Monday, December 29, 2008

Dinotopia Map

Treasure Island began with a map that Robert Louis Stevenson sketched for his nephew on a rainy day.

Dinotopia also began with a map—though in the first map I called the island “Panmundia.” Once I had an idea of the overall shape and the kind of physical geography I wanted for the island, I sketched the island quickly in markers. The mountain and canyon relief is accentuated by an imaginary light source from the from the upper left. The original painting, below, was rendered in oil on illustration board.

It’s a good idea to add more place names than the ones you’re planning to use in a given story. This gives the feeling that the world exists beyond the boundaries of what you have revealed so far, and it also sets the stage for sequels.

In the most recent map of Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, drawn with a dip pen in a mid-19th century style, I added dozens of new town names. More about that process at the previous post on "Place Names."


Unknown said...

Was it on purpose that Dinotopia looks vaguely like Australia turned upside down?

Garrett said...

beautiful drawing.
Could you ever show us a look inside the "original journal" from village books. that would be interesting.

Doug said...

The birth of the name Dinotopia, did it really occur on that map? Is this the document? If so, that is one of the coolest posts you've made so far. Star, triple underline and here you are! Wonderful! That must of been a good day.

Erik Bongers said...

There is a Belgian Comic book author that created a whole imaginary world in a series of about 10 or 20 books. The world resembles our world in the 19th century but with some futuristic aspects. It is "how our world could have developed".
He developed his world in a rather Jules Verne like way.
His name is Francois Schuiten and his site is called Urbicande

His website also contains a large map that serves as a starting point for browsing.

A good impression of his work are his posters

Here's a video giving a bit of an intro to schuiten and his biggest architectural realisation so far : the Arts et Metiers metro station in Paris.

James Gurney said...

Professor: Yes, a coincidence, but the mind works in strange ways. Maybe I was thinking of the shape in some weird reversal.

Garrett: I wish I could. It's locked shut and at present part of a traveling Dinotopia exhibition stored away in the Norman Rockwell Museum vaults at the moment.

Doug: Yes, this was the first map, and the first time I wrote "Dinotopia."

Erik: Thanks for the superb links. Francois Schuiten is rather new to me, and it's a treat to see such a beautiful sensibility.

Stephen James. said...

Real interesting stuff.

Haha looks like it's not such a "terrible place" afterall. So what did the original name mean?

David Morning said...

Thought you might find this interesting, I found an archive online of old maps of quite a large range of areas.

Includes mostly watercolour and ink, but some oil ones too

K. W. Broad said...

Very nice to see even the early marker drawing of the map. It looks great!

I've always had an intrigue for map-making and have been trying to do one for my own project, but for some reason I've been finding them to be rather tricky to paint. I've studied a number of maps and even tried a little style mimicry to get started, but produced nothing satisfying so far. Seems to be something one develops their own style for.

Also thanks for the tip, adding more locations than one plans to use. Will certainly keep that in mind!