Inky Maps! Illustrate a Beautiful Map Using Digital and Analog Media

Tom Froese, Illustrator and Designer

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18 Lessons (2h 35m)
    • 1. Class Trailer

      2:04
    • 2. The Project

      2:09
    • 3. Required Skills and Equipment

      3:00
    • 4. The 5 Elements of Illustrated Maps

      3:32
    • 5. Brainstorming

      5:13
    • 6. Gathering Visual References

      7:01
    • 7. Sketching the Base Map

      22:07
    • 8. Sketching the Icons

      9:34
    • 9. Combining Map and Icon Sketches

      5:46
    • 10. A Word on Color

      5:41
    • 11. Setting Up the Illustration File

      5:56
    • 12. Starting the Base Map Illustration

      5:52
    • 13. Making Inky Marks and Lettering for the Base Map

      10:46
    • 14. Bringing Map Ink into Photoshop

      25:06
    • 15. Starting the Icon Illustrations

      12:02
    • 16. Adding Inky Bits and Lettering to the Icons

      16:57
    • 17. Completing the Map

      9:52
    • 18. Yay! Conclusion

      2:00
97 students are watching this class

Project Description

Create an Illustrated Map of Your Favourite City

Use Inky Illustrations techniques to Illustrate a map of your own hometown or favourite city. You can focus on one small area, like just your neighbourhood, or you can do the whole city, or something in between. Make it personal by including places that are important to you or which represent a period of your life in that city. By the end of this project, you will have a beautiful illustrated 10 x 8 inch map that you can share online or even print for your wall or to sell on your shop. 

The Brief

  • Watch the videos in this class to learn, step by step, how I create whimsical illustrated maps by combining analog and digital techniques.
  • Create a 10 x 8 inch illustrated map of your hometown or favourite city.
  • You can focus on any portion of the city, as long as you stick to the one city.
  • Include 5-10 major landmarks as primary icons, and as many secondary elements as you wish. 
  • Use the illustration techniques from this class and from my Inky Illustrations class.
  • Use Photoshop. Use only physical media for textures, linework and details — no digital brushes!
  • Stick to 5 or fewer colours. 
  • Your final map file should be 10 x 8 inches and 300 dpi.

The Project Involves the Following Stages

  • Planning: Determining your map concept and contents
  • Sketching: Drawing what your map will look like
  • Illustrating the Base Map: Creating the art for the background map
  • Illustrating the Icons: Creating the art for the primary points of interest in the map
  • Completing: Adding the finishing touches and making everything look its best

Share Your Work!

You will get the most out of this class if you share your process and final piece here on the projects page! Here are three possible things you can share as you go along:

  1. Your Sketches
  2. Your Work in Progress (screen grabs or photos: any time after you’ve started illustrating the map)
  3. Your Finished Map Illustration

This is project is great for anyone who wants to learn how to create a whimsical, illustrated map with a handmade, human touch. It also will help build up your brainstorming and conceptual skills, as you learn how to move from an inkling of an idea to a more robust concept. Finally, it’s a great way of moving beyond the more foundational inky illustrations techniques taught in my original Skillshare class, Inky Illustrations. Although you don’t need to take my original Inky Illustrations class, it does go more in depth at some of the processes I use in this class and would be a super helpful resource for beginners. 

If you need to brush up on your Pen Tool skills, please check out my Pen Tool Wizard class. I made this FREE class especially for those needing a little extra help.

Enjoy the process and be sure to upload your projects so everyone (myself inlcuded) can appreciate them! Hashtag any Instagram shares with #InkyMaps!

Required Software and Supplies

  • Photoshop CC or later
  • Mouse or Tablet
  • Scanner
  • Black India Ink
  • Paint brushes
  • Nib pen (Speedball 512 nib with standard holder)
  • Plain paper for sketching
  • Sketchbook paper for inking
  • Container of water
  • Palette or small container for ink

Inspiration
I've set up a Pinterest board with visuals to inspire you. They include examples of some of my favourite maps by contemporary and classic illustrators  and demonstrate a range of possibilities for your project. If you have some inspiration you'd like to share, please do!

Pinterest Page Link: Inky Maps Inspiration

Colour Palettes
Don’t worry if you are not a colour genius — neither am I. For those who want to get going but don’t feel confident picking colour, I’ve included a few colour palettes in the project page to give you a starting point. Simply copy and paste these into your illustration and use the colour picker!

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Photoshop Help
If you want to learn more about the Pen tool in Photoshop, I recommend taking Meg Lewis's Skillshare class, Fundamentals of Photoshop: Typography and the Pen Tool. You can also refer to my original Inky Illustrations class, where I go in depth about the illustration techniques used in this class.

Sketch Templates
I've attached to this project page a PDF of the sketch template that I use in Step 3: Sketches. You can make your own, or just download and print this one.

Beyond This Project
I've included a digital image of one of a different map project, my map of Canada, and also a photo of what it looked like when I printed it on letterpress. If after the project you would like to know how to prepare your artwork for letterpress printing, I've got a class for that!

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