Creating Fantasy Borders Easily

So a maps been drawn. But as of yet it doesn't have any civilisation on it. It's an empty expanse of land. Countries are needed, but sometimes it's hard to draw good looking borders by hand. Maybe there isn't a natural boundary nearby to work along. Here's a method I've found to get around the problem.

This tip is for GIMP, but should work for anything that has a similar feature.

1. Select the area you want to put borders in. If they're external, I'd go for the landmass, if they're internal then you should probably select the entire country.

2. Go to Filters, Distorts, Mosaic. Filters should be along the top of the window.

3. Fiddle around with the settings to get the effect you want. I'd personally recommend the following (stars mark parts I'd suggest not changing):

Octagons & Squares
Size - 5
Height - 1*
Spacing - 1*
Neatness - 0.1
Light Direction - Whatever
Colour Variation - Whatever
All Checkboxes turned off*
4. Once you've got something that looks reasonable, hit ok. Once the effect is applied, zoom in and get your brushes ready.

5. Now figure out how large you want your creation to be. Select an appropriate number of boxes. Fill them in with the colour you want. Repeat as many times as you like.

You should get something like this (I'll tidy the black lines once I'm done):

Some quick, easy and decent looking county boundaries.

Now, I wouldn't say this is a replacement for planning. If there's a gigantic mountain range twice the size of the Himalayas, your border should probably be along that and not in some random place in the foothills. It should however be useful when you don't have a natural boundary to work along.

Hope this is useful to people.


Very interesting. Obviously works better for some setups than others (those could definitely be French communes for instance) but useful nonetheless.
Well, seeing how communes border were, at least originally, largely based on parish (mostly North) or consulates (mostly South), they kinda fit in the Late Medieval/Renaissance fantasy divisions at least.