While the art needs of most authors begin and end with the cover image, fantasy authors know that the next thing readers expect is a map of their fictional world. Tolkien had maps, and so every one of us writing in the post-Tolkien era is expected to have them as well. This may not scare you if you happen to be an artist yourself (looking at you, Todd Lockwood and Christopher Paolini). But if you’re more like the rest of us, your own illegible scrawl of a map might look something like this:
So once again, you turn it over to the professionals. Fortunately, there are a lot of terrific artists out there who specialize in cartographic illustration. French artist Maxime Plasse is one of them. Not only does he have an extensive portfolio, but also an impeccable professional reputation. Meaning he has proven time and again to be prompt and effective in his communications, and to deliver according to deadline—never a guarantee when it comes to artistic endeavors. Below is what he was able to do with my meager sketch:
For obvious reasons, I highly recommend Max to anyone in need of a map illustration, be it for this world or their own. Even if you’re merely an art fan, I would encourage you to preview his collection of work—including amazing full-color illustrations—at www.maxsmaps.com. And if for any reason you do have the pleasure of communicating with him, give him my thanks!