A Map of Ingary: Making a Fantasy Map Part II

It occurred to me a while ago that it was high time I let you in on how the map of Ingary is going. Having posted Part I of this particular making of, way back when, on January 27th 2019, the pencil rough of the map then languished in my portfolio, waiting to be brought out until I finally had some free time. 2019 turned out to be pretty busy, but we all know how 2020 went . . . and when I received an email from a Howl's Moving Castle fan requesting to see how the map was going (Happy Birthday for yesterday Sophie, by the way), I finally kicked myself into gear.

Faced with lockdown, endless uncertainty, and with a studio photoshoot coming up, I got my map of Ingary out again and began painting the base coat.

Photo of me painting the Ingary map, shot by the very lovely and very talented Elle @ellenarbrook

I always paint with gouache, because I love its chalky matte texture and how opaque it is. I love that you can get a real 'vintage' feel out of it, and I love that you can layer it up to get the effects you want. The only difficulty with gouache is that it can be re-wet, so when you paint on top of another colour with it, it can make the layer beneath wet again, and it kind of mixes in, so you do have to be careful sometimes, especially with the darker colours appearing beneath lighter ones (you can see this in Sophie's hair below, which is going to take a few more coats before that blue will vanish).

It's important to note that these colours are so far only the base coat, that means that the map is, at present, very flat and very low-detail, as all the of the detail will gradually get built up. I want this map to be both fun and magical, so I'll be bringing in a lot of detail to make that happen. Take a look at Howl's cloak in the picture below, and note the moon phases beginning to appear on the border, both of which are far more indicative of how this map might actually look in the end.

All of the colours will gradually get more and more solid too, and as I have a tendency to change my mind as I'm working quite a lot, some of them may even change completely.

I have started to build up other details too, to see how it will look. Below you can see Mrs Fairfax's house in Upper Folding, just north of where Sophie lives in Market Chipping, and beyond the hills, which will also start making an appearance soon.

I'm thinking the colour of the rivers may well change, and I'm not entirely sold on the way I've created the house and place names at the moment, so you may see that changing soon too! (I should really work all this out before I start, but I'm always impatient to get going, so I'm not sure if I'll ever be disciplined enough to make that happen).

Once the base coat is on, I start to build up details, then shadow and light to really bring this piece to life and give it a more 3d look. I know for sure that I want to make sure the borders look like really elaborate picture frames, because I think that'll suit both the time frame that encompasses the land of Ingary (pre-industrial) and the magical nature of the novel. I'll make sure I use lots of bright, complimentary colours too, because I think the novel is so much fun, that's what any illustration for it needs: a little bit of joy.

In any case, here's how the whole map looks at the moment. I'm aiming to have it finished by Christmas, so keep checking back here, or on my Instagram @howellillustration, for updates.

Thanks for reading!


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