Canvas Print Map

Here’s an idea that maybe you haven’t thought of, or maybe you have. How about using those canvas print offers on Groupon to print your world map on a large canvas. Hmmm… that might be cool.

I have a few different maps that I’ve made over the years, for writing and roleplaying projects. I’m pretty fond of a few of these and I’d like to display them in my office. But they don’t all look great. And then there was Wonderdraft. Suddenly, my maps are looking pretty sweet. Nice enough to display. Which brings us to the canvas print idea.

If you’re like me, you get these $29.99 canvas print offers from Groupon weekly. For $30 I was willing to take a chance and see what this might look like. My results were mixed, mostly due to my idiocy.

this is the map i decided to print

So, I used a Groupon offer from CanvasOnSale.com and chose my size, I went with the 36″x24″ canvas print for $30. I see a lot of 16″x20″ print offers for $20, but I wanted something a bit bigger. Groupon sent me a voucher for the discounted price along with directions on how to use it. At this point I know I need to pay for the shipping, but there has been no mention of how much that might cost. I won’t make you wait. Turns out, it’s fifteen bucks. $15 for shipping. Is that reasonable? I guess so, but I don’t know. I’m still under $50 for this experiment, so that’s okay by me.

First problem, I chose wrong. I either needed to pick a different canvas size or a different map. Aspect ratio matters. Pay attention to aspect ratio. This map ratio is 16:9 or HD, which is not the same as 36×24. And I may have panicked here a bit, or just gotten into a rush, but I didn’t see anyway to change the picture I’d chosen or the canvas size. That might be a result of the deal, or I could have just missed it. Whatever the case, know what you want to print and the size you’re going to need going into this project to avoid this happening to you.

So, the aspect ratio caused some cropping on my image, but mostly this was okay. Nothing important was lost. But once you’re in there choosing your image and finalizing your purchase, you’re offered other options–color grading, framing, canvas thickness. I didn’t do any of those. I arranged my map on the template by sliding it around a bit to get it looking right, and I did choose a black border, but that was free. And I finalized my order.

Canvas: 36″x24″ Border: Standard .75” wood frame, Black

Total including tax $219.00

Voucher $-219.00

Shipping costs $14.90

Payment method: Pay Pal Express $14.90


That’s a pretty hefty discount, $189.01. Not sure that I would pay $219 for this, but $30… that I’ll do. Additionally, I received a 91% off coupon for my next order from CanvasOnSale. Which is very nice. That would be $199.29 off this order, just as a comparison. With that done, I sat back to wait for my print to arrive. Six days later, this showed up on my doorstep.

canvas has arrived, that’s the same map on the left done in a different media

Sure, it’s cropped and I’ll never not see that, but the color is good and the print is sharp. It’s a very nice looking piece. If I had it to do over, I think I would have paid extra for the 1.5″ canvas depth. It just looks nicer. Having it framed would have been nice too, but that might be more than I can justify. I’m very happy with how this turned out and I think it was well worth the cost. Next time around, I’ll pay more attention to aspect ratio.

I’m definitely going to take advantage of the coupon they sent me to have something else printed. I’m also going to try a couple other groupon offers and see how they compare. I have three or five other prints I’d like to get made for the office walls. Later.

Wonderdraft

Here’s another tool that I think you should check out. Wonderdraft is an intuitive yet powerful fantasy map creation tool. I have been experimenting with this one and have been quite happy with the results. It makes good looking maps, has quite a bit of customizable features, and for the early access, one-time purchase price of $19.99 it was a steal.

The price has gone up to $29.99, but that still feels like a bargain to me. One time purchase. No subscriptions. No nickel and diming for add-ons. Just nice maps. And there’s already a community of users making resources for Wonderdraft.

I was using the free Inkarnate online mapping software. It makes it very easy to make really nice-looking maps, but I found the free version to be pretty limited. I wasn’t sure I wanted to subscribe to it in order to get all the good stuff. Then I saw a YouTube video by WASD20 asking if Wonderdraft was an Incarnate killer. I liked what I saw and went looking for this interesting mapping software.

Let me tell you the features that were important to me and then I’ll show you a few maps I’ve created using Wonderdraft.

  • Depending on the brush set and symbol set I can generate a variety of different looking maps and a variety of scales. I can make city maps, regional maps, and world maps with equal ease.
  • Brushes that let me change the roughness of the landmasses and coastlines easily.
  • Automatic tools for making nice looking rivers and roads with a few clicks
  • A variety of symbols that I can drop on the map and the ability to paint groups of trees and mountains easily.
  • Artistically curated default map themes
  • Create aesthetic labels using presets
  • Big maps. Map dimensions up to 8192 x 8192 pixels
  • It’s DRM-free software and royalty-free user-made content
  • It works with my Wacom pen and tablet

So, you can probably tell I like it. But you want to see what I’ve done with it. I get that. These are the first four maps I’ve created using Wonderdraft. Be kind, they’re all works in progress and they’ve all been scaled down for the website.

