A Map of ingary: making a fantasy map part III

The journey to make a map of Ingary (the magical land of Diana Wynne Jones' books Howl's Moving Castle, House of Many Ways and Castle in the Air) began way back in January 2019. I posted about the start of the journey here, so if you fancy reading about how the map got started, check in with that blog. (I won't repeat it here so as not to be too boring!) It then languished for a while, before I finally got it back out again during lockdown in October 2020 and started on the base coat. You can also read about the second part of the journey here, so again, I won't delay you with more repetition. When I wrote part II, I said I hoped to have the map finished by Christmas. But then things got crazy - my Etsy sales went mad, commissions went mad, I ended up working 7am-10pm seven days a week and personal projects got shelved again. This didn't truly quieten down until the last two months, I assume as people started heading out again now that lockdown is over, and I was finally able to start adding in the final details to my map in April 2021.

So I think it's about time I finished this journey now, don't you?

Filling in the details! Featuring Kingsbury and the two monsters (Howl and the Witch of the Waste) who do battle over Porthaven

Filling in the details! Featuring Kingsbury and the two monsters (Howl and the Witch of the Waste) who do battle over Porthaven

Last time I filled you in on creating the base coat and told you that I was going to be adding more detail in as I went. I specifically wanted lots of little tiny, fun details in this map, all linked to the books, all showcasing that wonderful playfulness and humour that Wynne Jones has in all her writing.

In the photo above you can see that I've made a start on the waves with a watercolour pencil, which enabled me to get the really fine lines I was after. I drew inspiration from this from another much older, more spectacular map called the Carta Marina, which I have a reproduction of on my wall and absolutely love. (You can get a reproduction of it at this Etsy store).

Carta Marina Reproduction

I also included the chattering skull Sophie sees when she first walks into Howl's castle, which became the compass rose, and you can just see trees and mountains starting to take form. These are described in Castle in the Air, as the protagonists journey through Ingary having come up from the Sultanates of Rashput. I always have a bit of a battle with myself over how I want the trees to look: do I want to give them a little shadow? (This makes them pop), do I want to put a pattern on the trees? (I actually ended up plumping for a folk-inspired leaf pattern), how do I want the trunk to look? (with roots or without?). Eventually I'd like to settle on a tree-drawing style, but until that happens, I just do what looks best with each map. However, I do finally think I've nailed the mountains and hills, and this is where the finer details from the books really come into their own.

A close up shot of Market Chipping (with Cesari's, Sophie's hat shop, and the farrier's yard, all mentioned in the books), Howl and Sophie's mansion near Vale End, (which is a wreck for most of the book until Howl gets his hands on it), the field by the river and before the hills where the summer fair is held. Howl's castle, (which is described as large and black, like it's made of coal, with four tall turrets and black smoke billowing out of each), plus the 'purple' hills over the town (I suspect this colour is due to the heather Wynne Jones describes, but I went literal because I thought the colours would balance nicely) where Howl's castle first appears, and then the hills Martha has to travel over to reach Annabel Fairfax's house.

To create the buildings, I have a look at a few mansions online (UK mansions, as that is primarily where the book is set), and just combine the bits that I like, adding in details from the books (such as the gargoyles on the roof and the wide, sweeping drive). I don't draw them first, I usually just paint, because the details are so small they get lost in the pencil drawing anyway, and it's really hard to paint them exactly, so I usually find it's better to go straight into paint.

A few more shots of the close up details, like the Witch of the Waste's castle, the flower valley, with its waterfalls, butterflies and lakes, and Annabel Fairfax's house, complete with collie dog, bees and foxgloves that are all mentioned.

Another thing I love to do in my maps, regardless of subject, is add in little monsters like they used to (and which can be seen in the carta marina). Mankind actually used to believe many of these monsters existed, which is why they made it into so many maps, but now they're just a bit of fun I like to add in. I wanted to get a really 'vintage' effect with the monsters I included on this map, so I used an extra fine fineliner to get that really fine look, and dotwork to give it a traditional feel. Thankfully, Wynne Jones also added in some monsters, when Howl and the Witch of the Waste fight over Porthaven. One is described as long, low and scaly, the other is part cat, part sea lion with long claws. I'll leave you to decide which is Howl and which is the witch. I had a lot of fun making them up, and you can see them above.

After completing everything I could in Ingary (by far the most described area of the maps), I added in the facts I knew about High Norland and Montalbino from The House of Many Ways (like the waterfall valley, the pass and the meadows on the mountains).

Finally, I also added in tiny little people across the map, used a metallic gold gouache for the border, and then importantly, started adding in the darker blacks/browns to provide shadow and contrast and give the border especially the 3d effect. I credit the programme Inkmaster with my realisation that black really is needed for contrast. Sometimes I find it can be a scary colour, and so avoid it, but you really do need it to make things pop (thank you Inkmaster!). I had to have a big guess at Strangia, because it isn't described, but does play a big part in the books, as Ingary goes to war with them. So I filled in little bits and bobs here and there, without getting too specific. Likewise, Alberia and Transmontain were difficult, because they aren't described at all, apart from a passing mention in House of Many Ways, that describes the mountains separating High Norland from the other faraway lands such as Alberia. So, I just filled in the mountains and a few little trees, then left them fairly clear, because I wanted the focus to remain on the other places. And the last little place that is mentioned is Catterack, as the Count of Catterack runs away with Jane in her mushroom-coloured bonnet. I had no idea what Catterack was, so there's a little nod to it on the right hand side, with an arrow pointing to 'Catterack', which leaves it open to interpretation.

And there we are. Finally at the end. This is one of those projects I could keep working on forever, adding little details to here and there, but unfortunately, real life must get in the way, so I'm stopping here and enjoying having finished it after 2 years with a cup of tea. I hope you enjoy it too:

My full and finished map of Ingary, from the land Diana Wynne Jones created in Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways.

As always, thanks for reading!


P.S. If you're wondering what it says in the title block, it's the first line of Howl's Moving Castle.

P.P.S. I'm looking into making some limited edition prints of this, so do check back if you'd like a print, or register your interest with me nicola@howellillustration.co.uk. I'll keep a list of names and emails and send an email out when preorders are up.

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