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.





'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