- Part 1 -
WHEN I VISIT A CITY FOR THE FIRST TIME, I buy a map, find a cup of coffee, and try to get a sense of the place before heading off to explore. I have at least fifty maps I've kept as trip souvenirs (and many more are bucket list reminders). At a glance, I can tell you where I went, what I saw, and the people I met.
|A few maps in my collection|
Maps are curious things, the perfect storytellers. Beyond sources of basic information, they can change our minds about a place and have the ability to convince us certain things are worth checking out.
A year ago I began work in earnest on an illustrated map of my city, specifically the downtown business district of Macon where I spend the majority of my time. Downtown is the place where interesting things are happening and the area deserved an illustrated map.
First I had to ask the question: Why didn't a map already exist? Technically, one did, but it was perpetually out of date and made the area look dull as soup. Why didn't a BETTER map already exist? That answer revealed itself rather quickly: because it takes significant time, a certain passion for the process, and most importantly, it's freaking hard work, people. And that wasn't all. I wanted a map that was useful to everyone. Otherwise, what's the point?
I had this crazy idea that aerial photos would make my work as an illustrator a breeze. ((HA!)) Digital aerial photos by satellite (in)conveniently drop image information at seemingly random intervals. I would squint at a photo, muttering to myself, "There's a building there. *Right* there." On the screen there was nothing but a blob. It was like an alien worm had swallowed the building where I ordered espresso once a week. That, the mad squishing and stretching of buildings, and the wack-a-doodle arched perspective, and you have to take matters into your own hands.
|Initial sketches relied on aerial images. Unfortunately perspectives were skewed from the center-outward. Each building required adjustments, especially the "missing" ones.|
|Missing buildings, alleys, and compressed rooflines were corrected on walkabouts.|
(More to follow in next post)