through the lake, and exits near Kremlnzra.

The river by Kingsait is almost fine. I’d make it two rivers. The one that starts from the mountain would probably drain through that valley point, but it looks like you have a rocky location there and it’s quite likely you could see a second river sprout up and drain on the westward cost there. The little river above Grencau would, as stated, only drain in one point, but you could have several little streams running out of those mountains too. So mostly all of these are easy to fix, just redirect the rivers a little bit so they drain in one place, maybe add lakes near where they start in some places, or just let them run down from the mountains... that’s fine.

It’s the rivers around Dauphin and that little continent that I have no idea how to approach what you did. It’s clear you have mountains by Wysparona and Handelord, and then on the east as well, but between that you’ve drawn swampland. You’re probably not going to see any major rivers cutting through the west of that continent. It’s very rocky. Things are just going to rush straight towards the ocean... starting up and taking the path of least resistance. It’s the more northern mountains there where you’ll probably see any major rivers coming from, for example the river underneath Handelord. There would probably not be a river coming dowm from Wysparona to Brizenduzee, because the land evidently raises up at some point between those two points (as you’ve drawn mountains). The first point would probably exit in the little space between, and then you’d see more springing up in the second set of mountains. If the land is very high around Shaddenburg, it’s possible we could see a lake feeding a river that runs down, getting trapped in that central lake under Meerstad--likewise, it’s possible we could see lakes by Handelord and Meerstad feeding into that main stream, but because you’ve drawn swampy lowland near Meerstad I’m thinking it’s more likely any lake drainage would go towards the sea from there. I love what you did with the rivers meandering through the swamp, just keep in mind that all of your rivers will be pulled in that direction--heading for the lowest possible land, taking the steepest paths, meandering to the sea.

Basically, this is where you’re going to need the most reworking is all the little river systems on that continent. Really keep in mind the height of the land, where it’s going to pull the water. For example, the inlet about Brizenduzee looks like a low point that would definitely pull in water, but that water would probably be fed by a lake in the mountains right above that, or a spring or a glacier. If glacially fed, you’re probably going to see some form of fjording in the rocky terrain around there.

Oh yeah, and on that note, you’re probably going to see a bit more fjording in the mountains around the Northern passage. Any rivers starting in that area would be glacially fed, likely as not. Here’s a link for a river I’m familiar with.… The North Sask river is a galacially fed river and you can really see the difference in how the water collects in a non-desert, hey? Lots of little tiny rainwater/spring lakes. Everything on the left quarter (though you can’t see it) is all mountain and you can see how many things start up there, little tiny creeks and streams that all eventually get gobbled up by the North Sask river as it chews through Alberta and past North Battleford there. By the time you’re there, the land’s flattened out into nearly desert-like prairie, and you can really see it by how there’s no rivers starting up on the south east portion of the map. Anything that cuts through there gets grabbed by the main river’s valley. Any little lakes aren’t connected to the river system, they’re just standing bodies of water.

Any rivers fed by a mountain in the north will be subject to seasonal flooding when all the snow melts, so you’re going to see points where it just spreads out like crazy, but if it’s not spreading out like crazy you’re going to have to have a deep valley that’s basically inescapable for littler water routes. I expect you’ll see that kind of seasonal flooding near the Dauphin point, for one thing, and so you might want to consider how your inhabitants would deal with that. Building dykes, or overflow routes, etc...

Also, carrying on that note, here’s the map of the Canadian/American Red River.… Get a look at Lake Winnipeg up there, a glacially carved lake. That lake eats up like 8 different rivers and then drains towards Hudson’s bay. To get the zoomed out view of how the rivers work, and what it drains towards...…

Because the area was carved out by a glacier, there’s a huge flat prairie now that used to be lake bottom and sees tons of flooding every winter.

But if you want some reassurance that rivers can sometimes just do their own dang thing, here’s the Red River in China to look at.…

It’s perfectly sensible, obeys all anticipated movement... gobbles up the littler rivers as it gets closer to the sea... and then splits off into several crazy little directions. The reason for it of course is that it’s actually a delta there, caused by the heavy amount of red silt the river picks up, but it doesn’t look like a ‘traditional’ fan shaped delta.

Anyway, basically, in short everything eventually gets eaten up by the lowest possible point and into the sea. I always work from largest to smallest when doing my rivers. I place any lakes first. Then I draw the major rivers. Then the less major rivers, tributaries that feed in. Then I draw any creeks, etc. Depending on the level of detail of the area.

So, keep in mind the basic rule of river valleys pulling everything down. You should really be able to get a feeling for the shape of the land based on how the rivers creep on through. Cheers!

If you can't get it I'd be happy to redline but I get the feeling you'll be fine. Your map is lovely, it's very realistic already.
NerdiChic Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oreias Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2014  Hobbyist
omg! this is awesome! :D
The-Serene-Mage Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
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