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.





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