We all use maps, but how many of us have ever drawn one? Consider setting aside four days in September to explore the art of mapmaking while being in the embrace of the peaks and lakes of the North Cascades.
From September 6-9, 2012, I will be teaching the course The Artful Map, A One-Page Journal at the North Cascades Institute Environmental Learning Center (ELC). This will be one of three courses (participants register for just one of the three classes) offered at the annual artists' retreat held in this spectacular location on Diablo Lake, less than 3 hours from Seattle. I taught a shorter version of this course last year, and will return to teach it again with an additional day this year.
When it comes to designing maps, there are no limitations. Just about anything can be mapped, whether it be a geographic location, a voyage taken, or even a series of life events. Up among the massive, stony peaks and forests surrounding the ELC, we will have no shortage of inspirational material to work with for experiential maps that can double as journal pages.
The circular map of Diablo Lake and the ELC area shown here was one I made last year prior to the class.
Today I completed the map above that exemplifies a different approach. Ostensibly designed to help wildlife navigate my yard and find food and water there, I had a good time marking off my property with paces while making notes and sketches on site rather than relying on Google Earth, which I used to assist in rendering the geographical elements on the circular map. For artful maps, exact measurements are not needed. For more abstract approaches to making maps, traditional cartographic features may even be omitted in favor of individuality. When designing your own map, you may employ your imagination to any degree you wish.
Below are two in-progress images of the map. I started with transferring a basic sketch to hot press watercolor paper (one of the ones we'll use in class) using a light box. Then, I inked in with a Rapidograph 00 all the features and icons, borders, paths and keys. After the ink was dry, I painted the map with watercolor, selecting colors as I went along. Incorporating both warm and cool colors, and keeping them fairly light, I tried to keep the icons strongly visible.
Please contact me with questions you may have about the class or the venue. Visit the informative website for the North Cascades Institute by clicking here. View the work of last year's students here. Register for the class by clicking here. I'd be very happy to see you and work with you up in the mountains, at the edge of turquoise Diablo Lake as the summer draws to a close.