Mapping Life: Draw an Illustrated Map of Your Own Journey | Amandine Thomas | Skillshare

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Mapping Life: Draw an Illustrated Map of Your Own Journey

teacher avatar Amandine Thomas, Award-winning illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:37
    • 2. Class Project

      2:26
    • 3. What Makes a Map... A Map?

      5:18
    • 4. Pick Your Journey

      4:03
    • 5. Select Your Key Landmarks

      6:03
    • 6. Plan Your Map

      3:21
    • 7. Work on Your Sketch

      3:29
    • 8. Finalise Your Map

      4:42
    • 9. Continue the Journey

      2:50
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About This Class

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What if maps could not only chart the boundaries of our world, but also of our mind, our imagination, our emotions? In this class, get ready to explore your own journey, and tell your story through beautifully-illustrated maps!

We all feel a bit lost sometimes... that’s why borrowing the codes and symbols of cartography to find (or redefine) ourselves can be incredibly useful! But how do we get there? 

Whether you are in need of re-assessing boundaries, keen to map-out your emotions on paper, or simply ready to celebrate your own journey, follow illustrator (and cartography nerd) Amandine Thomas as she shares, step by step, her method to:

  • Explore your inner-world through the lens of cartography;
  • use map-drawing as a powerful, introspective storytelling tool;
  • create a thoughtful, unique illustrated map, in your own style;
  • and learn some map-drawing techniques that will allow you to design any map, from scratch!

All you need is your favourite drawing tool (be it Procreate on your iPad, a box of coloured pencils, or your collection of calligraphy nibs), an eagerness to explore, and a dash of creativity! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Amandine Thomas

Award-winning illustrator

Top Teacher

 

Hello there,

I'm Amandine Thomas!

I am a French award-winning illustrator and art director based in Melbourne, Australia. At age four, I announced to a bewildered family that I would become a children’s book illustrator, and grew up writing short stories that I illustrated and compiled in crooked, clumsily stapled booklets.

Fast forward to present-day, and not much has changed: I now specialise in children's books, editorial, and commercial illustration, collaborating with people hailing from one side of the globe to the other.

