From ideas and a single location, now I needed context. So I began.
I took a small location on this map, "the cradle" which would be the site of an unusual binary star system with 9 habitable planets. It would be entirely my world and campaign setting, so I created some key events of the last 7000 years and now we need to go from the big to the local.
The big events can fit on a 3x5 card and are simply a framework to describe history when needed. So we need to zoom rapidly to something more manageable.
To do this we need planetary terrain. Enter Donjon's fantastic tools. This one generate planets. It is nice, but you need to do a lot of testing to find a pattern you like. You can create it from scratch instead, but when doing 9 planets and wanting some variety it was actually faster to start with a generator. I fine tune and do a lot of work later.
Here is the interface.
Here is world 8 of the ones I created, and the starting location of the Bellflower and Bamboo campaign.
Now that we have a planet with some details figured out it is time to figure out how big things are. So I took the file and put it in iDraw for Mac (vector editor, as I like the tools and options. Illustrator, inkscape etc would also work. Or you can pull into a raster editor your choice)
I took a vector map of earth and overlaid it to get relative dimensions.
I wasn't quite ready to trace the whole of everything in vector form, so I took it analog.
Next time I will go over how I created the nations.