How to Create an Illustrated Map

In two days I’m are going on a trip to Pragueย with my boyfriend. I have never been there and I am so excited to explore this historic city.

I was flipping through my Lonely Planet pocket guide and I thought it would be fun to illustrate my own map of Prague.

Cartography, the art op map drawing, is a centuries-old science that has captivated explorers and wanderers throughout the ages. Although the world has been thoroughly mapped, artists continue to make maps of familiar places. Every map tells a story and in illustrating maps there is endless room for creativity.

Want to know how I illustrated my first map?


Tools & Materials

You can illustrate maps using any art-making supplies. Mapmaking is a personal art form, so you can choose the supplies you like to work with.

I used;

  • My art journal
  • Drawing paper
  • HB pencil
  • Watercolour paints
  • Pigma Micron pen in 02
  • Pictures of landmarks
  • Map

How To

The background;

  1. I wanted to create an illustrated map of Prague, so I started out with sketching the river and some of the main roads in my art journal. I used the map from the Lonely Planet guide as a reference. Donโ€™t bother too much with making it all look perfect. You want to get the basic shapes of the river and roads, without adding to much detail.
  2. When I was happy with my sketch, I started adding some colour with my watercolour paint. I used green for land, blue for water and yellow for the roads.
  3. Let it dry! Be patient..
  4. After my paint was dry, I drew lines with my Pigma Micron pen for more definition.

The landmarks;

  1. Choose landmarks you want to include in your illustrated map. I looked up pictures of some of the top sights of Prague.
  2. Make a quick pencil sketch of the landmarks on a piece of drawing paper. Make sure to use paper suitable for the materials you choose to work with.
  3. Add some colour! I choose to work with watercolour. Create texture and colour variation by adding different paint colours and letting them bleed together.
  4. Let it dry completely.
  5. Once dry, I added details with my Pigma Micron pen.

Putting it all together;

  1. Cut out your individual landmarks.
  2. Stick them on top of your background map.
  3. Write down the name of the city/country.
  4. If you like you can add numbers to the landmarks.

I was inspired to make my own illustrated map by the beautiful book The Art of Map Illustration. This book contains art, ideas and toturials from Hennie Haworth, Stuart Hill, James Gulliver Hancock and Sarah King. I highly recommend this book to art lovers, journal artists and people who love to travel.

I received an e-ARC of this book by NetGalley and Walter Foster Publishing.


Have you ever created an illustrated map?

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  1. This is supercool! I really think you did an amazing job!
    I wish I could travel more, so I could do this too hahaha.
    I love the idea and I’m definitely going to try it out when we go on holidays.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. OMG dit is zรณ leuk!! Ik ben nu in mijn hoofd al aan het nagaan wanneer ik weer eens wegga zodat ik dit ook kan doen. Ben een sucker voor reisjournals maar maak ze nooit af. Die van China is tot de eerste week (van de drie) gekomen. Vind het zรณ jammer dat ik die niet heb afgemaakt, het is toch de beste manier om je herinneringen vorm te geven. Volgens mij is het al een stuk makkelijker als je zulke pagina’s vooraf maakt, zodat je een beetje guidelines hebt om je aan te houden ๐Ÿ™‚