Frequently Asked Questions
A. It’s simple evolution. I started out drawing ugly little cars. Then, over eons of time, they gradually evolved into cute little cars.
Q. Are all of your maps funded by advertising?
A. Most, but not all. I must admit, it’s a treat to draw a cartoon map and not have to create ads to go with it.
Q. Is you lettering hand-done, or type set?
A. It’s about 90% hand lettered. When I was in eighth grade I taught myself to hand letter. It has served me well through the years.
Our maps are unique from all other maps that I’ve seen in that the ads are hand lettered, to blend in with the hand drawn nature of the cartoon map.
Q. What else makes your cartoon maps different?
A. Very few cartoon maps, if any, are designed the way that ours are designed. In the early days I “caricatured” buildings, like you see to on the left and right side panels, and on the header of this page. I still can, and do, draw maps in that fashion but I’ve learned that the maps work even better when I design them so that they can be used like a standard road map, looking straight down. Then I add all the cartoon icons and text to turn it into a cartoon map.
The problem with standard cartoon maps is that the buildings take up so much space that they totally distort the proportions of the map. That’s why you will often read somewhere on those cartoon maps the phrase: “Not drawn to scale”. Our maps are actually drawn to scale, unless the customer wants them drawn otherwise.
I should restate that I can and do draw “bird’s eye view” cartoon maps where you see the buildings caricatured. Many people still want them drawn that way. The customer is always right.
Q. Do you draw your cartoon maps traditionally, or digitally?
A. For many years I created my maps in a line and wash technique. I created the line with Micron Pigma pens and colored them with watercolor washes. Then I switched to markers, enhanced by Prisma Color pencils, for speed and convenience.
In 2002 I went digital with the color. I still draw them with Micron Pigma pens, but now I scan the line in and color them in Photoshop.
Q. Is 8 ½ x14 the only size that you produce?
A. In 2004 we released our West End Olympic Peninsula Cartoon Map in an 8 ½” X 14” format. It was very well received. We’ve produced a number of map titles in that size since then.
Q. What if someone wants a map in a larger size?
A. We can do that too. Early this year I drew a large (22” X 34”) very detailed map of Ventura, Oxnard and Ojai, California. I can work any size, but I prefer the smaller size for the cartoon maps that we produce ourselves. If you would like to see that map, go to www.discoverymap.com, then click on “California”.
Q. How can you draw a cartoon map of an area without actually traveling there?
A. Sometimes it’s necessary to travel to an area, but usually not. Through the magic of chamber of commerce web sites, brochures, and Google Earth, we can usually create a map of an area without traveling there. If I’m actually caricaturing buildings, then I may need to travel to an area with my camera.
Look at my Apple Valley California Map. I created that map to look just like I had traveled there by “hovering” over the area on Google Earth.
Q. What area did you draw for your first cartoon map?
A. I created my first cartoon map of my own neighborhood: South Hill, Puyallup, Washington, in 1982. I think many map makers mapped their own town as their first project. That was about 60 maps ago. It’s hard to believe that I’ve drawn that many maps, all one at a time.
Q. Do you draw all the maps yourself?
A. I’ve tried hiring out the art for the maps twice, and in both cases it was a big mistake. But if the demand is more than I can meet, I know many highly qualified illustrators who could join our team.
Q. Are you looking for sales people?
A. I’m always on the lookout for sales people. Our maps work almost anywhere. And they make a great business for someone with sales experience who wants flexible hours. For more information about working with us as a sales rep, go to the Business Opportunities page.