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February 2014

Challenge: Mapping for Skagit PUD Water Treatment Plant

I was in an adventuresome mood when I accepted a large project in September, 2013. But was I up to the task of "mapping" the process of treating water at the Judy Reservoir Water Treatment Plant in Skagit county? New territory for me, for sure. The project began with an email from Kevin Tate, community relations manager for Skagit Public Utilities District. After seeing in a publication one of my maps for a nature trail on Guemes Island, he could foresee my work being applied to his visionary public relations concept. The treatment facility at Judy Reservoir (east of Mount Vernon and up above the Skagit River) attracts a lot of visitors. However, the visual aids in the Control House there have been minimal and not helpful in teaching public school groups and interested community members about the process of purifying stream water and river water into drinkable water.

Process Map Blog
Technical pen and watercolor were used for all four illustrations created for this project. The artwork was scanned at a high resolution (800dpi) which allows the art to be greatly enlarged for the display panels.

Here's the nutshell version of my own creative process for the primary illustration. I did a total of four illustrations, three of which included map elements. The fourth will appear only in the interpretive display sign by the shore of Judy Reservoir and will not be part of the educational display area within the plant.

Pipes blog

During my site visit I took plenty of photos of pipes, meters, tanks, and chemical injectors such as those seen in this photo. 

For any map to be helpful, there's a lot of sorting of key information that could be included. In the case of this project, visualizing how all of this information should be sequenced and illustrated was difficult for me. In the pencil sketch below, you can see the first generation of the map. This was not, however, my first concept; the first one was scrapped after it became clear to me that it was not going to serve the interpretive display AND the need for a take-away illustration for visitors. So I essentially had started over.


Water TreatProcSketch
A detailed pencil version of any map is essential for the editing process. Kevin Tate gave me specific feedback on this piece so that I was able to make corrections and additions before any ink or color work was done.

My illustrations will be featured in the Control House of the water treatment facility (and one on the panel by the reservoir) and will be on view after a design firm completes the comprehensive display fabrication. This display will enhance the tours that are regularly offered at the Judy Reservoir facility. I will post information about these when the display is completed in the spring, 2014.