There are a lot of interesting artistic maps being made nowadays: maps of humourous place-names, countries formed by nothing but words, colourful street grids without text at all, and many emulations of the famous London Underground diagram.

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All cartography is great, but I especially love the appearance of maps from hundreds of years ago. I wanted to produce new interesting maps that look old, with a classical, antique style. I draw a lot of inspiration from the layout, decorations and typography of old maps.

All of my maps are drawn by hand. First, I plan everything in pencil on paper. Then, carefully, using calligraphy dip-pens with different nibs, I slowly draw the map in ink: first the text, then the landscape, then the borders and decorations. Finally, I add shading to make the map stand out. On the gin and whisky maps, the sea and coast were shaded to make the land appear more readily with thousands of lines, each drawn one-by-one with a very fine-tipped nib. Each map took over 150 hours to plan and draw!

Like distilling a great tasting gin or whisky, crafting a beautiful map by hand takes a lot of time, planning, and patience. But the results are worth it! Manuscript Maps puts the art into cartography.

More info:

The Whisky Map of Scotland

The Gin Map of Great Britain & Ireland

Drawing by hand

Tools of the trade