Illustrating a new map for Norwich Cathedral Quarter

Earlier this year I was approached by the Norwich Cathedral marketing department to illustrate a new map to help them promote the historic ‘Cathedral Quarter’ and an upcoming series of free, themed walking tours to take place in the area.

It was a great chance to have a play about with different styles of map illustration. So far the majority of my maps have involved pen, ink and watercolour, then once painted, are scanned and finished digitally. However the deadline was tight for this project so we decided to go for a simple, digital, icon based approach.

A couple of years ago, I designed an illustrated map depicting ‘Nelson’s Norfolk’. Although each part was painted individually in watercolour, then scanned and put together in Photoshop, I adopted a similar approach this time (albeit digitally) by illustrating the elements separately and dropping them onto the base image.

First of all, I worked alongside the Cathedral Quarter team to decide which of the many important buildings to depict as illustrated icons to appear across the map.

Once these were decided, I took some time to walk around the area and take reference photos of the key buildings. I then set about producing a basic roadmap framework and drawing rough illustrations of the icons, alongside a sample icon style to be approved before finalising the remainder of the map icons.

The map had to be fun and visually appealing, as well as informative, so we agreed to add in some walkers on some of the footpaths, some cycles in the new Tombland cycle lanes, busses where the major bus stops are and cars on the busiest roads.

After a few amends and the addition of road names, labels and a title, it was sent off to print and added to the website: Cathedral Walks Website

A week or so later, the organisers of the walks and I gathered at Fye Bridge for a press release and to have our photo taken with a giant copy of the map to go in the local press.

The tours proved hugely popular and all booked up within days. Here’s hoping they do some more!

‘Yesterday’s World’ Map – Behind the scenes.

Earlier this year, I was approached by the lovely chaps at Creative Sign Co. to produce a visitor map of ‘Yesterday’s World’ – an attraction/museum based in the sunny seaside town of Gt Yarmouth. It’s a fab collection, showcasing old packaging, tradesman’s tools and lots of other weird and wonderful objects. They have a great display of old cameras and even an apothecary too.

Now the project is all finished, I thought it would be nice to share some of the process here.

After a couple of site visits, conversations and hundreds of reference photos, I got to work sketching out a plan of the building, the rooms and areas both upstairs and down, onto squared paper.

Once both floors were planned out, with everything lining up, I transferred the drawing onto isometric paper, where I started working upwards, plotting in the walls and walkways and making sure the map was clear and easy to read. 

I altered the plan on both floors to accommodate the 3D nature of the map, ensuring all areas could still be seen. Once the detail was all roughed in, I scanned it and dropped the drawing into a rough indesign layout and sent it off for approval.

After a couple of inevitable tweaks, I was able to start inking up the final drawing. Using the lightbox I traced over the rough in ink, with crisp lines, adding in more detail as I went. Once inked the drawing was ready to be scanned again, imported into photoshop and coloured up digitally.

For the colouring, I used solid colour layers with vector masks for each of the large areas – the floor, walls etc. This makes the colours far easier to alter once it’s all coloured up. When the base colours are all down, I started painting in the detail, shading etc and when finally happy with it, I dropped it into the indesign layout again, and sent it off to the client for approval.

Once approved, I made the file ‘print ready’ and sent it off to the client.

It’s brilliant seeing the illustrations you’ve worked on in their final environment, in this case, printed as 2x massive panels, to be placed both inside and outside of the attraction, as well as on a printed map and as a downloadable file from their website. This was one of my favourite jobs so far and I had a lot of fun and learned a lot whilst doing it.

The final project can be seen over in my Behance portfolio HERE