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Gallery Submissions OPEN

Sun Jul 26, 2015, 5:36 PM by ChimeraDragonfang:iconchimeradragonfang:

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• The Reason We Exist

Our purpose here at original-worlds is to showcase deviants' unique settings for their works of fiction and their characters therein. We are a home for all worldbuilding work relating to your unique and imaginative creations!

• Resources

:bulletgreen: Worldbuilding Guide: Intro

• OW Challenge

The OW Challenge System

Submissions will be closed for a few days -- definitely for the weekend but not longer than one week from the time of posting this blog entry -- while some updates are made to our gallery folder structure and set-up.

Join requests will remain open during this time.

Changes are coming and I hope everyone will like them. Among them are: folders for memes, folders for sketchdumps and rough scribbles, and a place for works relating to your worlds that have been commissioned from other artists.

Now I open the floor to suggestions from all of our lovely members. Voice them in the comments below if there's anything in particular you'd like to see.

:bulletyellow:UPDATE:bulletyellow: Submissions reopen tomorrow (June 26), probably sometime early evening GMT, which I know is a day later than I originally said, but I want to write up a journal post with an overview of what should go where in the new setup before opening it all again, and I am far too tired to do a proper job of it right now. The new folders are all more or less set up and ready to go though, so please do take the time to look over the new gallery structure and tell me if I derped and forgot something incredibly obvious.

:bulletgreen:UPDATE THE SECOND:bulletgreen: Okay, once again it took a little bit longer than I wanted and planned it to, but SUBMISSIONS ARE OPEN AGAIN. Please check out the Submission Rules journal for an updated list of what goes in which folder. I hope it's pretty straightforward, but please do let me or another admin (but probably me) know if something confuses you. We want everything to be as clear as possible.

(The somewhat redundant-looking names for some of them is to make them easier to identify in the "Add to a Group" modal's drop-down list, since it doesn't do anything to separate folders vs. subfolders.)

Along with the restructured gallery folders, we have now opened up the Favourites folder. This will now be the place to submit works that were drawn/written about your world by other people, things like a commissioned drawing of one of your characters, or gift-art that a friend or fan sent you.

Main gallery folders = works made BY YOU about your original world
Favourites folder = works made BY OTHER PEOPLE about your original world

Contributions to Favourites are subject to the same quality control guidelines and three-per-week limit as regular submissions.

Skin by CypherVisor
Just the basic rules - there's nothing too unusual here, but please be sure to read and thoroughly understand them before submitting to the group's gallery since we do have certain requirements in place that are specific to us. Keep them in mind when applying your work to be included within our group.

This journal is also home to the guidelines on how to get your own Featured Worlds folder. So scroll down to the appropriately titled section to learn more if you're interested.

Our Guidelines

You must have your own original world.  The existence of this world must be clearly mentioned in the deviation description, with some sort of indication that it isn't a one-off or throwaway setting.

There are many groups for general fantasy art and OC art, but this is not one of them. We are strictly for the works of your original worldbuilding projects and the characters inhabiting them. This means please do not submit art with zero connections to a world and is just on its own. We encourage creative context and imagination here!

As we get a lot of submissions that don't mention their ties to an original world, please state clearly somewhere in the artist's comments of your submissions that your image is connected to a world you've created. If things are unclear, you risk having your work declined. In some cases our staff may ask you about any original world connection to verify that the work is appropriate for our group; in this case just explain a little about your world to us to let us know that it's an actual setting with depth behind it, and that you have plans to work with it in the future.

Alternate versions of Earth are accepted as long as they are vastly different from our own. Society, culture, and history must be wildly altered so that even if the setting is Earth, the reality of it is different and unique.

A setting that is based on Earth, but is its own unique setting due to the drastic changes which distinguish it from our own real life, include things like post-apocalyptic versions of our planet (e.g. Fallout), and far-future settings where the world has changed to be almost unrecognisable due to technological advancement (e.g. most classic sci-fi stories; one example could be Blade Runner). These settings, which are so wildly distant from what we know today, are unique in that how society and culture functions is entirely distinct from our own, be it for one reason or another, shaped by advancement or devastation. An alternate history which has sent our world's development spiralling down an entirely different path also counts - think of the many steampunk settings out there which are based on a technological divergence point in history!

