Recent from the blog
November 26, 2013
Izaty's is a time-share resort on Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota. They asked me to create a cartoon map of the lake so that visitors can see what is available to do and see in and around Mille Lacs Lake. I created the map in a smaller 8.5 x 11 format. It was then enlarged to poster size to enhance their community board.
November 03, 2013
It's always a pleasure to take a small, rural community and thrust it into the cartoon map spotlight. That's what I did with Oakdale, California.
Those who see the final results of a map on my web site would have no way of knowing everything that I went through to get to the final product. This map involved several sets of laborious changes before we finally arrived at the final result. The original request was for an area map that took in four lakes that were quite a distance from Oakdale. The idea was to make Oakdale the center of a regional map, in order to show the recreational potential of the area. But it was finally agreed that trying to cover such a large area and still get the required detail of the town would be an insurmountable task. So I removed all four lakes and recreated the map to focus on the town itself, which included a detailed inset of the downtown core, including all of the buildings. That was made even more difficult in that each building required a number.
What really ran up the time clock on this project was the number of personal additions. The Oakdale map contains almost everything and every person of notable interest in town, from the mayor to the Cowboy Santa. That's the mayor on one of the streets, out walking her five dogs. I was happy to learn that the people of Oakdale were thrilled with their new Oakdale Cartoon Map.
September 09, 2013
Rock Springs is a little town in Southwestern Wyoming. It has a history of coal mining and oil exploration. Rock Springs is also a rodeo town. The challenge I faced with this cartoon map was to cram a lot of information into a small area. They wanted me to draw all of the historic buildings in town, but by the time I drew the streets in, I could see there would be no room for buildings. Trying to fit buildings into a map area is a common challenge. But the bottom line was that they were very happy with the finsihed product.
July 05, 2013
Lake Coeur d' Alene is a beautiful lake in the mountains of northern Idaho. It's the perfect mountain tourist destination. It was a fun and challenging map to draw.
The Harrison and Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes map is the back side to the Lake Coeur d' Alene map that you see below. Sorry that the bottom half of the map is upside-down. That's how the map folds.
Our sales associate on this map is a high school teacher at a school on the shore of Lake Coeur d' Alene. He is also a businessman in the town of Harrison. He decided that it would be of benefit to the merchants to have a cartoon map created of Lake Coeur d' Alene on one side and Harrison and Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes on the other side. He sold all of the ads that you see on this map over the weekends during the school year. The map was recently released just in time for the summer tourist season.
July 04, 2013
Lake Coeur d' Alene is a beautiful lake in Northern Idaho. If I would have had time, I would have enjoyed visiting this particular destination to do the research, but I normally am not able to visit the far-flung areas that I map due to time restraints.Through the wonders of the Internet, I'm able to create maps for numerous locales around the world without leaving my studio, venturing no further away to draw my cartoon maps than my local Starbucks.
Our sales associate in Coeur d' Alene is a high school teacher who is also a local businessman in the town of Harrison on the lake . He got the idea of doing a map to benefit the lake merchants, so he contacted us. He sold all the ads that you see over weekends during the school year. The maps was ready for the summer season.
I especially enjoy working on lake maps because they are always visually appealing, due to the interplay of the blues of the water and the greens of the land...and all the fun things going on in and around the lake.
June 06, 2013
Veolia Energy is a large multi-national energy company, 50,000 strong, with energy plants in 35 countries. I have been working with them for about three years. I first produced a map for their Philadelphia energy system, showing the routes that their steam pipes followed through Philadelphia's streets, supplying steam energy to their hospitals.
Next, they called me to create a map of Boston, showing their steam energy routes as well, steam pipes which led to world renowned hospitals like Brigham and Womens Hospital and Boston Medical Center.
Now, just completed is a map of Baltimore for Veolia. The most recognizable feature on this map is probably Oriole Park and Camden Yards.
Though I'm known for my cartoon maps, I enjoy working on the occasional conventional map as well. You'll never find my shiny little cartoon cars on a Veolia map. They like their maps to be all-business, free of any of my zany touches.
April 16, 2013
I get frequent calls from wedding couples requesting that I create a cartoon map for their wedding. Wedding maps are the perfect touch to make a wedding a little more unique and special. The map includes the location of the church, the reception, the hotel, and anything of interest to the wedding guests. The couple tells me what they want on the map...and their wish is my command. I had never heard of wedding maps until my cartoon map business went national. Then wedding couples from all over America started contacting me...and my wedding maps were born. This wedding takes place in Winchester, Virginia.
February 19, 2013
I've drawn many maps over the years for magazines and books. This is the first one that I've posted on my cartoon map web site. I see by examining the illustration that I colored it with markers. This illustration was created in 2000. In 2002 I began using Photoshop. Now I color all my work in Photoshop using a Wacom Cintiq.
