To start with map creation I took a cutie (or clementine) and tore it up.
Then I used that and some tracing paper to work out the basic concept of a map.
Originally I used this site to get ideas for naming the cities and counties. The site is great and it gave me a good place to start, rather than dwelling on the names to avoid writing.
Once I had written book one, I wanted to make the map fit the story better and create something I could put in the book along with Lia's journal pages. I used Procreate on my tablet to create this piece.
I really loved this one! It came closer to the image I held in my mind but it wasn't complete. As you can see, I was AWFUL at adding mountain ranges and the entire map looked as though it was covered in forest. I found an amazing artist on Reddit who made the map I now use for everything!
I love everything about this map!! The trees, the towns, the bridge, the mountains, the font. I asked her to make Draug more dangerous and she added that steep cliff edge around it, which I thought was perfect. The changes made to the compass were perfect, and honestly, I think I'm going to get it as a tattoo.
If you're writing a story, I hope this story of my process helps to give you some ideas on how to bring your own map to reality. If you are a fan of the story, I hope you enjoyed an inside look at the creative process <3