Essentially, what we want to see is a fair amount of worldbuilding in your setting: some effort into defining just what its differences from our Earth are and why they came about. A world born from our own should be the sum of many parts which make it almost unrecognisable in comparison to what we see outside our windows each day, and not just regular life with a small difference like the existence of, say, vampires or werewolves. Think on the broader scale! These alterations surely have repercussions that resonate throughout our society and culture, shaping the planet to evolve in a much different way and for us humans to behave differently. Remember the Butterfly Effect - even the smallest thing can have huge consequences! So consider these things when forging a world based on our own.

Submission Rules and Folders

What we accept:
:bulletgreen: Artwork that depicts your original worlds, their inhabitants and environments. It's in our name, after all; show us the wonderful products of your world building and imagination!
:bulletgreen: Drawn work and literature are both accepted, so feel free to share with us your written pieces whether they are prose or referential.

What we don't accept:
:bulletred: Artwork that is for another person's world. We want work connected to your own worlds only.
:bulletred: Artwork not created by you. Collaborations are accepted, but re-uploads of commissioned work from other artists, etc. are not.
:bulletred: Anything that violates deviantART rules. No blatant smut or works clearly made purely to titillate and arouse. Mature content submissions are allowed, but must be properly tagged.

Quality control:
:bulletyellow: All literature submissions must be written clearly and with correct spelling and grammar. If the piece is illegible because of gratuitous errors in formatting, language or technical terms, it will be declined.
:bulletyellow: Poorly scanned or photographed works, and anything poorly cropped from a scan or photograph, are not accepted. This applies to quick doodles and sketchdumps too. Please present your work well!

We also have multilingual admins here! :la: You are free to submit works using the following languages:
- English
- French
- German
- Norwegian

Submission limit: 3 times per week.

–––––––––––– ❖ ––––––––––––

:bulletblue: Featured
For the best work of our members! Admin-curated; members may not submit directly to this folder.
:bulletblue: Featured Worlds
The hub for our Featured Worlds folder system. The best works within our world-specific subfolders are featured within this one.
:bulletblue: Illustration
Fully completed drawings, such as a scene from your story. Split into Digital and Traditional subgalleries.
For all things written! Chapters, one-shots, even poetry. Anything told in words goes here.
The folder for all your comic pages and series tied into your original worlds!
Have you rendered parts of your world in sculpture or plush form, or perhaps cosplayed as one of your characters? This folder is for all those crafty projects.
Anything created primarily for reference purposes. Character sheets and written bios, planetary histories, maps, designs of ships and weapons and such.  Split into Illustrated References and Written References subfolders, which are in turn subdivided into:
Species: The various lifeforms inhabiting your world.
Characters: References for specific individuals.
Settings: Locations, languages, world histories etc. Maps go here.
Objects: Vehicles, weapons, clothing etc. Basically all the non-living things in your world.
:bulletblue:Sketches and Rough Work
Brainstorming doodles, works-in-progress and sketchdumps. Anything too rough or unpolished to be considered a finished illustration. (Formerly called Concepts and Sketches. Renamed to attempt to reduce the number of finished works submitted to it due to confusion over "concepts" vs "concept art".)
Have you filled out a meme using a character from your world? Age memes, expression memes, silly what-if scenario memes... as long as it features someone/thing from your own world, submit it here. Split into Illustrated Memes and Written Memes subfolders. Blank memes for people to fill out go in Resources -> Blank Memes
For all tutorials and guides that help people design their own worlds, species, maps, and more! Divided into the following folders:
Tutorials - Drawing: Tutorials focusing on how to draw things, e.g. planets, maps, creature design.
Tutorials - Writing: Guides of a more wordy bent. Detailed species profiles, worldbuilding how-tos, writers' guides.
Blank Memes: Unfilled memes for people to do.
:bulletblue:Maintain Holding Pattern
The HELP I DO NOT KNOW WHERE THIS GOES folder. Unsure which folder a piece should go in? Submit it here and an admin will help you figure it out.

:star:Favourites Folder: This one is a little bit different, submission-wise. Did you commission some art of your world from another artist? Did you receive gift-art of your world from a friend? Our Favourites folder is for works relating to your original world that were not drawn/written by you.

Getting Your World Featured

Getting our group feature for your world will require that you meet some prerequisites first.  

To avoid undeveloped, or half-hearted worlds from cluttering our gallery, you must provide proof that you possess a thriving, fully developed world with refined OCs or civilizations. The most important detail in getting your own folder is definitely having a good storyline, but equally important is that it is placed in a different world than Earth.  Please note us concerning proof of your prerequisites such as:

Option 1
:bulletgreen: You have at least 3 fully developed characters with personalities, histories, etc. from this world.
:bulletgreen: You have a general concept of the physical world such as its geography, climate, and plant/animal life. Maps are helpful, but not required.
:bulletgreen: You have a solid foundation for a storyline with plot, conflict, setting, and background information.

