Ready to Go

It’s hard to believe that after six months of staying close to home a planned vacation to Maine is actually going to happen later this month. Yahoo! I’ll be stepping into the world of granite boulders and tide pools before you know it. In preparation for our trip, I did what I often do before leaving home and made a map to set the stage for the sketchbook pages to come. The island of Vinalhaven has a rich history of quarrying and lobster fishing, so I used a monochromatic map from 1859 as my inspiration. I look forward to filling in more of it and turning the page to record new adventures ahead.

Tips and Techniques– I love looking at old maps and thinking about how to use various elements, but I have never made one like this. If it appeals to you, I recommend trying it—it was surprisingly easy and fun. After making an outline of the coast in ink, I gave the entire page (except the buoy) a graded wash of raw umber and burnt umber. With the paint still wet, I placed plastic wrap onto the paper, which created subtle texture. Once the page was dry, I added another graded wash, this time yellow ochre, and again added the plastic wrap. Next, I painted the thick shadow along the coastline with a size 6 brush and then the thin contour lines using a size 2 brush. The text style is drawn from the historic map. After printing the letters with a Micron pen, I added a bit of white gouache to mimic the look of letterpress printing. The lower left is intentionally light so that I can write in it as the trip progresses.

20 thoughts on “Ready to Go

  1. I love this sketch — such a lovely way to capture the feel of old maps.

    I spent time in this part of Maine after finishing my year as a Thomas J Watson Fellow. The Watson family had us out to their compound on North Haven, just above Vinalhaven. My first-ever visit to Maine. Spectacular, as so much of the state is.

    Enjoy your travels, you lucky lady!

  2. Enjoy your vacation as you play with the natural environment and create a detailed visual description of your memories there. Of course, I hope you share them with us. Safe travels and fun drawing and painting.

  3. A great idea and you did a beautiful job… Have an enjoyable time. I look forward to seeing more of Maine through your eyes. Be well and safe.

  4. For me, there is such a promise of adventure when I look at a map. As a child, I loved a book that contained a map so that one could refer to it and “picture” where the story was going. The fact that you will add to this very lovely one takes us all along on your adventure. So…we need not be jealous since we can in a way, share in your vacation. Thanks, Jean and have fun!

  5. I also love looking at maps, especially at the front of fiction texts which I am reading. It is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the setting.
    You have really captured the essence of an old map with the sepia tones and beautiful lettering. You have inspired me to try some maps that I have previously drawn in my travel journals. Thank you for sharing. I hope that you have some wonderful adventures on your holiday and you might even be able to add a cross when you find a treasure!

  6. I Love your posts and appreciate you sharing your techniques like you did with the map. Looking forward to seeing future posts of your trip! Thank you!

  7. Thanks for sharing the way you did the subtle texture. I’ve done that technique before in other contexts…but never on a map. GREAT idea. I have never heard of this island nor ever visited the state of Maine. I can’t wait for you to share it with us.!

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