A 1952 pictorial map purporting to show the locations of lost mines and sunken treasures in the Americas led L. A. Times reporter Daniel Miller, who acquired a copy of said map a few years ago, down two separate rabbit holes: one in which he unburies the history of the mapmaker, John D. Lawrence, who was colourful in a very California way; the other in which modern-day treasure hunters are prospecting at one of the locations shown on Lawrence’s map: Mount Kokoweef. Miller speculates as to what Lawrence knew about the Kokoweef site; me, I’m always skeptical about reading too much into maps like this, which are often retellings of retellings of stories. Still a fascinating story.
Tag: pictorial maps
Poems on Maps
The Leventhal Map Center looks at poems on maps. Not about maps, on maps. “It just so happens that many of the maps in our collection have poems inscribed on them, in legends, around borders, and hidden away in overlooked corners. We find them primarily on pictorial maps, and the poems are mainly by men from the 20th century literary canon, but the maps they are on cover a wide geographic range.”
Anton Thomas’s Wild World: A Progress Report
Anton Thomas gives us an update on the map he’s been working on for the past two years: Wild World. “With much ocean ahead, and Antarctica, I think it’ll take another year to finish. But most of the land is done. And prints of certain continents are already available, so the map is going well. It’s just . . . more complex and detailed than I ever dreamed.”
Previously: Anton Thomas’s Next Project: Wild World.
Update, 20 Jan 2023: Interview with MapLab.
Anton Thomas’s Next Project: Wild World
Here’s what Anton Thomas, whose pictorial map of North America was released earlier this year, is working on now: Wild World, a pictorial map of the natural world.
While you won’t find cities or borders on this map, you will find geographic labels. This is important. From mountain ranges to deserts, rivers to rainforests, the labels here offer a detailed, accurate outline of Earth’s natural geography.
The hundreds of different animals can evoke a feeling of place like few things can. Paired with the labels, this allows the map to be a powerful resource for learning Earth’s basic geography. While, I hope, drawing attention to the beauty and fragility of the natural world.
As of this month, Thomas has finished North America and has moved on to South America; he expects to be finished by the middle of next year (which is a lot faster than his first map, which took more than five years). The map uses the Natural Earth projection. [Kottke]
Previously: The North American Continent: A Pictorial Map by Anton Thomas; An Update on Anton Thomas’s Map of North America; Preorders Open for Anton Thomas’s North America Map.
A Crowdfunded, Hand-drawn Atlas of Scotland
Artist and writer Andrew Barr is crowdfunding for what he is calling “the first major Scottish atlas for over 100 years”: a hand-drawn, hardcover Atlas of Scotland:
Produced as a visually striking hardback book, combining text with illustrated maps, the Atlas will shed new light on Scotland’s size and resources, its cultural and political history, as well as its long standing as one of the ancient kingdoms of Europe and the richness of its international connections.
As satellite images replace traditional paper atlases, modern technology leaves us with an incomplete picture of the nation. By returning to map-making in pen and ink, and by retelling the story of Scotland’s history and culture, this Atlas aims to delve deeper into the fabric of the land and reveal one of the world’s oldest nations in a whole new light.
Very much a nationalist project—and a personal project as well, which is not how atlases are usually done nowadays, hand-drawn or not. The atlas is projected to ship in October 2021. [History Scotland]
Alex Russell’s Great Maps of Brooklyn
Last October, Alex Russell released his first pictorial map of a Brooklyn neighbourhood, the Great Map of Greenpoint. It was begun, he says, “as an effort to drive business around the neighborhood. As a restaurant owner in Greenpoint, it was to draw attention to everything this great little area had to offer.” His follow-up, the Great Map of Williamsburg (above), ran straight into the pandemic, as Greenpointers reports:
“My printer closed their doors for a few months just as my order went in,” Russell said of his map, which went to print right as the coronavirus halted New York’s spring. “Sadly, I have recently discovered that a handful of the businesses on The Great Map of Williamsburg have closed due to COVID. I will be delivering their maps to them this week as a bittersweet memory of what was. Some of them, like Brooklyn Charm, had been there for over a decade. I feel honored to have had the chance to be a part of their history.”
Both maps are available for sale as posters; Williamsburg costs $40 and Greenpoint costs $25. [News12 Brooklyn]
An Illustrative Map of Japan
David Cook has released his Illustrative Map of Japan, a hand-drawn pictorial map showing the principal Japanese islands in classic oblique, pictorial-map style. On Reddit Cook says that it took ten years, on and off, from concept to completion: “Conceptually I started in 2010, but actually drawing this version didn’t start until 2012 when I finally settled on a size and perspective. Tbh I did not work on it continuously all those years. The drawn portion wrapped up in 2017 and I didn’t start coloring it in until 2019.” It’ll be available for sale as a 24-by-36-inch print at some point. [r/MapPorn]
How to Make an Illustrated Map
In the travel section of yesterday’s New York Times, map illustrator Nate Padavick offers a way to make lemonade from travel-restriction lemons with a short guide to making an illustrated map (pictorial map, map illustration—the terms are roughly interchangeable) of a favourite place—a neighbourhood, a vacation spot, “a place you’ve never been.”