Through my playful and lively i... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: When we think about maps, we probably mainly think of them as tools to show us where we are or where we want to go. But maps can be so much more than that. That's what I have always loved about them. I'm Amandine Thomas, and I'm an illustrator, an art director, and a huge map nerd. Most of the time, you can find me writing and illustrating children's books or creating editorial in commercial illustrations. But whenever I can, I sneak in some illustrated maps in my work. I love walking that line between cartography and art and using maps as a way to tell stories. Because over maps are traditionally used to help us make sense of our surroundings or navigate through the world. They can also be embedded with really strong narratives and help guide us through emotions, feelings, memories. For example, during the pandemic, I really struggled to stay creative, so I decided to use cartography as a storytelling tool, not only to visually share my journey for this completely unprecedented situation, but also to actually better understand my own creative block. That's what I'll be helping you do for this class. If you may be feeling a little bit lost or in need of redefining some boundaries or simply keen to map out some emotions on paper, then keep watching. Together, we'll create a beautiful illustrated map that will thoughtfully explore a particular idea, a journey, or an experience you want to record, share, or reflect on somehow. Each lesson will take you for a different step of the process, from finding inspiration to brainstorming, planning, sketching, and of course, illustrating your final artwork. Each step of the way, I'll give you some insight into my own cartography practice with in-depth demos, tips, and of course, a little bit of map trivia. By the end of the class, you'll not only have a beautiful map to hang at home or maybe gift to a loved one but you'll also have learned how to use cartography as a super-powerful storytelling tool, and of course, some map-drawing techniques to help you make any map from scratch. Now, before we start, if you're feeling in need of a little creative boost, feel free to check out my previous classes. Yes, you can draw and find your creative style, but if you're ready to start exploring now, grab your notebook, some paper, your favorite tools, and join me in the next lesson where we'll talk about the class project. See you there. 2. Class Project: Hi again. So you already know that by the end of the class you'll have a map. But before any map is ever designed, there needs to be some exploring. Don't worry, you're not in uncharted territory though. Every step of the way I will share with you the process I use when I design a map and where I find my inspiration. As you complete the project, you'll not only create a tangible piece of art, but you'll also get to appreciate the almost therapeutic aspect of map making. It's a great way to visually translate our own journey through life, to feel empowered to tell our own stories, and ultimately to make sense of our experiences, from exploring gender identity, to making it through pandemic, or working your way through heartbreak. It's also a super creative and interactive way to tell a story and share your personal interpretation of the world that is both visually impactful and fun for your reader to navigate. Where does the exploring start? First, we'll draw some inspiration from the past by diving into some great maps and looking at their purpose beyond geography. Then I'll give you some prompts to help you pick a particular journey, a concept, or an idea for your map, which will inform all your design decisions. Once you've identified that central theme, we'll dive into map making and start brainstorming the main elements of your map, its layout and composition, and finally, how to sketch and illustrate it. For this project, I'll use a notebook to jot down ideas, a few pieces of draft paper for brainstorming and rough sketches, and a piece of 300 GSM paper to paint my final artwork. As for tools, if you've seen my previous classes, you know that I love using inks or watercolors with a calligraphy nib. That's the technique I chose for my final artwork. But this will be a really personal piece of art, so it's important that you pick tools that you feel comfortable with. It could be Procreate on your iPad, maybe some gouache, some fine liners, whatever you feel will resonate with your story. As you go through the lessons, feel free to share your work in progress in the project section of the class, it can be the little sketches, ideas scribbled in a notebook, creative experiments, anything that shows the thought process that goes behind each map. Now, if you're ready, I'll see you in the next lesson where we'll look at what makes a map a map. See you there. 3. What Makes a Map... A Map?: Hi again. I've already shared that I'm a huge map nerd. But for most people, when they think about maps, they probably think about this, right? It might be the most used map in the world, but it doesn't really go beyond getting us from a to b. In this lesson, I'd love to share a little bit of inspiration. Maps that I love because they do go way, way past your navigation. Maps that might make you pause and think, "Wait, is this actually a map and what is it for?" To answer these questions, we can start with a good old definition. Here is what the Oxford Dictionary tells us about maps. A drawing or plan of the Earth's surface or part of it, showing country's towns, rivers, etc. A diagram to show the position of things over an area. Now, it's true that map generally help us navigate through the world. Some people have explored it, they've mapped it, and now we get to use their knowledge to find our way. But maps can do so much more than just showing us the surface of the earth. Even the oldest known map in the world, a map of ancient Babylon, which is called the Imago Mundi, isn't an objective representation of the landscape. You can see that it includes regular landmarks like cities, canals or swamp, but it also includes these mythological islands which definitely were not part of the actual landscape of ancient Babylon. This map really is more of an interpretation of the world. It reflects the beliefs and the culture of the time. It's that particular aspect of cartography that I would like us to focus on before we start mapping. For example, this is also a map. right been drawn by one hiker for another to show them how to reach the top of a mountain. But you can see that it only includes some elements of the