Creating map illustrations is not easy especially for beginners. This is why we asked experts in making illustrated maps for tips and tricks on how they improve their artworks. Here are a few of their suggestions you should try.
According to Michael Mullan from the United States, he begins every project with a thorough research of the area including its landmarks and hot spots. He also learns the words that are mostly associated with the specific place he is making a map of. The next thing he does is look for the latest map of that place to serve as a basis for his layout while taking into consideration all the elements and words included on the map. With those resources on hand, he is able to create a digital mock-up before he can start sketching.
Sketching phase is the time for him to determine if there are any problems with the design. He takes great care in making sure that all elements flow in the same direction and nothing is out of proportion or can be considered as not legit. After finishing the sketch, it is time for him to bring out his palette and complete the map illustration. The colors should be even and a maximum of only five colors should be used in one map.
Owen Gatley, an illustrator from the United Kingdom, advises beginner illustrators that they should not place too much importance in the geographical location of every landmark. It is important to take note of all the landmarks but it could be spread out in the map as long as they are in the right place with regards to their location in real life. He believes that it is alright to move things just a little bit as well as to use different scale in order to make the map more interesting.
A Porto Alegre designer of map illustrations, Nik Neves, said that there are many layers within an illustrated map therefore it is acceptable to play with the elements but they should be created in stages. The bottom line is that these stages should be put together at the finishing process.