Getting started: 

The cartographer requires a few materials to maximize his/her workingpotential. Paper, obviously, is a must. Sometimes doodling a map on thewall of your Vertebrate Zoology class is fine, but to really create a goodmap, you need paper. For the rough draft I recommend lined, loose paper.This will suit you fine until you have the map totally laid out. For themiddle drafts, I recommend regular, loose leaf, printing paper. This willgive you a clear view of your rivers, shorelines, etc. And for the final,all important draft I recommend the semi-sturdy, thick paper that has theflexibility of construction paper and that does not allow ink to seep throughit. 

Pencils and pens are the prime drawing tools of a map maker, but I findhi-lighters, colored pencils, and even crayons useful for indicating separatethings on the rough and middle drafts. A regular, 2 hardness pencil isfine for making your first draft, and erases very well. A good pen is adefinite must. Any final draft that you do must be in a good, well definedblack ink. Regular BICTM pens leave a greasyink, and I prefer micro-point ball-point pens for my maps. 

People make mistakes. Cartographers definitely are people. In this light,you will need a very good eraser. I prefer the large gum erasers that ruboff very easily and leave almost nothing stuck to the paper. Likewise,they leave the paper in place. Other erasers have a tendency to leave pinkstreaks on the paper, or they tear a swath of paper away where they erase.I like my paper intact, so I refrain from using the eraser on the end ofmy pencil on my middle and final drafts. 

You are going to need a well lit, flat area to work. A desk is a goodplace (go figure), and the kitchen island is a nice place to spread yourmaps around. Just make sure that you pick them up when you leave, or youmight return to find a splotch of spaghetti sauce smeared over the HalianMountains. Do not work in direct sunlight, for the paper you are workingon will reflect so brightly as to strain your eyes. 

The research: 

Look around. There are many fine maps in many fine books in many notso great book stores. If you like someone's style, memorize the way theyform their mountains, trees, rivers, and whatnot. Remember that imitationis the highest form of respect, and is not something to hide from. Youwill find that after a few tries at your first maps, you detect a sortof style all your own. Work with it, it will help you learn. Try to drawsomeone else's maps in your own way, and see how it turns out. I recommendthe maps by J.R.R. Tolkien (the original ones, by either he or his sonChristopher). If you look around, you will undoubtedly find something byShelly Shapiro. These, being fairly rudimentary maps (no offense, but it'strue), are easily improved on. Read through these sections of this pagefor notes on certain styles: Rivers, Forests,Mountains, Hills, Valleys,and Fells, Swamps, Miscellaneous Landmarks: Have fun with it. 

On to Getting Started

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