Option 2
:bulletblue: You have completely thought out races and/or characters inhabiting your world.
:bulletblue: You at least have a general or developing idea for a physical map.
:bulletblue: You have developed some highly refined cultures and environments for the setting.

Note original-worlds with the information on your storyline, characters, races, world, and so on. You're giving a "sales pitch" here, so make it as good as you can! Also remember that each person only gets one folder, so if you have multiple worlds, propose the one you have put the most work into and you are most proud of.

Remember, you can note the admins if you have any questions!

Worldbuilding Guide: Mapping it Out

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 10:11 AM by Lindenare:iconlindenare:

• Links

• The Reason We Exist

Our purpose here at original-worlds is to showcase deviants' unique settings for their works of fiction and their characters therein. We are a home for all worldbuilding work relating to your unique and imaginative creations!

• Resources

:bulletgreen: Worldbuilding Guide: Intro

:bulletgreen: Worldbuilding Guide: Maps

• OW Challenge

The OW Challenge System

I'd like to apologize for getting this out so late. I had planned to update the guide every 2-4 weeks, depending on how hard each section was to write and how much life got in the way. Unfortunately for this bit, I had some technical difficulties added to the mix. I still want to update on the original schedule and will hopefully be able to do so consistently.

Enough of me talking. Let's get on with worldbuilding!

Shaping and Scale

By now, you should have found your seed idea and recorded it in detail. If not, see the previous installment of the guide or, if you want to build a world from scratch and see where it goes, continue from here.

Check your seed idea for information on geology or geography. There might not be any, and that’s fine. If, however, your seed idea includes specifics about place, you’ll need those. Figure out if your seed idea requires an unusual place. If so, you will need to tweak your initial worldbuilding to make such a place.

In my seed idea I have flat land with lots of running water and flourishing plant life. It seems to be a wetland of some sort, and not one with really unusual characteristics. Since this is the case (wetlands of all types are quite common), I won’t need to do much in order to create this place.  I will, however, need to make sure I have a large, flat wetland near a mountain range, probably in a temperate to subtropical zone.

Now we need landmasses of some sort. Decide what scale you want to work with. Do you want to map the entire planet? Just a continent? An island chain? You will need to map out a fairly large area for the procedure in the guide to work; if you’re unsure about the scale you want, go bigger. I find that a single continent is a good size to start at. If you only want to work with part of a continent, it’s still a good idea to sketch out the whole thing. It’s easier to zoom in than to zoom out.

Draw your landmasses. Any medium will do as long as you can alter it easily.  I recommend drawing over a grid, as it will help to determine the scale of geographic features.  If you’re having trouble drawing a shape that looks like a convincing landmass and not a blob, go looking for stains, smears, or chips – any random shape lacking straight edges. I’ve found that chipped (not peeled) paint and stains on concrete make great continents. You can also flip shapes around to see if you like them better in a different orientation.

Next, determine the size of your landmasses. I think it’s easiest to do this by comparison to geography you’re familiar with. You don’t need to be technical; “a bit smaller than South America” is a very useful general size. Look up the land area of whatever you’re using for comparison, scale it up or down as desired, and you have an approximate size in square miles or kilometers. Remember that when you’re working in continent-size areas, a little tweaking goes a long way.

I’ve decided to map out one continent.
Base Map by Lindenare

I want it to be smaller than Asia, but not by too much. The continent of Asia covers 17.21 million square miles, or 44.58 million square kilometers. Since I want my continent to be a little smaller, I’ll round it down to 17 million mi2 (44 million km2). Doesn’t seem much smaller, but I just took off 210,000 square miles (580,000 km2) . That’s a little more than the area of Belarus.
When you have landmass sizes estimated, it’s time to scale the map. This is where mapping over a grid starts to come in handy.  Count the number of squares that your landmasses cover. The edges will be a little tricky; don’t worry too much about it. Just estimate to the best of your ability.

Divide the area that you’ve estimated for each landmass by the number of squares that are covered by that landmass. The result will be the area of each square on the map. Take the square root of the area to find the length of one side of a square.  Write this number down, as it will be important later on. It probably won’t be a nice integer – just round it to two or three decimal places.