Regentia from the Baenrahl campaign
The Skorr, homage to my Greyhawk origins
Inner Sareth, better known as the BlackMoon map
Something new I’m working on

I made those first three by overlaying my existing, hand-made maps and tracing them. Which is something else I should have mentioned. You can do that. I’m very happy with the results. The bottom map is something I started while making a video tutorial for Wonderdraft. I like the map, not sure if the video will ever appear.

My basic review is this. I love this software, the price is good, the results are nice, and I’m very glad I found it. I have no reservations in recommending this software. It’s a great mapping tool and I think it’s going to just keep getting better with time and continued development. If it seems like something you’d get some use out of, go check it out. Wonderdraft.net or watch some of the videos on YouTube by the Wonderdraft creator, Megasploot.

And if you like it and want more out it, be sure to check out this resource site, Cartography Assets. It’s a website that makes sharing mapping resources easy. New mountains, forests, city symbols, and themes are just a few of the things that you’ll find over there. It’s all free and it all has clearly marked asset usage statements. I’ve gotten some really nice stuff from this site. Of course, you can find stuff for Wonderdraft, but they also have assets for Campaign Cartographer, MapForge, and Virtual Tabletop.

Somehow, I Missed This for 30-years

I have a very soft spot in my heart for TSR’s World of Greyhawk—if not the campaign setting, definitely the map. It’s one of my favorites. That may be because it was my first exposure to a D&D world setting. But this, this I never noticed.

The lake of unknown depths is very obviously Lake Superior. Which is very cool. But being a Michigan native, I feel like I should have noticed that at some point in the last 30 years. Fortunately, the internet stepped in and pointed it out to me.

Saturday Scramble

Woke up a bit late, 8 am, and got straight to work on my laundry. Made pancakes. Cleaned the garage a bit and put away the Christmas wreaths, before realizing that it was just too cold to try and use wood glue with any expectation of success.
I picked up the plywood to build the wide shelf/counter/desktop for the craftroom on Friday. But it’s an 11-foot span and I’m going to have to join two boards to make that work. In this weather, with no heat in the garage and no room in the basement, trying to put that together is just asking for a mess. I don’t want to fight with it. So, rather than making a mess that would just end up with me frustrated and needing to spend more money, I decided to let it be.
Instead, I moved the stuff back into the craftroom, straightened the basement,  put my tools in a reasonably organized pile, and brought in the new elliptical machine we found at the Salvation Army. I’ve been looking at them for a while, but they’re not cheap. This one is crap, but it’s cheap. If we use it with any regularity, then we can justify getting a better one. I don’t want another treadmill situation, here. We have enough places to hang laundry.
I finished listening to American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard (Narrated by: Walter Dixon, 12 hrs and 52 mins). It was a very interesting book and one that I am sure I will revisit in the future. See, the problem with listening to a book like this while driving around, is that you tend to miss things or not quite catch the particulars. So, I will go back to it again, because it really is a fascinating look at history from a different perspective.
An illuminating history of North America’s 11 rival cultural regions that explodes the red state/blue state myth.
North America was settled by people with distinct religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been at odds with one another ever since. Subsequent immigrants didn’t confront or assimilate into an “American” or “Canadian” culture, but rather into one of the 11 distinct regional ones that spread over the continent, each staking out mutually exclusive territory.
In American Nations, Colin Woodard leads us on a journey through the history of our fractured continent and the rivalries and alliances between its component nations, which conform to neither state nor international boundaries. He illustrates and explains why “American” values vary sharply from one region to another.
Woodard reveals how intranational differences have played a pivotal role at every point in the continent’s history, from the American Revolution and the Civil War to the tumultuous sixties and the “blue county/red county” maps of recent presidential elections. American Nations is a revolutionary and revelatory take on America’s myriad identities and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and are molding our future.
©2011 Colin Woodward (P)2011 Gildan Media Corp
I saw this map and an article explaining it and I wanted to know more. Now I do. The writing was interesting and not a dry historical text. The narration was well done and pleasant to listen to. And the information was eye opening. Red states and blue states certainly don’t cover the dynamic here. I also found the future predictions of these nations to be interesting and provocative.

american nations

I finished up some administrative stuff on my various websites, tried to work out the difference between arohen.com and ronnmccarrick.com (there isn’t one at this time), and worked on some graphics. Now I’m off to eat dinner and do some homework. Later.