This post is about my experience of personal map making (click image twice to see at largest size) as part of the Mapping 2014 Artfully blog hop set up by author and artist Jill Berry. Since I first heard of the project, I’ve wondered:
How is it even possible to make a visual map of a time you haven’t been to yet?
By this week I still didn’t know the answer and time was running out. Defeated, I reconciled myself to making a haphazard and incomplete map to meet the deadline I’d committed to.
I don’t typically plan my work in detail ahead of time, so plunging forward is my usual style. I do, however, generally have at least the germ of an idea simmering somewhere in the far back of my mind.
Now, with the deadline approaching, I just had to begin where I could – with mark making — and hope for the best.
Working in ink, I started with a broken perimeter of neatlines because I didn’t know where the edges of the map would be. Made up a snarky title, “Bare Bones 2014: This Shows Ways” which led me to the bones of a hand. Then roads. Landmarks…. I kept on drawing and labeling.
Next, I used special colored pencils. The final step was to carefully brush on water to dissolve the dry pencil into (presto!) water color paint. I love the way this methodical, slow process pops the colors.
As I touched the wet brush to each part of the map, I read the complete text in sequence for the first time. I was astonished and delighted to realize I had created a fully illustrated and annotated “map of encouragement” for the coming year. It includes danger zones and high points, a compass for telling time, and some “off the map” notes. There is, of course, no known scale. It does however include Courage, Muscle, Brain and Heart as well as solid ground, and it makes me smile.
I hope you enjoy it, too. Take another look, click again to make it big enough to read.
If you would like to try your hand at alternative ways and means of mapping, you might take a look at Jill Berry’s lively book, Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Map Making.
To see more maps made for the blog hop project, visit Jill Berry’s site for links to all of the participants in Mapping 2014 Artfully.