Create your own fantasy map!

Are you also such a Fan of maps of all kinds, like me? Or do you go all out Fantasy stories from, or have ideas for your own stories or cards? Or maybe you’re like my friend Pierre, who is a fan of Pen& Paper writes a quest and was desperately looking for a way to make one myself Map for his game to create. Or you are open for inspiration :D

If so, then this post is just for you! For Pierre was made with the online fantasy map editor Incarnate told me about it and I started with fire and flame to create my own card right away.

Because maps have always been a big topic on my website, I would like to pass on the tip of course :D

Fantasy stories need maps!

Below you can see what my own map looked like after maybe two hours of trial and error. And all that completely free of charge and without any previous knowledge or your own graphics!

Self made fantasy map

Not much effort, but lots of love: Lucyda’s Atlantien :D – With the new Incarnate version you can also bend fonts.

Doesn’t look so bad, does it?

There is a very simple way to create your own fantasy cards. Without any previous knowledge, without any special programs, without drawing everything yourself – and that too for free. In this post I will show you, how to make a fantasy card yourself!

Fantasy cards are auspicious. There are often interesting places marked there, which certainly want to tell a story – and if you don’t know them, your imagination will surely start to come up with something all by itself. At least that’s how I always feel about fantasy cards.


The almost 20 year old watercolor example :D

Sure, I’m prejudiced there by Lord of the Rings and The Legend of Zelda (which is probably prejudiced by Lord of the Rings :D). Clearly, there’s a repetition of motifs. Deep woods, in the deep woods any clearings. Magnificent castles, high mountain ranges and spooky moors, dat ham wa alles schon gesehen ^^ But never mind.

Nobody has to reinvent the wheel, but we can paint it differently.


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This is how it works: Create your own fantasy map easily

The recurring symbols also make it easier for us to create the card, because on the website, you’ll get just such standard fantasy card themes for the free of charge offered. You’ll need to create an account first, though, and then you can get started right away with your own card. Click on "Create" accordingly.

Note: Incarnates are available since January 2020 as 1.0-Version! This makes the user interface more standardized and therefore much more intuitive to use. My post here, with explanations, video and screenshots, still refers to the previous alpha version. Besides the UI, some assets and textures have changed (some you can use in the free version now, others not). I have added more changes below.

In the beginning, all you have in front of you is a blue sea. Very biblical. So the first thing you need is land. The shovel, the Sculpt tool, helps you to do this. The Land you simply paint on the blue surface. Above the map, you can change the settings of the current tool – just like in a paint program. Important is the size of the "brush", which you can adjust with the slider.

I would recommend that you first use a large brush to highlight the rough outlines to paint your landmass. In the next step, you can then make the coasts a bit more jagged and realistic with smaller brush tips. Addendum: With Incarnate 1.0 it works now by default!

It is helpful to switch between "Add" and "Substract". Add means add land, substract means remove land. Substract is therefore the Eraser.

Do you like my contribution?

With a coffee you would make me very happy! :D

With the keyboard shortcuts a and d you can switch quickly between both modes – very useful!

By the way, you can create rivers and lakes in the same way, namely by substract. For fine tuning you can also zoom further into the image with the zoom tool in the left bar.

The other tools are relatively self-explanatory. You put symbols and landscape features (trees and mountains) on the map. You can adjust the size of these "assets" before you set them, but it’s also possible after the fact. To do this, simply select "Select" from the top bar instead of "Place". Then you can select, move, remove or scale everything again individually.

In the video above you can see again how it all works.

To this fantasy map tool fits then also the medieval city map generator, on which you can create medieval (resp. fantasy) city layouts can be generated.

Differences between Free and Pro version of Inkarnate

I created my card with the free version, so without paying money for it. There is also a Pro version that you pay either annually (currently $25) or monthly (currently $5). Monthly is good if you want to make a nice map only once – then you just pay for one month and then cancel again.

The difference is that the maps in the Pro version are double the size are. Free maps are only 1024 pixels wide, so by far not full-screen. Meanwhile you can also get your free created maps to 2048 pixel width. But the Pro cards are even bigger.

Furthermore you get access to clearly more assets, so symbols and landscape features – but unfortunately you can’t see in advance what will be added to the landscape. You see exactly what you are missing! And that is really quite a lot. With version 1.0 the possibilities of the Free-Version were cut heavily.

Incarnate runs an Instagram channel where you can check out some card examples.

And last but not least: the free version is free for private use, the Pro version is also suitable for commercial use, i.e. for sale or publication with monetary interests.

Huw Lewis Jones - Crazy about cards

If you are interested in fantasy cards, you could also have a look at the book "Crazy about cards" take a chance. Click here to read my review. This book is all about maps, how they are created and what meaning they have for authors of fantasy stories.

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