I began my career using Dr. Martin's Dyes as a coloring medium. After many years of Dr. Martin's dyes, I moved to watercolor, then colored markers. Now the only time that I use a wet medium for coloring is when I'm teaching my watercolor floral Painting in Paradise workshops.
December 20, 2012
Aztec, New Mexico is a desert town in the Southwest, renowned for it's Aztec ruins, which are located on the north edge of town. It's also famous as the site of a purported UFO crash in 1948. I enjoy drawing Southwest desert towns. They add a flavorful mix to my cartoon map catalog.
A few words about drawing caricature buildings as part of a cartoon map: experience has taught me that including buildings on a map often creates space problems. Because buildings occupy so much space on a map, they can cause a map to become distorted. Such was the case with the Aztec map. I agreed to draw all of the restaurants in Aztec and include them on the map. After drawing them all, I attempted to place them on the map. But I found that there were too many buildings to fit into the alloted space. So we had to scrap the buildings and substitute them with circled numbers. Using numbers connected to a directory always solves the space problem on my cartoon maps. A good example of how it works is the above map. Yet I understand why clients request that I draw the caricatured buildings. We all agree that they add much to the perspective aspect of the map.
October 09, 2012
City University of New York City contacted me to create a cartoon map of a fictitious town for them that they would post online as a visual aid for their case workers. They asked me to create 12 "hotspot" safety situations on the map to be used as a teaching aid by their caseworkers. Each hotspot contains a link that explains the potentially dangerous situation. The dark area on the map above, for example, illustrates a potentially dangerous situation at night.
They asked me to keep the illustration and color as simple as possible, so the colors on the illustration are flat and simple, a contrast from my usual maps that contain a lot of shading and rendering. One reason that I like my career as a cartoon cartographer is that every project is different from the one before...I've never created a map anything like this before. Every map that I create is custom and personalized.
September 22, 2012
I enjoyed working with the people at Seattle University. This was a very time-intensive map because of the density of the houses in the residential area and the buildings in the downtown area. One thing that was unique about this cartoon map was that my little bulb-nosed characters in the shiny little cars were silhouetted. I darkened them because the president of the university didn't want the map to look too zany. He suggested that I de-emphasize the bulb-nosed drivers. But, as you can see, my little cars are still polished up to a brilliant shine.
August 29, 2012
Last year we produced the South Whidbey Island Cartoon Map. Just released is the North Whidbey Island Cartoon Map. Now we've mapped the whole island. Whidbey Island is as pastoral and picturesque as any temperate zone island you would ever visit. The towns of Coupeville and Langley are picture-postcard quaint. Our sales guy lives on Whidbey Island, a transplant from Southern California, and he wouldn't live anywhere else.
If you're seeking a scenic place to live in Western Washington, Whidbey Island would be worth your consideration. The north side of the island is accessible by bridge, while two short ferries connect the island to the mainland on the south end of the island.
July 08, 2012
St. Anne School is a Catholic elementary school located in Laguna Niguel, a community situated in the mountains above Laguna Beach, California. The entire cartoon map was drawn free-hand, without the aid of rulers. I used the "eye-ball" method for drawing the perspective. I took perspective class in art school, but I seem to prefer the eye-ball method when drawing scenes requiring perspective. If you look through my web site, you'll find a number of campus maps, from elementary through college campus maps.
May 31, 2012
Webstern and Boscawen are two small towns in the verdant countryside just north of Concord, New Hampshire. I got a call from a local rancher who wanted a cartoon map created to promote their horse ranch, along with other ranches in the vicinity. With all the town and city maps that I have drawn, it was nice to work on a "country map" for a change. This map illustrates that it's possible to take almost any chunk of real estate anywhere in the country and make it look entertaining. That's what cartoon maps are all about.
May 01, 2012
This was a special project for me because Sequim (pronounced Skwim) is actually my hometown. How this job came about is quite an amazing coincidence. The Sequim city council wanted to find a local person to draw their map, and they located an individual who lived in a nearby town. The town council had originally found my web site and wanted to hire me for the job, but since they were looking for someone who lived in the Sequim area, they opted not to call me. But they did make some screen shots of my maps to show to the illustrator they had hired. They wanted the illustrator to mimic my style. But the project proved to be too difficult a task for her. When she pulled out of the project, the town council felt they had no choice but to call me to get the job done, thinking that I lived somewhere across the country, a great distance away.
They were certainly stunned when I told them that I lived only two hours away, and that I was born and raised in Sequim. If they would have known that I was a Sequim boy in the first place, they surely would have called me first. It was a real treat to draw a cartoon map of my hometown. I would have never imagined that, of the many thousands of small towns across America, I would get a call from my hometown. What are the odds of that?
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