I was approached by Ten Speed Press (part of Penguin Random House) to draw maps for a book project on the topic of Champagne. They were specifically interested in a set of maps detailing the different areas where the grapes are grown, and their geographic features.
The project initially required a few sets of sketches before we came to a solution that incorporated the level of information they were looking for while still focusing on the craft and texture of the maps.
This was one of the most didactic projects I’ve been contracted to do. My niche is typically abstract maps that evoke the geography of a place for aesthetic scene-setting purposes, but for this I had to balance clarity and legibility of information with aesthetic style.
In the end, the project comprised 8 maps (7 different regions and 1 map of how they all fit together). The visual and didactic style was fairly consistent across the 7 regions, despite some fairly large differences in geographic scale, and that style was echoed in the overall map as well.
It was an excellent experience to map something with that much specificity, and I’m glad we were able to work together on it. You can find the finished book on Penguin’s website here.
I was recently in Paris for two weeks and made a lot of time to draw.
Some of my favorites:
Along the Canal St Martin
Out the window of a bistro in Montmartre
The historic yet unassuming Lapin Agile in Montmartre
Steps near Sacre Coeur. There are tons of steps to get up and down from Montmartre.
Sketches and painting of a window. The architecture is lovely and picturesque but surprisingly complicated to draw. Mostly I needed preparation to deal with the perspective due to looking from the ground, and a variety of grey-yellows to model the details with any depth.
Aperol spritz! With record high temperatures, these were a big feature during the trip.
Tiny sketch from a picnic when I learned to combine Schweppes Agrum’ soda (mixed citrus) with red wine for a sort of super-simple sangria
Canal boat navigating the locks on Canal St Martin
Window in the Latin Quarter
Doughnut peaches for breakfast
Rooftops drawn while taking a break from the heat
The cluttered interior of a lovely cafe where I had a little longer to draw
Over Thanksgiving I took about two weeks away from my home studio practice and set up a mini residency project. It was basically a residency dry-run: I was interested in figuring out what kinds of tools, materials and setup I’d need. I definitely learned a lot in that regard, and I also made some drawings that pushed my work in new directions.