Beautiful illustrations come in all shapes and sizes and there’s no shortage of talented and inspiring map illustrators out there. If there’s an illustration style you really admire, chances are an artist has loving crafted an illustrated map in that style.
The world of map illustration is so varied and unique, that it can be a challenge for both aspiring artists and illustrated map lovers to find that perfect piece.
Whether you’re an artist yearning to get those creative juices flowing again or simply looking for a unique hand drawn map for your home, we’ve pulled together a list of the most inspiring map illustrators for you to check out.
The whimsical and incredibly intricate illustrated maps of Jing Zhang are definitely awe inspiring. Jing, who was born in mainland China but now lives in East London with her equally talented husband James, creates complex map prints of places across the world in both 2D and 3D designs. The level of detail in every illustrated map is seriously impressive and it’s easy to see how much time and dedication goes into every single of one Jing’s creations. The above map, which details the political goings on across the world in 2016, gives us an insight into Jing’s incredibly creative mind.
View Jing’s work here.
Olivia is an English artist specialising in hand drawn, illustrated maps. Her unique style of map illustration, which involves using layered hand-cut stencils, produces beautifully complex designs which are then contrasted with simple colour palettes. Many of Olivia’s hand drawn maps are inspired by her real-life experiences at street level and celebrate the buildings and culture that each place is so famous for. Most inspiring though, is her distinctive use of textures and layers, which make each map truly unique.
See more of Olivia’s maps here.
Hertfordshire based illustrator Livi Gosling creates delicate, hand painted maps using ink and watercolours. Livi loves telling stories through her illustrations whether they’re for magazines or personal commissions. Her maps range from traditional town maps to food-based maps of some of the world’s most famous cities. Livi’s free-flowing illustration style means that each customised map is bespoke and allows her to leave a distinctive mark on every illustration she creates.
Buy Livi’s work here.
We love Katie’s distinctive ‘letter maps’ (as seen above) but her entire catalogue of kick-arse map illustrations fills us with inspiration. Living in Chiacago, Katie takes pride in celebrating the small, everyday details of life through her work. Katie’s charming maps contrast a simplistic style and colour with heaps of iconic landmarks. Every map is jam packed with Katie’s quirky designs and her individual style comes through in every illustrated map she creates.
Buy Katie’s maps here.
Every one of Jordan Sondler’s bright and busy map illustrations are bursting with colour and pizzazz. Using inks and digital textures, she creates complex maps of the coolest US states, as well as foodie maps for her commercial clients. She finds inspiration in the objects around her and the things she sees whilst exploring the cities she visits. Her illustrated maps capture so much detail that you’ll be finding something new and unusual every time you take another glance.
See more of Jordan’s work here.
Jane Newland’s obsession with detail is what makes every one of her map illustrations truly remarkable. Working digitally, she crafts layer upon layer of beautiful texture and design – with an end result that transports you straight into the world she’s created. Much of Jane’s work is rooted in nature, with stunningly detailed trees, plants and animals filling every landscape. Her whimsical style is accentuated by the dreamy colour palettes used throughout her work and the scenes she chooses to portray.
See Jane’s portfolio here.
London based artist Ruby Taylor has been rustling up top-notch custom map illustrations for years now and it definitely shows. She loves working with colourful pastel palettes which give each of her illustrated maps a cool, vintage feel. Every map is intricately designed, reflecting each areas winding roads and historic monuments. Ruby’s maps not only pay homage to the big stuff but also the little, more intricate details of the places she draws – making her maps popular with visitors and locals alike.
Check out Ruby’s maps here.
San Francisco based motion graphic designer and illustrator Aldo Crusher creates digitally illustrated maps that look almost otherworldly. Aldo’s digital maps place focus on the smaller details such as trees, rivers and houses and his distinctive style of illustration reminds us of old school, dystopian art. The rich, bold colour palettes light up every design and each one of Aldo’s illustrated maps creates a unique atmosphere that is often incredibly hard to portray in a still image.
See more of Aldo’s work here.
Illustrator and graphic designer James Daw produces insanely cool maps of some of the world’s most popular cities and states. His totally unique, abstract style means his illustrated maps are unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere. His love of paint, collage and digital illustration is reflected in his amazingly creative designs, which are a must have for anyone who loves illustrated maps and abstract art. At first glance, you might just see shapes and splashes of colour but look at little closer and all the incredibly detailed buildings and people begin to jump out at you.
Buy James’ work here.
Sara Boccaccini Meadows is print designer and illustrator who loves the great outdoors. The UK native who now lives in Brooklyn, NY, developed her uniquely green style after growing up in the rolling hills of the English Peak District. Sara spends her days creating beautiful illustrated maps and fabric prints inspired by her everyday surroundings. Much of Sara’s work is centred around her love of plants and flowers, which is why all of her hand drawn maps are filled with beautiful botanicals and use gorgeously natural colour palettes.
See more of Sara's work here.
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Written by Danielle Amato.