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Terrestria by Simanion Terrestria by Simanion
Medium: Ink (Copic Multiliners 0.1, 0.05), watercolour, coffee
Size: A2

Finally done! This work was a commission for a friend, whose only direction was "your version of a world map". Initially I was planning a more abstract painting or drawing. But I really love ancient and medieval maps, the way they were so impossibly detailed and whimsical, often with huge sections of the world remaining mysteriously uncharted.

I did a lot of research, looking at what must have been hundreds of examples, all wildly different. I actually went to an exhibition of some of the world's greatest maps and was truly inspired there. What fascinated me most were the bizarre mythological creatures conveniently slotted into the unexplored waters, as well as the sometimes absurd surrounding detail and the "almost but not quite" shapes of the countries. They were generally pretty eccentric – much more interesting than our boring contemporary maps.

So I took all that away, and started thinking about mine. Because I could never just do a straightforward map, I decided to contextualize mine within a kind of hypothetical alternate history. I invented a language that seems to sit somewhere between Tolkien, Shaun Tan and astrological symbols. Unfortunately I don't have the skill to translate it. The idea was that this map was produced by an ancient extraterrestrial race with esoteric knowledge of the planets and stars. Perhaps they arrived on Earth travelling between dimensions, mapped what they saw and then left before they were able to finish.

I spent approximately 4 hours a day for a month on this map. I certainly didn't take the easy road and so it owned my life. But I'm really happy with how it turned out :) Hopefully it translates on screen.


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Daily Deviation

Given 2015-04-17
Terrestria by Simanion balances both a strong, commanding foreground and a busy, squirming background into this wonderful complex work. ( Suggested by Canankk and Featured by jenthestrawberry )
As someone who enjoys drawing maps, I have some ideas about this I'd like to share.

I really like the overall look and feel. I feel kind of like a student critiquing the work of the master, but I can't do anything abut that. Execution is very well done, with plenty of detail, and I plan to spend some time really looking closely at all those strange characters on the borders.

Most of the critical points I have are just artistic differences, so feel free to take them or leave them. From an execution standpoint I would like to point out a couple things. First, though the image is listed as "Traditional" it actually appears to be digital, especially around the edges with the wood pattern. I don't know if this is a misunderstanding on the part of the artist, or if my eyes are mistaken, or perhaps it's a traditional piece augmented with digital work.

Also, though I really like the unfinished and somewhat incorrect versions of the continents, I think the breaks in the outlines seem abrupt in some places. The outline of New Zealand in the lower left side looks like it was cut out. Perhaps a more gradual fading would look more appropriate.

Finally, I think one of the most fascinating parts of maps is the actual text or labels. With this mystical alphabet, I feel like it actually takes away from the enjoyment and mystery, and makes the map into a piece of fantasy art. While this may have been the artists intent, and this is simply a matter of opinion, I think it would have been more interesting to see the names of places. Perhaps having an unusual font, or strange spellings would have served better.

Overall, really great concept and execution!
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
4 out of 4 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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Topaz-Highway-888 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
omg ....beyond the WOW-Awesome factor
gold nuggets by the billion you deserve for this
shocked 1st Trophy shocked 
Simanion Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Haha, wow thank you! 
DavidStaege Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2015
Simanion Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you David!
Vladislav0 Featured By Owner May 6, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very odd and interesting work. It turns to be more and more attractive while looking on it. Great!
Simanion Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much :) 
SleepyGoddess Featured By Owner May 5, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
It really loks like a real map from the old times. You really made it very well! Great work, keep improving. :D
Simanion Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! Glad you think so :aww:
brothertimothy Featured By Owner May 5, 2015  Professional General Artist
Wonderful creative design with the addition of a great nostagic choice of colors!
Simanion Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! I love these sepia tones and subtle colours, there's something about them that's magical but historical.
brothertimothy Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015  Professional General Artist
Nostalgia brings back great images and feelings, but it also has to do with an era when people cared about their craftsmanship, and it was reflected in their work.

This does all of that!
Malleni-Art Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
I love this kind of maps :) Amazing job !
Angie-Pictures Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015
Beautiful work! Congratulations on the DD! :iconflowerheartplz:

LuciusAppaloosius Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2015
A wonderful bit of cartography, including the "Terra Australis Incognita"...