landscape, of course. Those are personal choices. What we notice in the world and what we decide to include in our maps is already very personal. It reflects how we see the world, just like with the map of Babylon. We can go even further and use maps as narrative tools able to convey a complex story. Like this map, which shows Napoleon's army progressing for Russia in the late 1800s. What you see in pink is the French army on the way to Moscow and in black, it's the army on the way back. Like on most maps, you can spot geographical elements like rivers and towns, but it's associated with a timeline, information on the temperatures, the number of men in the army, etc. You can really see the impact of low temperatures on the army as it progressed further and further into Russia and into winter. What we get is an in-depth narrative of a particular event. This narrative doesn't even have to be anchored in geography or in history. Like here with La Carte de Tendre, which is an imaginary map or metaphorical map. It represents love according to the place use, which were these intellectual, educated, very witty woman from the 17th century. If we zoom in, we can see that all landmarks are actually metaphors for relationships. Translated in English, we could be traveling from a city called New Friendship, which would represent the beginning of the relationship to Pretty Verses, which would be moving to courtship, to Honesty, like building a trusting relationship, and all the way to Tendre, tenderness, where supposedly lies a lady's heart. Alternatively, traveling to Pride might lead to the Inimitie sea, which is rocky and uncharted. With this map, we've completely moved away from representing the surface of the Earth. Everything becomes symbolic. These types of maps are called allegorical maps. My main source of inspiration when it comes to my cartography work. I'll try not to geek up too hard, but here is another example. A geographical guide to a man's and a woman's heart. Once again, the landmarks are metaphors, sometimes quite tongue in cheek, like the broad range of interests in the man's heart or the Platonic plateau in the woman's heart. But allegorical maps are not always romantic. This is Temperance map and it represents the dangers and the temptations of alcohol with some pretty dire landmarks on the way, like the island of poverty and murder, the gulf of perdition, the sea of anguish. You can tell there is a really strong message here. What allegorical maps can do is help us explore human emotions or map up the human condition. Just like regular maps, they show us how things relate to each other, whether it be places, feelings, emotions, and how to travel through them. All the visual vocabulary that comes with cartography is available to us to tell these complex, thoughtful stories. As artists, we can use these codes and symbols to convey geographical, yes, but also emotional or cultural information. That's exactly what we'll be doing in the next lessons, starting with picking the journey you want to map out. If you're ready, I'll see you in the next lesson. 4. Pick Your Journey: Hi there. By now you have a little bit more of an idea of the map we'll be creating in this class. But you might be feeling daunted by having to pick a main theme or a main idea for your map. After all, there are many ways you could go about it. You could pick a physical journey one-way you actually traveled from A to B or metaphorical journey, which could be overcoming a challenge or tackling a new adventure in your life. That could be a progression where you'd show growth revolution. Or your map could explore a single fixed emotion, looking at it from every possible angle. You could also choose to represent a personal experience, one that only you went for it or it could be a collective experience, one that you shared with others. As you know, for this class, I'll be using my creativity in times of COVID map. It's a metaphorical journey, one that shows a progression and one that is quite intimate and personal, even though it did stem from a collective experience. The reason I chose this particular map to share with you is first of all, because it dives into a narrative that as creatives we can all relate to. But also because I think it's important to take time to reflect on this particular experience and keep a trace of it. Now, if you're struggling with picking the journey you want to map out, you can try and ask yourself, when was the last time I overcame what felt like a huge challenge? What emotions do I regularly grapple with, and would like to explore further? When did I last have an experience that taught me something big? What do I care about in the world, and want to engage with more deeply? You can write down ideas in a notebook or in the worksheets I've created for the class and come back to it later to see what resonates most with you. In the past, I've created maps about what it felt like to wander into the unknown, the experience of moving into a new city, or the challenge of finding purpose in life. Each time I create a new map, I gain some perspective on whatever it is I'm exploring. I encourage you to pick a theme that's been nagging at you for a little bit or maybe something you've been wanting to tackle creatively for awhile but didn't quite know how. Once you've picked your idea, it's time to start thinking about it in a little bit more detail. Like what were some of the challenges or the winds you experienced along the way? What were some key milestones for this particular journey? For my own map, it will be things like fending off anxiety, or my tendency to procrastinate when I'm anxious, or finding that state of creative flow that is so important to develop new projects and ideas. Once you have a list of 10-20 elements, you can start thinking about their position along the way or the order in which they're going to appear in your story. When do you want your journey to start? What are the ups and downs along the way? Where does it end? You can number each event or milestone and make a little list. Of course sometimes the order in which events happened isn't so important like if you're exploring a particular emotion of feelings such as falling in love or grieving. Your journey doesn't necessarily need to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. But it does help to establish some an order for it to unfold, so you could try to think about it in terms of rhythm instead. Does this emotion have a cycle like momentum where you always end up in the same place at the end? Or is it more of a fast upward trajectory? Does it intensify or wane? You can even draw graphs if that helps. Remember that this is your journey, so there is no right or wrong way to do it. Imagine relating these experience to a friend. How would you tell the story? Once you've organized your milestones in somewhat of an order, we can move on to the next lesson where we'll pick the key landmarks for your map. See you there. 