My continent covers 582 squares. So:

Landmass area = Area of one square

  #of squares            

17,000,000 mi2 = 29,209.62 mi2


The square root of 29,201.62 mi2= 170.91 mi per square side

Write that number down; it will be important later in the guide.

Plate Tectonics and Geographical Features

After your continents are a nice shape and size, you’ll need some features. Start with drawing in tectonic plates. The shapes of your continents will help to guide these. You’ll also want to determine the direction each plate is moving in relation to its neighbors. It doesn’t need to be terribly accurate as long as you have an idea where your edges are and what movement happens along them.  There are two different types of plate, oceanic and continental. You will need to know the type of each plate in your map. Basically, oceanic plates are at the bottom of oceans, and continental plates have continents. Not that hard.

   Note: Tectonic plates are not an absolute necessity.  You can decide whether or not to have them, even if you have a world rather like Earth. However, Earth derives lots of geographic features from tectonic activity, so this guide will provide information for creating a tectonically active world.

Faults are discontinuities in planes of rock; the largest ones occur where tectonic plates meet. We are mostly concerned with these plate boundaries. They can be categorized as transform, divergent, and convergent.

Transform boundaries occur where two plates move past each other sideways. Plates are not created or destroyed along these faults, but strong earthquakes may occur.

Divergent boundaries are boundaries between plates that are moving away from each other. A divergent boundary between two oceanic plates will result in a mid-oceanic ridge where new seafloor is being created. Between continental plates, a boundary of this type initially creates a rift, which eventually becomes a rift valley.  Volcanism and earthquakes are possible along divergent boundaries.

Rifting may also produce mountains. Lifted block mountains occur when chunks of rock are raised above the surrounding area and the land between them slips downward. These mountains have two steep sides separated by valleys; this type of terrain can be seen in Germany’s Black Forest.

Tilted block mountains form when only one side of the block is lifted. They have one very steep side, and the opposite side has a gentle slope. The Teton Range in the western United States consists of  tilted block mountains.

Convergent boundaries form when two plates move toward each other. One plate may slide under the other (subduction), or continental collision may occur.

Subduction will occur when one plate is more dense than the other, in which case the denser plate will slide under the lighter one. Oceanic plates are more dense than continental ones, so subduction is likely when the different types of plate collide. In this case, a mountain range will likely form on the continental side and an oceanic trench will form on the ocean side – the Andes is a mountain range of this type, paired with a trench off the coast.

If two oceanic plates collide, an island arc is often formed on the less dense plate, and an oceanic trench on the opposite side of the boundary is likely. Mountains and island arcs formed along subduction zones are most likely volcanic. Earthquake activity is also likely.

Continental collision happens when two continental plates collide. Neither subducts under the other; instead, both plates buckle, creating large mountain ranges. Think of the Himalayas.

You'll want to figure out your plate boundaries and their interactions first, then work in the features that they will produce.

Map with Plates by Lindenare
I decided I wanted this continent to be fairly geologically stable, so I put most of it on a huge tectonic plate. It will interact with other plates at the edges, but I’ve kept most of those away from my continent and so off the map. To keep things from being geologically boring, however, I put in a nice continental collision in the east and a subduction zone off the northwestern coast.

Map with Major Features by Lindenare
And here is the map with the features produced by plate interactions added.  I also put in some folded mountains to the south of the continental collision; they are produced by the larger plated folding farther from the collision itself.

Another note: Plate boundaries are not the only faults that will exist in an Earth-like world. Most plates have lots of minor faults within them, and these are often instrumental to building the landscape. Feel free to add these in where you want them. Interactions around small faults will be pretty much the same as those addressed above.

That's all for this section.


GPlates is an open-source program that allows you to play with plate tectonics on a sphere. The default map is Earth, but you can use your own maps. Download it here.

If you’re interested in GPlates, check out this tutorial for looking at plate movement using the program. It seems extremely useful.

Tectonics is a plate tectonic simulator that runs in your browser – no download required. It tends to give some odd-looking continents, but it’s a good tool for learning how plates interact.  

This guide uses both Tectonics and GPlates to produce fairly realistic results. Worth looking at.

Skin by CypherVisor

A Few Quick Updates

Sat Sep 20, 2014, 4:44 AM by Aederith

• Links

• The Reason We Exist

Our purpose here at original-worlds is to showcase deviants' unique settings for their works of fiction and their characters therein. We are a home for all worldbuilding work relating to your unique and imaginative creations!

