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Design: The development of illustration and illustrated maps

June 14, 2013     Designs Wallet    

People have been using maps since the beginning of time. it was the map that helped Vasco Da Gama and Columbus to discover new lands. Today, the maps have evolved tremendously and can be used by any layman. It is not necessary that you need to be a voyager like Marco Polo to make use of this humble invention. Maps are extremely essential as they enable a person to effectively understand the world. The maps today have become increasingly user friendly and this has made the invention even more interesting. Illustrated maps are loved by all. These maps have intricately detailed pictures of the earth and they also provide a bird’s eye view of the different places. With illustrations, it is much easier to understand the details than the written word.

Maps based on illustrations are a beautiful harmony of artistic representation and technological advancement. The areas that are shown in these maps are more realistic and all the important places can be seen with ease. These visually beautiful maps are a must for anyone who wishes to visit a place for the first time. Asking for strangers’ help is alright but sometimes it can be a daunting task; especially if they do not understand the language you speak. In such a situation these maps come handy and can be used effectively. These maps are useful not only for foreign visitors. Maps are a great way to explore a location or to find the place that you are looking for while driving. These maps have the main locations marked which instantly draws your attention towards them. These maps are an excellent way to explore a school or college campus.

These maps require exceptional artistic skills and one needs to have the impeccable knowledge about a particular place. This holds true especially in the urban areas where new buildings pop up almost every month and old buildings get demolished regularly.

These visually appealing maps came into existence simply because of the technological advancements in the 19th century. There were machines being produced to increase the printing capacity without having to spend huge sums of money. No matter how much advancement was being made, none was as important as the improvement in pictorial representation. With the advent of pictorial reproduction, the creative powers of illustrators got catapulted to new heights.

This paved the way for several new innovations in the field of print production with magazines and newspapers having colourful illustrations, not to mention the maps of several locations. Eventually, illustration gained a lot of importance and the publishing industry went into frenzy by publishing various adult and children books, family magazines, youth magazines, humour magazines for varied audiences. At that time the illustrators were held in high regard.

Today, digital illustration has picked up great speed and there is a host of animators, visual artists and graphic designers. There are several other digital art forms that are being explored every day. With this advent, the maps are bound to become more user friendly over time. Initially, the maps which had attractive illustrations of various places on them were accused of being inaccurate. They believed that the illustrations were very unrealistic and the distance and scale were incorrect. However, with the speed of technological advancement, maps today are illustrated on a digital level giving it the accuracy that it deserves. With GPS and satellite imaging on the rise, maps have become digitized. However, most people still prefer to use the old school hand illustrated maps which are used by the young and the old alike.

Author’s bio:
Rebecca is an illustration artist and specialises in designing beautiful handmade illustrated maps. A fine arts graduate, she instantly fell in love with the intricacies involved in making these maps and she claims that there is absolutely nothing else that she could do in her life.

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