Most extant portolan charts from before 1500 are drawn on vellum, which is a high-quality type of parchment, made from calf skin. Single charts were normally rolled whereas those that formed part of atlases were pasted on wood or cardboard supports.[14]

The earliest surviving explanations of how to draw a portolan chart date from the 16th century,[15] so the techniques used by medieval mapmakers can only be inferred. The instruments available in the Middle Ages are believed to have been a ruler, a pair of dividers, a pen, and inks of various colors. Drawing probably started with the windrose lines and then the mapmaker copied the coastal outlines from some earlier chart. Place names, geographic details and decoration were added in the end.[16]

Source: Portolan chart – Wikipedia