Cartography is a beautiful combination of science, art, and technique. It’s also a discipline perfectly suited for a website that focuses on art and science (as this one does).
Over the next few months, we will be going through a step-by-step mapmaking tutorial. This project’s focus will be the fictional world of Mainframe from the animated television series ReBoot.
A lot of mapmaking these days is done on the computer (Mainframe is certainly no exception!), but we’re going to do everything by hand. Be warned – this undertaking is not for the weak of heart! Mainframe was built using precision-perfect computers. All we’ll have is a pencil, a ruler and a good eye. But you’re more than welcome to just follow along out of sheer morbid curiousity. You sadist, you. ;)
Step One: What are you gonna draw? and on what?
How much detail you want to put into your map is really up to you. But the city of Mainframe is a very well-built and detailed piece of architecture. So I want to add as much detail as possible.
So my canvas is 41 x 31.5 cm. It’s also high(ish) quality paper that is acid-free. You’re going to be doing a lot of erasing, so if the paper will wear out quickly if it’s too cheap.
All right. You’ve got the paper. Grab a pencil and a ruler. It’s time to start measuring! Here are the dimensions I chose.
The official image of Mainframe above shows the city at a slight angle, but for the sake of my own sanity, I’ve put the city so it’s sitting square.
Today’s motto: measure twice, draw once. The key point in measuring and sketching everything out is that we need to have a good idea of where everything is going to be in relation to everything else. The Principle Office, of course, is in the centre, and then the concentric rings that can be seen from above the city will be good measure for this.
The city also has high walls surrounding it. I’ve put the wall on the bottom a little lower so I can add more detail to the buildings inside. The Principle Office should sit higher than these walls, and in fact, I think I might raise it a little more. And although its current size makes the rest of the city seem vast in comparison I might make it a little bigger next time.
To be continued…