To create a map for my setting, I took the following steps:
Took a map of the island of Hispaniola, because it had the rough characteristics I wanted: a jagged coastline with many bays, a big massif central and smaller mountain ranges nearby.
Warped and distorted Hispaniola to roughly fit my sketch.
Note that I dropped the idea of a peninsula here and went with the island.
Retouched the resulting map by using the stamp brush in photoshop to copy a non-distorted texture from the original image to the new map. This resulted in the following:
My idea behind this process is that deforming an existing topography softly, without cutting or adding/removing features, would preserve the relation between the features of the original map, thus making the new rather believable "per default".
The reality-check tag was added because I would like to have feedback on wether the retouched map in its current state would pass as an island that came into existance in a natural way.
For the story, the following parts are crucial:
- The peninsula in the south-east with a hilly landscape (near Urbo Gracia Granda on the sketch)
- The small island south-east of said peninsula
- The massif central in the middle
- The basin south of the massif central
The basin is supposed have previously contained part of the ocean, but got landlocked in the west, so the water dried out over a long period of time, leaving a salty desert. While I am willing to alter the "salty" part here for reality's sake, I would very much like to have a hot rocky or sandy desert there, or other means of making large tracts of land unsuited for larger settlements (mostly nomads there). I am not concerned with climate or vegetation yet.