The astrolabe rete at the bottom is another nice touch. 7@=e 
vicchan69 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2015
AMAZING! Very well done. :DDD
ringoryu9 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2015
What a wonderful piece of work! I enjoy looking at old maps and I truly enjoy looking at this one. I also like your invented alien language; it's very beautiful.
Simanion Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
A very late "thank you". Glad you like this!
Peeshan Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
Incredible, but to be honest I disagree with the use of this imaginary alphabet. One of the cool thing with old maps is to see how places used to be called, or what are the local names... but that's just my opinion :)
Simanion Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks :) And fair enough. It's all part of the story of the work here, but I can understand wanting to read the names. Thanks for commenting!
onetwistedpoet Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Fantastic investment of time, your map is magnificent.
Simanion Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much :thanks:
Avirin Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
wow really well done, uh dont mean to nit pick but iceland and greenland are on thier twice and then you seem to have added a land mass and some islands in the middle which look like bits of canada on the right and mid africa on the left. but beautifull all the same
pevhak Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
very beautiful. i love this :+fav:
mea00 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well done! Congrats on the DD
LostGryphin Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
stunning work!

congrats on the DD
SanjaDotaArt Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Gratz with DD! Really great piece of art!
krasblak Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Professional
Congratulations on the Daily Deviation!
Nikepz Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Student General Artist
As a lover of illustrated maps, I am soooo liking this
Kishero Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
Beautiful map, wonderful detail, filled with the promise of vivid journeys into the untamed.
Arulein Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
I LOVE antique maps, especially the ones from the 1400-1700 era where there are gaps and guesses and "sure let's connect these two land masses" and there's all kinds of fiddly stuff along the edges like women in togas representing the days of the week and like that. This is a wonderful evocation of that style, and reading your description I can see you really loved the research and got into really creating something special and personal. 

Please accept this llama as a token of my appreciation.
Simanion Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much :aww: I'm glad you share the love of antique maps! One of my favourite things about them is the weird personification of celestial objects like the moon, sun, clouds etc. It's great when a cloud with a face is blowing really hard, causing the wind :P
Arulein Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2015
I agree! I have ones with personifications of the four elements, the continents, even European cities. They added all kinds of weird stuff on maps :-D
PirateLotus-Stock Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
Fantastic work!!
erinclaireb Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
Wow! Breathtaking and masterful! What a piece!
dlambeaut Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
:wow: Your friend should be happy and wildly grateful... You did a mastery work.
I do love ancient maps, and yours reflects very well the their complexity yet naivety. But you travel even farther with all those never-read-before signs and the fantastically detailed background...
:clap: Bravo!
insania-sacra Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
It looks like a lost page from the Codex Seraphinianus (and that's a compliment), if you don't know that book, look for it. :)
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
Fantastic cartography!  I love maps and you have drawn a beautiful one!  Congratulations on your DD! :clap:
RavenMontoya Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Utterly amazing! I could stare at it for hours and still find new things. This is one of the best DDs I've ever seen. More than well deserved. You own it! :clap:
UnbearableME Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
wel done :)
lintu47 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
Have a nice day! :love: by CookiemagiK
C1nderellaMan Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Your level of effort is very evident in this finely detailed piece of art.  I especially appreciate the menagerie in the margins, its antique style, and the strange language you developed.  Well deserved DD!
Solrac1993 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Great work :)
Milyusia Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
WOW! That's amazing! That's more than 100 hours! The details are also great and the creatures are interesting.
CourtneyLuv7 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Student General Artist
This is amazing! The materials you used to make such a fantastic piece is spectacular!
Ephixion Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow. This is absolutely incredible. Great job! It looks so realistic
bakkeby Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2014
Man, hats off.

I can't really fathom what went into planning and executing this, but the end result is truly amazing.

The only critique I can give is that from an artistic point of view it might have looked better if you had chosen another (perhaps fantasy) world instead of basing it on the crust of planet Tellus. That, of course, comes very much down to personal taste.

Anyway, you humans are awesome.
ValerieJoyLauria Featured By Owner Edited Sep 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
WOW!!!!  I wanted to do a Critique and rate it perfect, but I would need 100 words to do that, which I can't.  This work is magnificent...gave it a 10 on GWatched.
segura2112 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Beautiful, reminds me of the Piri Reis map (google it if you don't know what I'm talking about). Thank You
electrifried Featured By Owner May 11, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
Wow this is incredible - the detail and colouring are sublime. Inspiring work! 
Simanion Featured By Owner May 11, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much! I'm glad you like it :aww:
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Submitted on
February 5, 2014
Image Size
5.6 MB


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