Custom Maps by ArtMapMaker

ArtMapMaker has two lines of business: the “Great American Cities” series, large format maps of cities that are sold as fine art prints; and our custom mapping service.

The custom mapping that we do is probably my favorite mapping avocation.  I make bespoke maps for clients who want a permanent, personalized memento. The most popular of these are travel maps. People take fantastic trips all over the country and the world, and are able to acquire a detailed map made to their specifications to show their travels. As always, each map is hand-made using traditional cartographic techniques of pen-and-ink, mechanical lettering and colored charcoal for color shading. I like to say that I am the last guy in the world who still makes maps by hand.

I consult with each client personally and learn the places they have visited. I am able to use maps within maps to describe the entire trip: I can have maps of cities or neighborhoods coordinated with larger scopes on the same map. I take these factors into consideration and design the map. Once the client accepts the design, I use my map library to transfer desired elements to paper. This involves tracing in pencil. Once the pencil work is complete the inking begins. First all linear components are inked, followed by lettering. Sometimes people prefer ink-only maps; my wife actually likes this style the best. I prefer subtle pastel-like coloration to the boundaries of the map. The last steps include a fixative spray to seal and protect the work, and my signature.

I take the finished map to my printer, who scans the map with a high resolution photographic system. He and I sit down together and he uses PhotoShop to remove any blemishes. Anything hand-made, at least in my hands, has to have some imperfections. To me they are the hallmark of original art that give it character, but, if a client prefers, he or she can also obtain prints that have had the original image cleaned up. I always give the original to the client, and prints are available as well.

One popular type of travel map is the honeymoon map. This is a once-in-a-lifetime (well, maybe) trip that is really a high point in married people’s lives. The memories of a great honeymoon can be put to paper and shared with family and friends for the rest of their lives. Considering the cost of making a video, and the decreasing likelihood that it will be viewed as time goes by, my maps are a bargain (I admit my bias here.)

The possibilities for custom maps are limitless; I have made maps of wineries, cemeteries, estates, locations of business and personal entities; and all manner of cities, states, countries and continents that represent something personal and significant for the client.

Please contact me if you have an idea for a custom map and we can work together to create something unique.