• Resources

:bulletgreen: Worldbuilding Guide: Intro

• OW Challenge

The OW Challenge System

Hello! A few small updates have been made to the group over the last few weeks and this here is just to officially announce them so people are in the know.

• We now have a rebooted Worldbuilding Guide running with thanks to Lindenare! With each instalment we hope members will gain insight into thinking about and tackling various aspects of original world creation. :la:

• We now accept submissions in multiple languages! Thanks to ChimeraDragonfang we can now review submissions in English, French, German, and Norwegian!
(This will be in place from mid-October, since Chim's on holiday until then and she's our only admin capable of reading these languages. So hold on a little while before submitting anything not in English!)

• Our rules have been slightly updated for clarity, and we have added and clarified a couple of rules which are as follows:
- We only accept works which are created by you. Collaborations are fine, but we don't accept anything which was entirely drawn by someone else (e.g. commissioned work).

- Quality control is now in place for writing as well as drawing. All literature submissions must be clearly written with no excessive grammatical or spelling errors which impact the flow and presentation of the piece. We're not expecting perfection, just a knowledge and ability of how to compose written works in a coherent manner.

- And just in case people missed the quality control on drawing from the old update, a reminder: we do not accept poorly scanned/photographed work, and sketches/unfinished works/WIPs. Just basic quality of presentation, really. Show us your fully finished pieces that you're proud of!

As always take a look at our Rules to double-check these changes if they're applicable to you!

Skin by CypherVisor

• Links

• The Reason We Exist

Our purpose here at original-worlds is to showcase deviants' unique settings for their works of fiction and their characters therein. We are a home for all worldbuilding work relating to your unique and imaginative creations!

• Resources

:bulletgreen: Worldbuilding Guide: Intro

• OW Challenge

The OW Challenge System

Hello, and welcome to the brand new worldbuilding guide! This will serve as a reboot of the earlier, incomplete guide.

I’m hoping to provide an overview of the creation of a world in a way that will spark ideas and help those who need it over rough spots with their own worlds. I will also be building an example world as the guide continues; this will hopefully clarify anything that I don’t communicate well and help you to generate ideas.

Note that this guide is geared toward the creation of worlds more or less like Earth – that is to say, rocky planets that humans would probably be able to survive on without fancy gear.  

If your world does not fit this category – for example, a gas giant inhabited by sentient rocks – then much of this guide will not apply to your worldbuilding. If your world is an alternate Earth, then depending on how alternate it is, you may not need to figure out much of the basic groundwork. That’s fine; feel free to use what will help and ignore what won’t.

This guide also strongly reflects my own style of worldbuilding. Not everyone does it by the same method or in the same order as I do, so if you want to use the guide but prefer to skip steps or do them out of order, then be my guest. However, the way I will be laying things out works pretty well for me, and I hope that it will be helpful to some of you.


There are two major methods of worldbuilding, usually known as the top-down and bottom-up methods.  If you envision your world as a giant pyramid, with the basic laws of nature at the bottom and fine details of culture, biology, etc. at the top, the names may make more sense.

The top-down method starts with the details and builds outward and downward from there, figuring out what kind of world would be needed to produce a specific result. The bottom-up method does exactly the opposite – it begins with creating the planet itself (or solar system, or universe) and builds up to the details. Both methods are excellent and when done well, can lead to realistic and well-realized worlds.

I, however, find that both can be daunting even to someone who isn’t scared off by the prospect of building a whole world, not to mention that it can be boring to work so systematically. So I actually use a combination of the two, starting initially with the details, then using that knowledge to create the world’s foundation, and finally working to bring the two together. That will be the method used in this guide.

Let’s start, shall we?

The Seed Idea

The first thing to do is to form what I call a seed idea.  This is probably the most important step in your worldbuilding. A seed idea is the foundation of everything in your world – you will be building on it and drawing from it throughout the worldbuilding process. It can be anything that represents your world as you want it to be – a concept, an image, a bit of dialogue. You may have one already. If not, think about what you want your world to be like. What first inspired you to make a world?

When you have your seed idea, preserve it. Write it down, draw it, keep it in your mind – whatever works for you, as long as you have it available for your future worldbuilding. Make it as detailed as possible, engaging all the senses if you can. The more that is in your seed idea, the more you will have to grow into a world.  

If you want an example seed idea, mine is here. I would, however, advise trying to generate your own first. If you don't get anything right away, let it sit a while and come back. Next time, we will be using the seed idea to lay the world’s foundations.

Skin by CypherVisor

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