In The Forest - A local map

So I've decided to attempt my first idea, a little local map showing all the places I go with my beautiful eldest daughter that we have grown to love. We like to hang out in the southeast corner of a great city (London) and I'm basically looking forward to creating something with/for her.

I'm thinking I want to incorporate photos, as I love taking them, so I'll be thinking about how to do that. And maybe some of her artwork too.

I'll be back when I've thought some more.

----------------------------------------------------------

31 / 5 / 13

Am now going to attempt to actually fully answer the questions - my first posting was really a placeholder - the first mark in the ground, as it were. I need to get started, at least, or I never will.

This map would essentially be for fun, for me and my girl, to help us illustrate and celebrate where we live and where we like to hang out. I have find memories of my childhood growing up in a small village, and recently I took a trip back there for the first time in ten years. It was an opportunity for me to see those places again, lots of which I had no concrete evidence of which to show my daughter, for when she wants to know about where Mummy grew up (so of course I took lots of pictures). I almost wanted to do this map of those places, but I figured it was more fun to focus on the now rather than dwelling on the then. And of course we can then pass what we create on to the people we know here, who may find it fun too, or maybe even want to add their favourite places.

Our expertise is us; we bring our vibe to certain places and they resonate with us, which is why they become important to us. I know there are people in the area who might think that we have missed places off if they see what we finish up with, but then that's the point of this exercise - not to mark on every point of interest but what is of interest to us.

A lot depends on how far I get - the complexities of being a Mummy mean that the times that I would like to spend drifting and thinking and creating are often abbreviated - if I can't create something of beauty then it will remain at the back of the drawer, so to speak, and no one may ever see it. But hopefully we can make something appealing.

I don't imagine that we will include much concrete detail - I would like to have a bit of fun with some of the local place names - Catford in particular! So I have a few thoughts on how I might incorporate those.

I am going to see how we get on sketching and drawing and see how our first ideas take shape before deciding on format - I love the idea of a printed map but I would only like to do that if I felt we were going to distribute it more widely I think.

I need to make a start. If I need help with anything right now it would be the magical invention of infinite thinking time, preferably silent thinking time. In the time it has taken me to write these few paragraphs my thoughts have been interrupted at least ten times by various kinds of yelling, which is why this may not make a great deal of sense. Or may be strewn with unnoticed errors...

This is the forest in question... It's not very forest-like these days, although there are some nice tree-lined streets...

------------------------------------

12 / 6 / 13

Have just been reminded to check in. We haven't managed to do as much as I had hoped, and I've been waylaid by some life stuff, so this is just an update to make a record of that. I have had some more ideas and taken some local photographs too, I just need to start assembling it. I'm also here to give feedback on other projects, which I shall try and do now.

Have now given feedback, and now include one of my preliminary sketches:

Have been thinking about audience 'angles' and considered maybe making the map as a designated 'kid's map' but will explore that further. I need to include some of my daughter's efforts. Back soon (hopefully) with progress.

----------------------------------------------

I've just made a start on part 2, and obviously as it turns out I'd managed to make my hand-drawn map already, so that was handy. I also did the Bremer artist test and got 67% - particularly amusing was my mislabelling of CyTwombly - I've never been a big fan so it seemed somehow appropriate! I've also gathered a few more home resources together, am going to think about my favourite maps - I also have a book about maps which I shall post about when I get a minute...

-----------------------------------------------

Found the book about maps and some other books I have been inspired by (not necessarily or this project, but just general thinking about space). I think I have a thing about spaces - I am very visual and studying maths, spatial problems were always really easy for me, I found them very naturally easy. I'm going to post some pictures of the books - I humbly suggest that if they look interesting to you then Google the titles - I don't have a lot of time right now to explain the background and inspirational goodness of each one, but they are all lovely books.

----------------------------

18 / 6 / 13

Last day of course proper and I'm sad I haven't managed to get further. I had a go at Part 3 and creating an imaginary city and this was my result:

I saw the lolly stick and thought it would be a fun bridge. I guess the thing I learmed doing this little exercise is basically why streets exist - you can't just bung buildings next to each other without thinking how you might get to them...

I have also started piecing together my final project in Illustrator, although it isn't finished enough for me to post here. I will, however post where I am up to in the form of a screenshot:

I basically started on paper, using crayons to colour in the main streets and the railway line, and then I used tracing paper over the top to get the lines in, which was a fun thing to do. Then I scanned both in and merged them in Photoshop to get the basic framework to which I'll then add detail. There was a lot more detail on my original sketch, but I still wasn't sure how much I wanted to include, so I removed it all so I could maybe put it in digitally later. I kept the trees though!

I also got my daughter to write 'Forest Hill' so I could use her input a little bit, and I shopped that in in the top corner as a title (I have more of her drawings of these places which I will include later). I did all of that on A4 but I've scanned it at 200% so it can be A3, because I suspect that the stories I want to use to fill in the spaces might be clearer at a larger size. And I always think of those black and white funny films when I think of maps - there's always someone struggling with a map that's too big - big maps are fun! I've also gathered a lot of photos which I will also put in around the sides in the white space - this will end up as quite a cluttered map, but I like that and that is part of my personal aesthetic. I also like the idea of a hand drawn/digital mash up/collage, so I think that further detail will be added digitally, but now I've got the hang of scanning the stuff in and working with it I may change my mind again. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to finish it and post it, but I like that I at least have something that has been through at least one iteration. Whether my creaky PC will let me is another matter!

I have actually really enjoyed working through this process, and also really enjoyed my local research - taking pictures and talking to local people in the process - I've also collected at least three other maps of the same area which have all interpreted the place differently. I thought after consideration that it didn't matter that this place has already been mapped a lot - because it's what each individual brings to the mapping process that's important. It also made me think about even curating a small exhibit in a local space of all the maps of the area... It has been a great source of inspiration and focus. I've also started sketching another map, of our garden, and all the little areas in it, so I have another project for when I finish this one, which I am delighted about.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the process as much as I have - here's to many more maps!

----------------------------------

E2A: I've also just hade fun plotting a Google Map, but however hard I try it won't let me link. But it was great fun and very useful :)

Comments

Please sign in or sign up to comment.