Illustrated Map of Cumming, GA

Jul 24, 2018

In:Design, Drawing

I often say Atlanta when people ask where I live. It’s mostly true. I live in a northern suburb and assume most people have heard of Atlanta. But the actual city I live in is Cumming, GA. It’s a fast-growing town with a strong mix of rural spaces and modern conveniences.

Recently I took a Skillshare class by Tom Froese, who teaches his process for making illustrated maps. He integrates real ink with digital techniques to create colorful and whimsical illustrations. I soaked it up. I chose to create a map of Cumming, featuring the places that are special to me and the things that make this town charming. Treasures of home, if you will.

This is how the map began, with a rough pencil sketch of the land and water, noting the points of interest.

Next I sketched the icons. I later traced over them with ink or brought them directly into Photoshop to draw with color.

Then came the ink marks and drawings. You can see with the mountains at top left that I started with a pen that was too wide for my liking. So I redrew the lines with a thinner tip. The squiggle lines at the top right were my attempts to draw the spaghetti. I wanted to simplify the lines from the pencil sketch and finally drew something I liked on the fifth try. The spongy triangle texture was made with, you guessed it, a natural sea sponge.

This page shows my thought process as I worked out the title of the map and other finishing touches like the compass rose. Or is it dogwood? I crossed out ideas I rejected instead of erasing. You never know when they might get used on another project.

“No one wants to see a library on a map,” Chad said. I sat in shock as I told him that I wanted the library on the map. I love to learn and make regular visits to check out new books. I forgave him. 🙂 The honey bottle on the Illustration book cover is one I drew earlier this year. I simply sketched over it and dropped it into place. But not before tweaking the perspective in Photoshop so it appears to recede into the map (a fun feature to use). The labels and road names are also drawn by hand, though not using traditional ink. I was eager to try new digital lettering brushes for the first time and really liked them.

And here’s the entire map.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at making this illustration. If you have questions for me or would like to work together on your own project, please reach out.

Thank you!

~Christina

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