Hand Drawn Color Maps

All images, c. Kevin Sprouls

Over the years, I’ve created many hand drawn color maps. This collection was produced using mixed media. The colors involve a mixture of watercolor, colored pencils and white gouache paint. My trademark pen and ink work, with which I made my mark at The Wall Street Journal, goes over the top of the coloring work.

This India map was created for a newspaper article on travel. I gave it an antiquated feel in hand-lettering the region labels, and by applying traditional line work and topographic features.

This is a small map featuring a tour that British Airways was promoting. I produced quite a few maps for them, with a focus on the African Continent. I relish the opportunity of hand drawing type.

This was a huge project for me. A map of the world. It took many hours to create. I believe it was used in a brochure for American Airlines. The type was added by the agency in charge of the project. I remeber staying up all night and dropping the finished art off at the airport. It was a super-rush, and produced during the infancy of the internet. That meant, no scanning and sending a digital file — Analog Days! I present a close-up in two halves, so you might have a better look…

Finally, a map for an American Airlines ad. Here is the ad:

And a detail of that ad to show the map art…

Here again, the agency took care of type duties. I did everything else, including the aircraft sillhouettes. If you look closely, you can make out the abundant stipple work. I thought it would add appropriate texture to the land mass.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this small group of my illustrated color maps. Doing the occasional map is a nice departure from the business of creating the WSJ hedcuts.

3 thoughts on “Hand Drawn Color Maps

  1. You should never have allowed the American Airlines ad agency to handle the lettering duties — they did a fine job by their standards no doubt, but it turns the printed final map into an ordinary info-graphic rather than a work of art. But then, on further reflection…I suppose hand-crafted lettering would have undermined the ad’s message of businesslike efficiency & speed—better to save it for leisurely sightseeing in exotic places, hearkening back to 19th Century explorations etc.)
    That stippling is within the color is amazing… are you allowed to reveal how you pulled it off? Or would that be giving away too much?

      • Hi Van! Thanks for your reading and generous comment. Yes, I would have enjoyed hand-lettering that ad, but I understand that this is the purview of the Art Directors. There is no secret to the stippling applied to the colored fields. It is just a case of painstaking drawing, trying my best to keep the texture very even.

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