Ever since I was a child, I've loved maps. They weren’t merely a tool for visualizing a fictional land, but something tactile to help transport me into the world I was reading about. The maps further connected me to the story, allowing me to imagine how I would traverse the environments myself.
I mostly read adventure novels where kids would explore distant countries, different eras and far-off locales. The illustrated maps were my favourite part. I would study each and every detail carefully until the world felt as real as my own.
And often I would recreate the maps, so I could roll it into a scroll and carry it in my bag like a real adventurer. Below is a map I made around 8 years old based an Osborne Puzzle Adventure book. I honed my technique, including scrunching, ripping, burning edges and expertly spilling coffee so not to wash away the drawings.
During my travels over the years, I've collected every single guidebook or pamphlet if there was a map inside. My favourites were the Disney Park maps. And though the park doesn't tend to change significantly from year-to-year, I add to my collection upon each trip. For it seems, one can never have too many maps of the same park!
Disneyland's 50th anniversary map has pride of place in my home.
As I got older and began reading fantasy, I was thrilled to discover many included illustrations depicting the imaginary worlds. Many are undeniably works of art; such as the maps in the Grisha books by Leigh Bardugo (drawn by Keith Thompson). In fact, I’ve been known to buy a book simply due to the gorgeous map inside!
The Grisha books are as wonderful as their stunning maps!
I dream of the day when I'm to open a book and find an intricate map designed around the worlds and words I've created, combining two of my passions: fantasy novels and maps.
Are you a collector? What are your prized trinkets? Please let me know in the comments.