Map Artwork Instructions

Map Artwork Instructions.jpg

Map Art Instructions

Bringing together the strong graphic style of a map and a subtle drawing of a face makes memorable art project.

First select a map. This map is from a Danish phonebook. I was inspired by the colors and graphics.The next step is to mount the map because the paper is very thin and not durable enough for drawing.

Cut a piece of cardboard the size of the finished artwork. ( 4 x 5 inches for this project) A quick coat of white acrylic paint will make the colors look brighter since the map paper is very thin and keep the glue from soaking the cardboard. If you use a map printed on thicker paper, you can skip this step. If you are not sure if your map paper can handle color pencils, do a quick coloring test on an area of the map you do not plan to use.

Glue the map to cardboard using a glue that will not leave the paper wrinkled when it's dry. ( decoupage, scrapbooking or archival glue)  Examine the surface, smooth away wrinkles and gently wipe away any glue on the surface to make drawing easier. Trim excess paper with paper cutter, xacto knife or scissors. 

The paper needs to be totally dry from the glue before using the color pencils or ink. To speed up drying time use a hair dryer on low over the front and back. Don't rush this step. Make sure your map is dry.

Look at the flow of the map you have selected. what do you see in it ? Do the lines and colors remind you of something? Design your artwork around that. If you are having trouble finding the shapes or positions to start, try making a few copies in copy machine and test your ideas out that way. 

If you are drawing a face, anchor a least one of the face's features using the the map's graphics. ( right eye is using a street, tip of nose is a dividing road, part of lips using gridlines, left side of hair is a highway)

If you are drawing something other than a face, use a focal point to work into the map's design to give it an organic, integrated feel. 

Bring out the colors of the map to shape your art and keep your pencil color choices limited to what is used on map except for one accent color. Limiting the design to the map colors makes it look like it is part of the map and your art is 'growing' out of it. The one accent color gives the 'pop' and directs your eye movement over the art.

A soft white color pencil helps to build a feeling of dimension and shape. Use a ultra fine tip pen or marker to weave some detail of the face and hair into the streets on the map.





Art Stickers

How to make Art Stickers

These samples were all drawn directly on full sheets of label paper and mailing labels.

For durability I spray painted the backgrounds and used Sharpie brand permanent pens.

6 ways to use ART STICKERS

  1. Trade them with other artists.
  2. Give them as gifts.
  3. Sell them.
  4. Decorate everyday objects.
  5. Street art.
  6. Promotional campaigns.

One sheet of 'adhesive label', lightly spray painted. Design drawn with Sharpies. Trimmed to just outside outline.

Tips & Ideas

  • Use stickers as an alternative to ‘business cards’
  • Be responsible about where you place stickers.
  • Use permanent type inks for durability and weather resistance
  • Take advantage of the small size to try out new ideas

Using permanent inks like Sharpies gives you more then durability. The colors saturate the paper, giving you colors and outlines that 'pop'.


Cyberdog Sticker

This sticker was trimmed from a full sheet of label paper and outlined with the red big Sharpie.

The insets for the the goggles and screen are cut from thin prismatic gift wrapping mylar.


Mail Label Sticker

The humble but famous #228 label from the US postal service. Drawn with blue and red ballpoint pens. Get creative and repurpose old stickers.


Artists Inspiring Artists - Featuring Dika Toolkit


How to find inspiration for art

Following artists on social media is a great source for finding inspiration on multiple levels.

When you see a memorable artwork, break down what you like about it.  Is it the mix of colors?  An unusual use of a traditional material? Maybe you wish you had thought of that concept. How is the artist promoting their work? Do they have an engaging profile? Do they interact with their followers ?

An Artist who is inspiring to me is Dika Toolkit. Here's what I've learned from following him. And here's how he can make me (and you) a better artist.


Follow Dika Toolkit on Social Media

Sunny by Toolkit04
Sunny by Toolkit04

How I got inspired

I've been fascinated by Dika Toolkit's style and the development of his characters. Then I saw in his Instagram feed that I was not the only one! There were several other artists that had done tributes to his characters, in their own style. That inspired me to do this mid-tone sketch as a practice piece.

I took it a step further and drew myself as his character, since I was not drawing it to be used commercially. Then I posted it to my Instagram account.

Dika was kind enough to post it on his feed, which landed it on the 'popular page" and received a huge amount of likes and comments. It also became one of the most viewed and commented on artworks in my social media.

Dika toolkit instagram screenshot - Photo
Dika toolkit instagram screenshot - Photo
 Instagram popular page

Instagram popular page

5 INSPIRING THINGS I learned from following Dika Toolkit

1. Personality matters.  One of the amazing qualities of Dika Toolkit's work is the believability of the characters he develops, making them feel breathing and alive.

2. Don't overwork it.  Using a minimal about of lines can be more expressive. Study how clear and confidant drawing style suggests detail in imaginative ways.

3. Honor your skills.  Look back through a highly skilled artist's social media feed and you can see how their skills develop through even short periods of time.

4. Communicate.  Let your public see your works in progress, show them things that inspire you. Share your work, you never know who you are inspiring.