5. Select Your Key Landmarks: We have a journey, we have the milestones along that journey. Now we need to translate all of that into a map. A good place to start is to think about which landmark would best represent each win, each challenge, each twist and turn in your journey. For that, we can look back at the maps we discovered earlier, the allegorical maps and the people that designed them, the allegorists. To better understand their process, we can have a look at this quote by cartographer Dennis Wood. Here what he says about the landmarks in allegorical maps, "The mountain was always the unattainable or attainable goal. It was the end of the quest, and the quest was always metaphysical. It was marriage or home or family, or a job or whatever. Then you would draw a route for a landscape of various perils or opportunities, and you know, it's like playing Chutes and Ladders. They (the allegorist) use the height to represent good things and they use the low points to represent bad things. Only it's a map that looks like a map, but that's not really a map. It's an opportunity surface of some kind" So how do we create this opportunity surface, which looks like a map, but is so much more than that? Well, we can start by having a look at the symbols, the vocabulary, the conventions used in cartography. For example, a well-known convention is using blue to represent water. Even though our bodies of water are actually rarely blue. But if we stray from this convention and paint our river brown, we might confuse our reader. That's because to some extent, we're all aware of these conventions. We come to expect them. For example, we can all agree that a good way to represent roads is to use different kinds of lines. Generally with a visual hierarchy. Small lines are small roads, big lines are bigger roads. We as artists can use these cartography conventions as storytelling tools, just like the allegorists. It could be natural landmarks, pictograms, topography. For example, I really love to draw inspiration from older maps, and I often pinch symbols from them. I would use the compass route from nautical charts to represent a need for direction or purpose. Or I might include dragons or monsters in the water like in maps from the Middle Ages to represent the darker corner of our world. I have also used dimension terra incognita, which in cartography indicates a place that hasn't yet been explored. It's a great way to acknowledge need for growth or the feeling of being a bit lost. Depending on your story, different landmarks, different symbols will resonate with you. A good way to pick the ones you want to use is to go back to the little list we made earlier. Now, for each of the elements listed here, we're going to pick the landmark or the symbol that would best represent it. To do that you can ask yourself, "Was this particular milestone scary, like standing on the edge of a cliff above tumultuous waters? Was it liberating, like reaching the top of a mountain?" For example, for me, the beginning of the pandemic felt like a huge sea of information coming from every direction, and without much clarity on the horizon. This metaphor brought on the idea of a sailor sighting land. Only during the pandemic that land would have been treacherous and hard to navigate, just like the media at the time. Of course, these landmarks are representative of my experience, just like yours will reflect your journey. As you go for your list, milestone by milestone, carefully and thoughtfully think about the best symbol, the best visual metaphor for that particular point in your journey. If you need help selecting your landmarks, feel free to have a look at the little catalog I've prepared for you and which you can download in the resource section of the class. It also includes handy worksheets to help you for each of the lessons in this class. You can also go back to the maps we looked at earlier in the class and get inspiration from them too. Once you have an idea for each milestone, there is the really fun step of actually naming your landmarks. I really loved that part because it's a really good way to inject some humor or some whimsy into your map. It really helps setting up the tone for your artworks. For example, I have the swamp of procrastination right at the beginning of the journey because it was really easy during lockdown to get stuck on your couch instead of being creative. You have to overcome that, and it's really hard. Then there is Mount Motivation, because sometimes staying motivated feels like climbing a really steep hill. It requires sweat and effort. I also have the desert of perpetual social distancing, because it felt like my social life turned into a desert. I included the Zoom oasis, which is obviously an essential stop while crossing the desert. Now, if you find that coming up with names is a little bit difficult, you can try to think about what you want the name to evoke. Is this landmark meant to be scary, uplifting, funny? Another thing I like doing is using a synonym dictionary. For example, calling the treacherous islands at the beginning of my journey, confusion islands might be accurate, but it's also a little bit literal. Befuddlement is both more fun as a word and it also feels closer to that state of stunned shock I experienced. Once you've selected and named your key landmarks, make a little list in your notebook or in your worksheet. This is what we're going to use to plan, sketch, and illustrate your map. Of course, as we go along with the process, you might want to change a few things, but that's perfectly fine. In the meantime, let's move on to the next lesson where we'll start planning the layout and the composition of your map. See you there. 