I have to make a map for two planets. For booth two I already have an idea about what they look like, but I don't know how to draw them. They don't need to be really clear, however they should make understand the environments and see the biggest mountains and hills. So: What is the best and/or the easiest way to make the maps, without softwares? What kind of projection is the best? How can I draw the map? Thank you very much for your answers.
Have a look at how it is done with maps of earth: The spherical planet is projected on a plane by slightly distorting the proportions. Displaying coordinates makes the effect more visible: This way you can create a map with all major parts of your world, like bigger continents and oceans. By using different colors you can either show different political factions or countries (have a look at the first image again) or you can document different biomes (simply have a look at google maps for this one).
With your major parts of the world are mapped out, you can easily add rivers and bigger lakes to the map. Visualizing mountain ranges or forests can be done by using either shading, like in the first picture, or by placing little icons like trees or single mountains on your map: Here are some basic ideas on what to show on your map:
- Mountains and mountain ranges
- villages (just draw single houses or dots for the biggest cities)
- Major landmarks like volcanos
- names of countries and oceans etc.
Generally, you should use lesser detail on your map, the further you "zoom out". There is no point in marking every little village on a world map as it would get confusing. Again, look at google maps, they show and hide routes, villages etc. when you change the zoom.
You will need to envision the planet from one direction and then from the other (180° horizontal) and draw two images of its continents. Then put these images together like a panorama and your map would be made. That's what they do for Earth mapping too. The whole process is like spreading out the spherical surface area of your planet out on a sheet so as to make it planar.
You would first need to determine what is the up direction in your map. On Earth it is north and I suggest you keep it that way for your planet too (so that you can use compass for navigation). Your north can also be your east (if your planet is tidally locked to its star and tilted at 90° so that north pole faces the star) but that's a far far fetched idea.
EDIT TO ADD:
Basically a map is simply a small picture of the large world. Let's say you want to draw the map of your house. Your house is 15 meters long and 10 meters wide. You want to represent that area on a small piece of paper. So for reference, you say that 1 centimeter on paper/map represents 1 meter of your house. You begin by drawing the boundary of your house.
Next thing is to sketch the rooms in your house. Using the same standard (1 cm of map = 1 meter of real life) we go on and draw all the rooms boundaries on the map.
Now we have marked the basic plan of your house. The oops, where are the doors between the rooms? Let's leave empty spaces for doors in the map.
Next, we mark which room is which.
And now we are done.
This is exactly how you would make a planetary map.
1- Draw the boundaries of continents and islands.
2- Add geographical features on the map for example rivers, lakes, mountains, forests and deserts.
3- If there are different tribes or countries on the planet, draw boundaries for them and write their names in those boundaries (like writing room names).
4- You are done! That's all.