The rigid and scientific rules of cartography simply do not apply here! Nope. While an illustrated map is often a wildly useless tool for providing directions, it can be a beautiful and highly personal reflection of a place you, friends and family know quite well. It can tell a story, a personal history, or be a unique lens through which one can experience a special place. An illustrated map can be loose and hand-drawn, filled with fun drawings and doodles that together make a sometimes inaccurate, but always spot on record of a memory or a place from one’s own perspective.
Not the first time we’ve seen map art as lockdown activity. Previously: Maps from Isolation; CityLab Wants Your Hand-Drawn Quarantine Maps; Still More Coronavirus Maps; Fuller’s Quarantine Maps.
Preorders Open for Anton Thomas’s North America Map
It’s been years in the making, but prints of Anton Thomas’s pictorial map, North America: Portrait of a Continent, can now be pre-ordered.
Three versions are available: a 42×52-inch (107×132.5-cm) poster, a 44×54-inch (111.7×138.3-cm) giclée print in a limited edition of 1,200, and a 48×59-inch (121×149.6-cm) giclée print in a limited edition of 400. Prices will be shown in your local currency: in Canadian dollars they’re $95, $490 and $765, respectively. These are discounted prices for pre-orders. Shipping outside Australia will be by UPS (I was quoted a shipping fee of US$35 at checkout), and will begin on April 16.
My main concerns are where I’m going to put it, and how I’m going to have it framed. But I’ll worry about that later.
Previously: The North American Continent: A Pictorial Map by Anton Thomas; An Update on Anton Thomas’s Map of North America.
An Update on Anton Thomas’s Map of North America
Anton Thomas’s pictorial map of North America (previously) is now complete, and he’ll be selling giclée prints and posters from his website soon. (I know exactly where mine will be going.) In the above video, he looks at the multiyear process of creating the map—on paper, with pencils and pen, and how he had to correct and redraw (the inked parts!) as he went. Here’s an interview he did with Atlas Obscura last month.
A Persuasive Cartography Roundup
Cornell University Library has been home to the P. J. Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography since 2014, and that collection is very much available online. Today, though, a new exhibition of maps from that collection opens at the Carl A. Kroch Library’s Hirshland Exhibition Gallery. Latitude: Persuasive Cartography runs until 21 February 2020.
Cornell isn’t the only repository of maps intended to persuade or propagandize. The Library of Congress acquired a collection of 180 such maps, focusing on war and propaganda in the first half of the 20th century, in 2016.
Previously: Persuasive Cartography; Another Look at Persuasive Cartography; Persuasive Cartography Collection Expands, P. J. Mode Interviewed.
The Art of Illustrated Maps
Map illustrations. Illustrated maps. Pictorial maps. Map art. There are many different names for a form of mapmaking that is, to appropriate a phrase, “not intended for navigation,” but rather for purposes such as advertising and promotion, political propoganda, decoration, or simply pure art. You may not be able to find your way home with such maps, but that’s not to say they don’t have a purpose.
I’ve reviewed books about maps in this general field before. Stephen J. Hornsby’s Picturing America (reviewed here) explores the rich pictorial map tradition in the United States during the early and mid-20th century. The Art of Map Illustration (reviewed here), on the other hand, is a focused, step-by-step guide to the how of modern-day map illustration.
The Art of Illustrated Maps: A Complete Guide to Creative Mapmaking’s History, Process and Inspiration (HOW Books, October 2015) falls somewhere in between. Written by John Roman, it’s a book that talks about the creative process in considerable detail, and gives many contemporary examples of map illustrations, but tries to place that process in the context of the history of map illustrations.
A Huge Collection of Maps in Advertising
Tim Wallace has amassed a ridiculous collection of map-themed advertisements from the pages of Fortune magazine. Hundreds of them, running in chronological order from the 1930s to the 1960s (when he ran out of steam). On a single web page. (It will probably never finish loading in your browser.)
An Anciente Mappe of Fairyland
“An Anciente Mappe of Fairyland,” produced by Bernard Sleigh around 1917, is a marvellous conflation of classical myth and fairy tales. Nearly five feet wide, it was apparently designed to hang in nurseries. The echoes of its design elements can still be seen in later fantasy maps and children’s book illustrations, such as E. H. Shepard’s maps of the Hundred Acre Wood and Pauline Baynes’s maps of Narnia, though none of them are this vibrant.
It was making the rounds a month or two back, probably because a copy was being offered for sale: Atlas Obscura, Kottke. High-resolution digital versions are available via the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Center, the British Library and the Library of Congress; the Leventhal’s reproduction is is much more brightly coloured and in the best shape. The map came with an accompanying booklet.
Previously: The British Library on Fantasy Maps.
The North American Continent: A Pictorial Map by Anton Thomas
Since 2014 Anton Thomas has been working on a large and detailed hand-drawn pictorial map of North America. Done on a 120-×-150-cm piece of art paper with coloured pencils and pen, and full of little pictorial details, The North American Continent has taken more than 4,000 hours to draw—and re-draw. In an update earlier this month, Anton estimates there are still 200 hours of work remaining; he expects to be done by December, with prints going on sale early next year.
The map was the subject of two talks Anton gave at NACIS last year: see Drawing a Continent by Hand and Methods of a Hand-Drawn Map. And take note: Anton lives in Australia, but at the moment he’s in the U.S. to give talks and work out printing and distribution. He’ll be giving a presentation tomorrow evening at the Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. (Another talk is scheduled for October 24 at the Rumsey Map Center in
San Francisco Stanford.)
Update: Another talk, on October 6, in New York.
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