So, I’ve finally have finished my first map. It took a really long time, but I think I just needed to get a routine down. Taking an iPad and apple pencil on the subway commute really enhanced my productivity. I was able to spend focused time drawing out all the things I got hung up on (mountains). It is much easier than sitting at a desk with a monitor and wacom tablet.

On the subway, I primarily created the line art and filled in the mountains and forests. I had to jump on my laptop to create the colors, textures, labels and other graphic design features.

Initial line art

I had wanted to see how the Malazan world would look on colorful map for many years. And, I’ve been exploring learning to design maps since finding Fantastic Maps a long time ago. It took a while to find a style I felt comfortable with. I kept adding textures too soon because I really like photoshop, but taking time to do the line art was essential to moving forward.

Completed Map

This weekend is where I really doubled down on finishing the map. Late Friday night, I finished adding all of the labels. Then on Saturday I created all the borders and did miscellaneous editing. Yesterday, I added a couple missing forests and mountains and posted to Cartographer’s Guild. I should have waited to post, but I got excited. It is important to call things finished. It makes moving on to other things easier and gives one some context for knowing how much effort is involved with a particular project.


  • Martin Loeng says:


    I am seeking inspiration for a Genabackis-oriented RPG, and this map of Seven Cities just blew mind face right off. If it ever gets that far and my friends want proper maps and things, is it possible to purchase these maps in some way?

    I just wanted to tell you how impressed and inspired I was by this map. Brings it to life in a really good way!

    • joshuabbutler says:

      Hi Martin,
      Thanks for the comment!

      Interestingly enough, I’m working on a Genabackis map as we speak. It is a bit more refined than this Seven Cities map, but it’s also in a different style. I’m getting close to finishing. But, I’m also trying to find a personal style as well, so I keep “not finishing” it.

      It would be fun to work on an actual RPG. We can keep the conversation going!

      Glad you liked the map! it was my first real attempt.

      How did you come across this post?

  • Jonathan says:

    Just my congrats, sir. 🙂

  • Rahul more says:

    Just saw your maps, they are incredible and beautiful to look at. If you can do the World map for Malazan series it would be great for the fans of the series. Great work.

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