Monday, June 23, 2014

Creating a Paradise Travel Map - Finished Art

This is the final installment in my Tristan da Cunha Paradise Travel Map series.

It may not be immediately evident by looking at it, but I spent a lot of late night and early morning hours working on this map...three months and 65 hours, to be exact. I started on it on March 23rd and finished on June 23rd. I must be a glutton for punishment to work on these travel maps in my off-hours since it's how I spend most of my on duty time, working on cartoon map projects. (

All of the text and header lettering were done by hand. Having taught myself to hand-letter in eighth grade has served me very well over the years. I drew the map on paper with Micron pens, then scanned it into Photoshop and colored in with a Wacom Cintiq. Prior to beginning the artwork, I spent many hours researching the island so that I could intelligently portray it graphically.

If you haven't been following my articles, some time ago I discovered a far-flung, remote, populated island in the South Atlantic. It was Tristan da Cunha. I found it to be such a fascinating locale that I was inspired to create a map of the island to add to my Paradise Travel Map collection.

One of the first things that I want to do with the map is to send it as an attachment to the editor of the Tristan da Cunha newsletter, plus some other prominent Tristan islanders. That should come as a huge surprise to them since Tristan is rarely if ever mapped at all because of it's remoteness. I have yet to see a single map of the sole settlement on the island, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas. My Edinburgh of the Seven Seas inset map may be the only such map in existence.  

I might point out that the map was created in CMYK so the colors are very gaudy onscreen. I wish there was some way that this problem could be corrected.

If you have any ideas for a Paradise Travel Map, I welcome your suggestions.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Creating a Paradise Travel Map - Part 12

This is the 12th in a series of articles describing my process in creating a Paradise Travel Map.

The map may appear to be completed. Actually, all the elements are more or less finished on the map, except for the island itself. There is still a lot of rendering to do on the island. I have painted in the base colors, and now I have begun the rendering process. I have been experimenting with how I will render the details on the map, especially the gulches. Every stream, with its accompanying gulch, originates on Queen Mary's Peak, the volcanic peak in the heart of the island that erupted in 1962, causing the islanders to take to the sea in fear of their lives.

There is one small area on the island that may be close to complete. It's the gulch area between the Queen Mary's Peak banner and the notation in the water saying: "Healthcare is free on Tristan". I've found it a challenge to accurately render the craggy gulches to my satisfaction. I think I am satisfied with this area, so I may proceed around the island, rendering all the streams and gulches accordingly.

I have derived immense satisfaction from working on this map, though it has extended out much longer than I had planned. I began the project on March 23 (2014) and I have been working on it off and on, late nights and early mornings since then. In the process, I have become fascinated with this tiny, remote, little known island nation. I have spent hours watching documentaries and reading everything I can find about Tristan da Cunha. It is truly one of the most unique populated places on earth.

Not that I would choose to visit Tristan da Cunha. You would have to be very motivated to actually visit the island. First, you have to get to Capetown, South Africa. Then you're looking at a week long boat ride halfway across the Atlantic Ocean to get to the island. Then, once you're there, you better be prepared to stay a while. Boats call on Tristan only about ten times a year, and there's no airport. So if you travel to Tristan, you must stay for several weeks until the next boat comes to get you. Oh, and don't get sick on Tristan. There's no air service to airlift you out to a hospital. There's no airport on Tristan da Cunha.

Hopefully, only one more update post, and the map will be complete.

To get a glimpse of what Tristan da Cunha is like, click here

If you'd like to see more of my cartoon maps, go to

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Creating a Paradise Travel Map - Part 11

This is the eleventh in a series of articles describing my process in creating a Paradise Travel Map. If you've been following my posts, you can see that I'm on the home stretch now. I just finished coloring in the two corner panels on the right, and I toned the background for the text banner on the right. I also toned in the art for Tristao da Cunha on the text banner.