6. Plan Your Map: Are you ready to start sketching? In this lesson, we'll work on the layout, the composition, and a few really rough sketches for your map using the landmarks you've chosen for your gin. A good place to start is once again, with your story. How can you create the layout that will best serve your narrative, that will best support your idea? The good news is that even the first decisions you make about your layout, such as the orientation of your map or its size, can actually be used as narrative tools. A vertical layout, for example, will evoke aspiration, ambition, especially if you start at the bottom and move to the top of your page, perfect for a narrative centered on something you're working towards, or a goal, just like the cat to the town, which was mapping the way to a ladies' heart. A horizontal layout will translate the idea of progress, of development, especially if you move from left to right. It works great for journeys that follow a timeline or a physical trip from A to B. You can think back to the map of Napoleon's army, for example. In terms of sizes, you could go very small and convey a sense of intimacy, really drawing your reader into your own little world. If you go big, you can have an immediate bold impact. It's worth taking a little bit of time thinking about these parameters. What would best suit your map? You can think back on the way you might have described it earlier in the class. For my map, I have a metaphorical journey that shows progression towards a goal which is finding my creativity again, and that is quite introspective. Because of that, I went vertical because I really wanted to convey that aspiration towards being creative again, having new ideas. I also kept the size of my artwork quite modest because although we might have all grappled with these challenges, it's quite a personal interpretation of it. Once you have a rough idea of the size and orientation of your map, you can start sketching what I call mini-maps, either on your draft paper or on your iPad if you're going digital. I generally use a pencil to sketch, but of course, you can use whatever you like. Mini-maps basically are super simple, super quick mini layouts for your map. It's a good way to get started if you're feeling a bit daunted by the transition from concept to drawing, and a really great tool to quickly visualize a few different options for the composition of your artwork. I personally use this as a brainstorming tool. I add notes, I'll leave myself little comments as ideas pop up and I might not use all of these ideas but that's okay, the main goal is to get your creativity flowing. The more I sketch, the more detailed my mini-maps tend to get, it doesn't mean that the last iteration will be the one I choose, but it allows me to flesh out my ideas more and more, and I keep going until I'm happy with one of them. Once you've sketched a few of your own mini-maps and you've picked your favorite, you can use it as a reference or a blueprint for your final artwork. I always find these fascinating, so please do share them in the project section of the class if you feel comfortable doing so. Of course, bring your mini-map along to the next lesson where we'll start working on your actual artwork. See you there. 7. Work on Your Sketch: Hi, again. We're almost there. In this lesson, we're going to create the final sketch for your map. We'll also work out the last little composition, layout, and storytelling details and then you'll be ready to finalize your artwork. But first, we need to go back to our mini-maps. We need to transition from a miniature to a full-scale sketch. How do we get there? First, we're going to work on an intermediate sketch, using your draft paper or your iPad if you're working digitally. These rough sketch is going to reproduce your minimap at scale, which for me is an A5. But for you might be a smaller or bigger format based on your story. I like to start by sketching very roughly with very light strokes. There is no need to place any details yet, as this is just a first test of your layout at final scale and a way to identify issues at first glance. Because sometimes layouts that work well in miniature don't transition well into full-scale and that's perfectly normal. For example, not all your landmarks might fit, or all your landmarks are in the same spot and the layout is unbalanced. They might also not be enough landmarks and the map might feel empty. If you identify any of these issues, this is the perfect time to correct them. For example, in my original mini-maps, all my landmarks were bunched up at the bottom, but I didn't realize until I went full scale. So I use these intermediate sketch to bring some of the landmarks up and I even created a new one to counterbalance the changes. Once you're happy with that really rough full-scale sketch, you can move on to your final piece of paper and draw what will become your map. Once again, keeping your strokes very light so you can erase them later. As you rework you various elements more in details, remember to pay special attention to scale as you don't want a giant tree on one side and a tiny microscopic mountain on the other. Style, as you want your landmarks to all belong in the same family of symbols. For example, if you draw your mountain in great details with shading and everything, you probably want to pay just as much attention to your forest and not just slap of green blob there. Storytelling, as you want your landmark to appear roughly in the order you've established earlier in the class, you should decide where your starting point will be on the page and where the eyes should travel from there. It can be as easy as left to right or top to bottom, or much more complex depending on your story of course. Composition, as you want to keep an eye on how you place each element, making sure you have enough space to integrate text if you want to, or a key if your map needs one. This will give your artwork and overall consistent look and feel and a more thoughtful design. Once again, if you need help sketching a particular landmark, remember to use the catalog included in new resources for this class. Or alternatively, jump on Google for heaps of inspiration. That's what I did when I realized that I didn't quite know how to draw a canyon from above. Now you have the base for your illustration, whether on paper or on screen if you're working digitally. That brings us to the last phase, of course, the actual artwork. Feel free to share your final sketch in the project section of the class if you feel comfortable, no pressure and join me in the next lesson to finalize your artwork. See you there. 