Drawing a world map vector illustration can be relevant if you need to create icons or even technical drawings for a comic strip. Creating a visually appealing map can be quite simple as you will see in this basic step-by-step tutorial.
Of course, you can experiment with colors, shadows, reflections and transparency. There are many different ways to create a nice looking world map and this is just one of them.
First, create a vector drawing of the world. You don't need to be too precise since the goal here is to have something that looks like earth. If you have a software like Adobe Illustrator, use the Pen Tool to create the outline of your map. It will be faster and more effective.
It is even more easy if you have access to a pen tablet. In this case, I have colored my map in blue. Using green can be a good idea too, but since I want to color the background in blue, using green over it can be hard to read.
Continue working on your world map vector illustration by adding a gradient effect on your drawing. It's always prettier if you make the bottom part darker and the top one lighter.
For the water, fill the background with a dark blue color.
Create another gradient fill effect and choose a lighter tone of blue for the second color. If you have access to an elliptical gradient tool, use it. It will look better than a circular one or another one made with a straight line.
To make your illustration more technical and visually interesting, add lines behind your map (and over the water). In my case, I have created lines that are thin and colored with a light blue tone.
If you want to, you can also add a few reflections on your world map vector image. All I did was to create shapes over the five continents (by leaving a small space between the outline of the original shapes and the ones of the new shapes) and color them in white.
Then, add a small transparency effect and make sure that the bottom part is almost invisible. Since all shapes are irregular, you cannot copy and paste your original shapes to create new ones. Some edges won't be aligned properly if you do so and the effect won't work. I hope you enjoyed this drawing lesson! :)