If you follow our Instagram, you might have read about our partnership with Rocky Mountain Bride — their latest four issues (Idaho, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana) each feature an illustrated map by yours truly! You can also find a few extra illustrations in the Idaho and New Mexico issues, but today I wanted to share a bit more about the design process for creating an illustrated city map. I’ll be sharing specifics based on the map I created featuring Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but the process is typically the same for any location. Read on to see how everything comes together!
I always start by brainstorming a list of places from around the city to feature — museums, parks, restaurants, etc. At this stage, I’m focused on building a list, so I don’t worry too much about curating. Then, I create a map in Google so I can see how each place is distributed throughout the city and get a better sense of the overall layout. This is when I start cutting places, or searching for places to add in specific neighborhoods so that the final composition will feel balanced. Since we’re not going for an exact map (I’ll leave that to Google), I do give myself a little leeway in terms of spacing and placement.
Once I finalize the locations and layout figured out, it’s on to the fun part! I’ll pull reference images of buildings, landmarks, and any other specific icons I’ll be using, and then it’s time to start painting! I like to illustrate each element separately — meaning I create the map outline with the streets, the buildings, the trees, the location text, etc. as standalone pieces. That way, I have more control over placement, scale, and details on the final print. Plus, it’s much easier to update the map if if I ever want to change any of the featured locations.
The final step — and also the most fun, in my opinion — is to put everything together! I love this part, because I finally get to see the individual pieces come together and see my vision come to life. It’s also exciting, of course, because it means the illustration is ready to share with the rest of the world.
And there you have it! Honestly, illustrated maps are a long and complicated process, but they really are one of my very favorite things to create. So far, I’ve created several maps from the Rocky Mountain region, but I’ve got plans for many more! What cities are you most interested in seeing??
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I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of yummy baked goods this time of year — ‘tis the season for pumpkin everything! Besides eating all the pumpkin scones in sight, I’ve got big plans this month to take advantage of my favorites season, like visiting a pumpkin patch, adding some fall accents to our home decor, and adding a few cool-weather staples into my wardrobe. Read on to see what I’m loving for October — and be sure to sign up for the mailing list for more illustrated goodies!
CURRENTLY CRUSHING ON —
More warm and cozy hues! I think our October colors celebrate fall even more than last month’s — I especially love how much they remind of the colors we’re seeing with the leaves starting to change. Throw in a cloudy, stormy blue for some drama, and you’ve got a perfect fall palette!
CURRENTLY CRAVING —
All the pie! I’m not a big dessert person in general (aside from my undying love for donuts), but I do love a good slice of apple pie this time year. I’m constantly on the hunt for the perfect recipe, so if you’ve got a good one, please feel free to send it my way!
CURRENTLY SHOPPING FOR —
The perfect pair of ankle boots. I’m a creature of habit and pretty much live in my ankle boots year-round, which means I usually need to invest in a new pair by the time fall rolls around. I’m loving this pair from Target — the chunky heel and laser cut details are so cute!
CURRENTLY READING —
Have you read WorkParty yet? I’m officially obsessed with this book, which is by the founder of Create & Cultivate, Jaclyn Johnson. It’s filled with inspiration from successful boss ladies, practical advice for building a business, and empowering messages for women in the workplace.
CURRENTLY PLANNING —
Our trip to San Diego! We’ll be there next weekend, so I’m officially in full research mode. Old Town San Diego, Balboa Park, and the San Diego Museum of Man are already on the list, but I’m still working on my list of the yummiest tacos, cutest coffee shops, and best local shops. We’ll be trying to fit some beach time in as well, of course!
What are you most excited for this month?
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