All that remains to color are the images to the right of the island, and the island itself. Stay tuned for the next post, which will probably be the last one for this series.

To see more of my cartoon maps, go to

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Creating a Paradise Travel Map - Part 10

This is the tenth in a series of articles describing my process in creating a Paradise Travel Map. Feel free to scroll down to see all of the previous posts.

The coloring process is moving ahead, slowly but surely. The left two corner panels are now completed. Also finished, the Five Finger fish, the Tristan Longboat and the Spectacled kestrel, to the left of the island. Most people would never imagine the hours that can be invested in an illustration.  A lot of feather rendering was involved with the Spectacled kestrel in the lower left. I worked on the kestrel for an hour and 15 minutes.

Stay tuned. I'll be posting the next color steps very soon. To see more of my cartoon maps, go to

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Creating a Paradise Travel Map - Part 9

This is the ninth in a series of articles describing my process in creating a Paradise Travel Map.

What is a Paradise Travel Map? The vast majority of my work as a cartoon cartographer involves working on assignments. I'm hired by corporations, chambers of commerce, city and county governments and private individuals to draw cartoon maps of cities, towns, islands, coastlines. You name it, I've probably drawn it.

A Paradise Travel Map is a map that I've drawn for myself. I come across a place that intrigues me, like Tristan da Cunha above, then I create and market the map myself. Even though the map is not completed yet, I'm already getting a lot of traffic from the UK regarding the Tristan map, because Tristan da Cunha is a British protectorate.

Since my last post, you can see that I've started to tone the water a bit. I gradated darker hues into the water around the edges. I also finished up the inset map of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, the village on Tristan. And I finished the ship on top of Tristao da Cunha, the discoverer of the island.

Stay tuned. I'll be showing more color soon. Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tristan da Cunha - Part 8 - First Color

This is the eighth in a series of installments that describe my process in creating a Paradise Travel Map. This is a map of Tristan da Cunha, a small little-known island in the South Atlantic Ocean that supports a population in one village of under 300. It is considered the most remote inhabited island on earth.

Now that the ink line is finished I have begun applying the color in Photoshop, by way of a Wacom Cintiq. The ocean water color is now flat, but there will be a lot of tonal variation and rendering in the ocean as the color progresses. The descriptive banner to the right also has flat color at this point.

The title banner is finished. You can see that I rendered on top of the flat color to give the banner to "age" it and give it more authenticity and flavor. I also did a lot of toning and tuning and shading in the color letters. All of the lettering on the map is done freehand. I taught myself to do freehand lettering when I was in eighth grade. I'm eternally grateful for learning that skill. It has benefited me almost daily for my entire life.

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Springtime in South Prairie

This afternoon the weather was so beautiful, I felt compelled to throw my leg over my motorcycle and ride to the nearby country town of Orting, in the Puyallup Valley, Washington State, USA. I took some drawing work with me and plugged into the Wi-Fi at Orting McDonald's and worked on my drawing. 

Upon finishing my artwork, I decided to keep riding, so I headed southeast out of Orting on Highway 162 to one of my favorite spots, South Prairie, a rural community in the shadow of Mount Rainier.

To my surprise, I found the meadows along the highway were ablaze with spring wildflowers. I know the montane, sub-alpine and alpine wildflower varieties, but I'm not very familiar with the lowland wildflowers. My best guess is that the white and purple flowers are valerians. But I only know the Sitka valerian that grows in the subalpine zone of the Olympic Moutains in Washington State.

I wish I knew for sure what these beautiful golden flowers are. Many of the fields and meadows along the road were carpeted with them. Upon further checking, it appears that this is a wild mustard field.

More mustard fields, this time with a herd of cattle. I only spent about 45 minutes in South Prairie today before I felt I needed to ride back home. It was a memorable motorcycle adventure.

It's easy to see by the above photos why I'm so glad I live in Washington State. I never take for granted the lush pastoral beauty that is rural Washington, my home state. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles?