In the fifth grade, one year removed from reading “The Hobbit” for the first time, I spent time between lessons doodling. Over the course of several years, my chicken scratch turned into a completely-realized fantasy world:
The map started with one sheet of ruled notebook paper, whose mountains, coast-lines, and labels evoked J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic hand-drawn charts. Over time, it expanded to additional sheets, taped together with cheap school-house cellophane tape & folded in a byzantine manner. The quality of the cartography grew along with my burgeoning drawing skills, and certain parts are visibly richer in detail.
My map was heavily-influenced by the books & movies I was consuming at the time, and I unabashedly cribbed many of its concepts. The overall theme was definite fantasy, a direct offshoot from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games that dominated my after-school hours.
I didn’t just draw a map; I created a world. I developed an immense amount of supporting material: city maps; a chronological history that spanned millennia; myths and origin stories for its deities and peoples; and a series of AD&D modules used by my friends to explore all the nooks-and-crannies of the land!
Over time, I hope to deep-dive into some parts of this and share what I was like at the time and which influences made it into my work. I hope you enjoy taking the trip with me, both back in time and far away.