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April 2017

The Map as Memoir

SheepWhen a close friend wistfully recounted a rural walk taken in the Yorkshire Dales by her and her husband, I felt compelled to offer to draw a map of the area and trail. One year later (yes, even I am overly optimistic about the time required to draw a map by hand), the map is complete.

Technique-wise, I was inspired by the beautiful colored pencil illustration work by Fred Marcellino. Recently, another artist friend sent me a copy of a charming map he had drawn for the book The Wainscott Weasel. If you click on this link, scroll down when you "look inside" this Amazon listing to see his map I am referring to. Mind you, my own map ended up being way more complex than Marcellino's map, but maybe you'll be able to see a resemblance between the two.

Gargrave walk sm

Here is the map in full. The artwork is 10.5" wide by 16" in height. All drawing is done with colored pencil. The monoline pen lettering was done with Rapidograph technical pens and India ink with the exception of the title which was done in gouache with a Speedball B-nib.

My friend who took the walk provided lots of photos for me to refer to. I chose to do pull-out illustrations based on those photos, placing them roughly in their pertinent locations. The bottom panorama drawing gives a more dimensional view of the bucolic landscapes of the Dales. Sheep are abundant, and all the pastures are partitioned by original stone fences. The gray dotted lines throughout the map represent these walls.

A word about the lettering: I simply loved Marcellino's lettering on his map, so I blatantly copied it. Style-wise, the letters seem to be inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's sketch labeling. All caps combined with generous letter spacing make for clean and legible titling with just enough personality. 

Other details: with the predominant greens of the pastures, red was the color I chose for decorative accents on the map. With all the texture in the pasturelands, I opted to leave the 1/4" border and the title box uncolored. The circular pull-outs are 1.25" in diameter. I did refer to a GoogleEarth image of the Gargrove Walk area as well as two existing maps to create this map. Creating a memoir for my friends to look at in the years to come was my intent and inspiration.