When I’m doing worldbuilding, I find it helps if I can find images of landscapes, items or technology that resembles what I’m trying to describe, but sometimes that doesn’t work, so I’ve gotten out the paints and pencils after a long retirement and started to dabble in art again.
I’ll be talking about some of the results.
A key location in a number of my fiction works is the city-state and surrounding enclave of Barresh. The picture above is what I first knew of it when Jessica in Watcher’s Web unwittingly stumbled into the territory after having crashed in the rainforest on top of the cliffs. Getting down to water level is a matter of falling down a rock slide. She ends up in the place shown here. In the lagoon that lies inland from the mouth of the river is a village where natives live. To the left is a huge expanse of marshy ground with little islands, reeds, water plants, thermal springs and geysers, and BIG fish. The large island with the city is way to the left. That’s where she needs to go, but she doesn’t have a boat (remember the BIG fish with BIG EVIL teeth?).
Anyway, while the place was always in my head, I’ve found that trying to put it on paper forced me to think about some of the logistics. How deep is the water (about waist deep in most places)? How far does this cliff go for (a long way)? Is there an ocean anywhere near (yes, on the other side of the city)? Things like that. It’s a very useful exercise.