8. Finalise Your Map: You made it. You are about to finalize your artwork. Congrats on digging deep with your story and putting your creative mind to work. But first of all, as you may have realized by now, this is a very thoughtful, personal piece of art. That means that the style and the techniques you're going to use to illustrate your map should be just as truthful and personal. The tools I'm going to use in the demonstration might not resonate with your own story. But that's why I want you to go ahead and pick whatever you feel will best match your own journey regardless of what I'm doing. If you're not quite so sure of how to choose a particular technique, I really encourage you to check out my previous class, find Your Creative Style, and take a deep dive into sketching as a way to develop your own aesthetic. It might really help you find that special style that really speaks to who you are as an artist. In the meantime, you can also ask yourself, have I come across map illustrations I love? If yes, why do I love them? What tool or technique or style do I feel comfortable and confident using? What particular feeling or emotion would I like to convey? What tools would work best for that? Answering these prompts might give you a few ideas as to what you might like to use for this particular piece. In the past, I've used all sorts of techniques for my maps, from very simple yet effective linework to super complex, super detailed watercolor, and everything in between. Sometimes my choices had to do with the purpose of my map, sometimes with my audience, and some just with how motivated or lazy I was feeling that day. Once again, there is no right or wrong choice, just give something a go and if it doesn't work, move on. Now, for this particular map, I use my usual faithful nib and some [inaudible] and brown ink. The reason for this choice is that I wanted a bit of a weathered treasure map feel without feeling too cliche or obvious. I wanted the map to look like it had lived a little bit and that it had gone through the pandemic just like I had. Of course, depending on the technique you decide to use, you're going to run into your very own unique challenges. But regardless of what you decide to do, I really encourage you to take your time, and that goes for any technique. It's easy to rush at this stage because you might be excited about finishing the map or slightly nervous, and that's when mistakes happen. It could be a stain, a wonky line, and then you might feel the need to start over. Take a deep breath and try to keep your movements fluid and relaxed. Of course, if you make a super small mistake or there is a little flaw in your illustration, try not to worry too much about it. This is, after all, an original piece of art, so it's bound to have a few imperfection. In fact, that's what makes it special. Now, if you did choose analog technique like me, you are probably going to ink or paint over your sketch. That's why it was important to keep your strokes quite light in the previous lessons so they don't show through the paint or you can erase them later. But a mistake I make all the time is being too eager to erase my sketch. I'm going for it before the ink or the paint is dry. Remember to be patient because I have ruined many in illustration this way. Now, of course, if you've gone digital, that's not an issue you're going to run into. But regardless, I do think that being patient, thoughtful, and relaxed is just as important when creating digital art. Another important tip, regardless of the technique, is to know when to stop. Because it's really easy to go too far and start embellishing just for the sake of it, which can take your illustration from great to overworked or overcrowded. If you feel yourself becoming unsure of whether you're done or not, or if you start compulsively adding unnecessary details, just walk away for a bit and come back with a fresh mind. If when you come back you feel like you're done, then congrats. You finalize your map. I really hope that it will only be the first of many and that you'll join me in the Map Note Club. Of course, as a trainer, I absolutely love to see students' interpretation of what makes a map and how each person finds a personal way to use cartography to tell their own story. I feel honored when students share their journey with me. I hope you feel comfortable doing so in the project section of the class. I also hope that you'll join me in the next lesson for a little bit of a recap of what we've learned and tips to continue the journey. See you there. 9. Continue the Journey : Hi again and congrats. You've created a truly meaningful, introspective piece of art. I hope that as you planned for, sketched, and illustrated your map, you were able to use your creativity as a way to explore your own story and navigate your emotions. But before we finish up, here is a little recap of what we covered in the class. What is a map? A map isn't necessarily an objective representation of the world. It often reflects personal interpretations and opinions. Maps can be embedded with complex narratives and finally, maps are a powerful storytelling tool, a way to visually translate our own journey through life. Road map to designing your own. Choose the story you want to tell for your map; this will inform all your design decisions. Think about what landmark would best represent each challenge or success along the way. Carefully, think about the name of each landmark. What do you want it to evoke? Sketch a few mini-maps to plan the orientation, size, and overall layout of your map and select your favorite. Roughly sketch your preferred layout scale. Once you have placed all your elements on the page, you can rework the details in your final sketch. If you're happy with your pencil sketch, you can start illustrating using the techniques and style of your choice. If you'd like to continue using cartography as a super-powerful storytelling tool, whether for personal intimate project, or beyond, here are a few final tips. Remember to take advantage of the rich universal vocabulary of cartography. Continue to take inspiration from the amazing resources out there, some of which you can find in the catalog downloadable in the resources section of this class. Give it your own twist. Your story is unique, so is your map. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. Stay thoughtful in the way you approach your map for any creative project for that matter. Each choice you make in the creation of your artwork can carry meaning and enhance the story from visual metaphors to layout choices. Of course, I encourage you one last time to share your map and the process behind it in the project gallery of the class. I'd love to see the ways in which you used cartography to explore your own journey from the very first scribbles all the way to the final artwork. If you're interested in seeing more of my work and maybe dive into some of my maps, feel free to check out my website, my social media, and follow me on Skillshare. Once again, congratulations and thank you so much for taking this class with me. I can't wait to travel and explore with you. Happy mapping.