Since my last cross-stitch update, I've been working entirely without a guide. I bought a big piece of fabric and started trying to freehand map elements. And, yeah, a lot of the blogging I've missed lately is because I whittled away my free hours every day last week watching Supernatural and working on cross-stitch maps. The first thing I did was try and create some icons for later use in larger maps. I worked top-down on this section. Not super happy with how the forest came out -- it isn't terrible, but I think I could do better. I'm thrilled with the mountains, though. They look really cool.
The compass rose came out quite well, but the letters don't match very well, and the N looks terrible. Font consistency is something I'm going to have to figure out.
Next, I did some terrain samples. I think the best one by far is the desert, but it was also the most work. These terrain types don't all necessarily match very well -- the swamp and water are very icon-style, but the desert is much more realistic looking.
The Tundra is just terrible.
The first map test! I think I learned some important things from this one. Among them: I need to be a lot more conscious of my color palette choices from the beginning -- the beach doesn't match the forest very well, nor does the water; the forest icon doesn't match the base terrain; I need to know exactly what my ranges are in the beginning so I don't do things like I did by the mountains, where the dry land behind them is greener than what's supposed to be more pleasant land to their west.
There are also serious problems with scale in this map. The river, forest icon, and mountains imply a pretty distant zoom-out, but the width of the beach suggest a much closer perspective.
The swamp makes basically no sense, and the color variance in the landmass could pretty much have served the purpose that the icons cover, so I think iconography is going to have to be a bigger feature only in maps with a smaller color palette.
Text test. I need to be able to write in smaller text than is possible when using whole squares as pixels. This size could still be difficult, but at least I could conceivably use it to label some places, sometimes.
This is my favorite one on this sample. It looks like a pirate map! I considered adding some red stitching for a dotted line and big red X. All the iconography seems to really work here, and I'm quite happy with the way this kind of forest looks. My first attempt at cross-stitching a map from a pre-existing image is probably going to be in this style or a similar one.
Here's the whole piece of fabric, which used to be twice as wide. I cut it in half because I got a scroll frame that is too small for the whole thing, and I'm using the other piece right now to stitch a very big copy of my finishing stamp.