5. Go global.  Put your work out there and be active. Dika recently won Linkin Park's 'Castles of Glass' design contest. Congratulations!

'ATC' - Artist Trading Cards


What are they?

Artist Trading Cards (ATC, ATCs) are small artworks traded or exchanged among artists.The feature that defines an Artist Trading Card is size.They are always 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (64 x 89 mm). The same size as sport trading cards and poker playing cards. Most works are on paper but metal, fabric, wood and plastic are also used. When an Artist Trading Card is a print or it is sold instead of exchanged, it is called an Art Card Editions and Originals (ACEO, ACEOs)

How do I make them?

Cut the cards from larger paper or buy them in pre-cut packs. On the back of the card place title of the piece, type of media, date, your name and contact information. Keep in mind collections are often stored in clear plastic sleeves, so thickness and textures are a factor in your in your designs.

History of Artist Trading Cards

Artist’s Trading Cards were brought to popularity through mail art projects during the Fluxus art movement (1950s and 60s) and through the efforts of Swiss artist M.V. Stimemann (1990s).

Display ideas 

  • Collect and store your cards in clear sport trading card sleeves.
  • Display ATCs in a place where they can be viewed, like a basket or box.
  • Frame them in groups for more impact.
  • Use mini easels to feature your favorites.
  • use a rubber stamp for the information on back of car.


  • Store your collection in clear box
  • Participate in or start local trading group
  • Do a series on a single subject
  • Make them for gifts
  • Keep them handy for promotional opportunities

Game of Thrones Guide to enter Fan Challenge


Cast A Large Shadow

Art contests can expose your work to an entirely new audience, add to your resume and promotion.

Here’s the keys I’ve learned after winning over 40 art contests and shows.

  1. Have a good reason to enter
  2. Make sure your work fits the theme
  3. Read all the rules
  4. Be aware of deadline
  5. Understand the judging criteria

Create an official season 3 poster for Game of Thrones  (deadline 6/13/13)

Entries are featured on HBO’s Game of Thrones official Tumblr after approval.


Before you enter

  • Artwork must be 100% made by you. No photography, digitally altered images or animated GIF
  • You must be a follower of the official Game of Thrones on Tumblr
  • You must be a resident of the US and 18 or older
  • How to enter
  • Submit a JPG/JPEG, PNG or BMP of 3000DPI resolution, no larger than 10MB
  • Tag your work #GoT Fan Art Challenge, #Entry, #Challenge
  • Read and agree to term of submission and read complete rules

Judging criteria

  • Originality and Creativity   40%
  • Relevance to the theme of Game of Thrones Season 3  40%
  • Suitability of Entry to be printed as poster art  20%


Enter HBO's Game of Thrones Fan Challenge

5 prizes packages that include

  • Inside HBO's Game of Thrones Book (Collector's Edition)
  • Dragon Egg Paperweight
  • Iron Throne Replica Statue
  • Direwolf Bookends
  • Letter Opener
  • Set of 6 Funco Figures
  • $100 HBO Shop Gift Certificate
  • Game of Thrones Fleece Blanket
  • House Sigil Stone Coaster Set
  • Hand of the King Pin
  • Westeros Canvas Map
  • Iron Throne Journal
  • A Feast of Ice and Fire Cookbook
  • Sigil Shield Keychain
  • Game of Thrones Card Game
  • Sigil Beanie

Game of Thrones Fan Art Series Part 2


The show Game of Thrones has a call to artists to submit artwork  for the current series. I’m creating two pieces, Dream Dragon (featured drawing) and Jon Snow.

Below you will find links to HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 3 Fan Art Challenge.

These color pencil drawings on brown paper are part of my experimental series of art on paper bags and cardboard. I encourage you to submit your artwork to HBO's competition. If you need technical help to get your artwork ready to enter, just ask in the comment area..

Follow Game of Thrones on Tumblr to enter the Fan Art Challenge from HBO


Official media

Twitter Hashtags

Game of Thrones Fan Art


The visual beauty of the HBO series Game of Thrones inspires artistic tribute.

That's just a nice way to say I’m so geeked out over this show that I use it for drawing practice and experimentation. This artwork is of the character

John Snow drawing by Anna-Lise
John Snow drawing by Anna-Lise

The design style is a montage that blends the shapes and lines with the symbols that represent the character to me. I used a limited palette of colors associated with Jon Snow to increase the drama and unite the many elements.

The paper is actually brown paper bag. Although it is not archival quality paper, I wanted to see how well it would perform since it is available to everyone. It holds up well under many layers of colored pencil techniques, but you need a light touch with erasers.

Detail of horses in the background
Detail of horses in the background
The skull of the crow
The skull of the crow


  • brown paper bag
  • Col-erase and Prismacolor pencils


  • layering and blending
  • burnishing for smoothness


  • try unusual paper or surface
  • stretch limits of traditional materials like pencils
  • color pencils are available hard, soft, waxy and erasable

NEXT IN THIS SERIES - Dragons and Game of Thrones Art Challenge!