Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Make Map Art: Creatively Illustrate Your World

Make Map Art: Creatively Illustrate Your World

Nate Padavick
Illustrator:  Salli Swindell 
Novelty Art Kit
For ages 10 and up
Chronicle Books, 2014   ISBN: 978-1452123332

People of all ages love looking at maps, especially if the maps contain interesting decorative details such as rivers, mountain ranges, and cities. Perhaps this is because maps “are about exploring and recalling places we know and introducing us to places we yearn to visit.” What many people might not realize is that making maps, even ones showing our own neighborhood or town, can be a wonderful creative journey.

   In this kit the authors give map lovers and artists the tools they need to make a variety of maps, and they also provide prompts to help such people to tap into their inner creative self. The kit includes a book, a map of the world, and a pad of special map paper.

   The authors begin our map-making adventure by telling us how to use the kit. They explain that in the special map paper pad there are Map Template Pages and also Icon Pages. The latter are pages “full of images often found on maps.” Map lovers can use the icons to decorate their maps or “simply use them as a source of inspiration.” Any additional tools they will need are mentioned in the “Tools Needed” section.

   Next the authors tell us about map components, describing what cartouches, compass roses, and legends are. They also discuss iconography, explaining that using “lots of icons and symbols will allow the viewer to better envision the theme” of a map. Such icons can include trees, mountains, roads, signs, and little buildings.

   The map components section is followed by the first two projects in the kit. The “Hands On” project and the following “On My Mind” project will get the map lover’s creative juices flowing. The “Hands On” project encourages the artist to explore what his or her creative outlets are by creating a picture that presents these outlets in a visual form. In the “On My Mind” project we are invited to explore our ideas and thoughts and to map them out.

   Artists can then go on to create a map of their “Roads to Happiness” and to create a set of pictures showing their “Homes Sweet Homes.” Next there is “My Favorite City” map, a “Party Invitation and Map” project, and we wrap up the projects with a world map.

  If artists and map makers need inspiration, they can visit the They Draw and Travel website where they will find all kinds of maps created by people who live all over the world.

   This kit would make a wonderful gift for anyone who likes maps and who likes to draw.