• Watercolor Illustrated Maps: A Proud Teacher Showcase

    TPK’s Watercolor Illustrated Maps 101 eCourse has paved the way for students to make several incredible maps. Today, I’m sharing my favorites, from Texas to Poland.

    The Watercolor Illustrated Map eCourse is Here!

    In 2020, Watercolor Illustrated Maps 101 eCourse became the first TPK online course that centers around making a specific project. It’s been amazing to see how students pour what they learn into making their own amazing maps! Seeing student maps totally makes my day, especially because each map showcases a student’s personal style. Today, I’m sharing some of the maps that I’ve received with you. I hope that these maps spark your inspiration and compel you to create, too.

    1. Paris Watercolor Illustrated Maps

    The Watercolor Illustrated Maps 101 eCourse teaches you illustrated map techniques via a shared project. Together, we make a map of Paris in the course. Here are two examples of how different students interpreted the Paris project. Notice how different these two maps are:

    Paris Student Maps
    The map on the left was created by Julia W., and the map on the right was created by Kelly B.

    2. Austin Map

    This map immediately caught my attention because of its playful lettering and fabulous color scheme. I love how Nicole was able to create a horizon. Her repetition of blue tones throughout the map really helps to tie everything together.

    Austin, TX, Map by Nicole T.
    Nicole says: “I learned so much making the Paris map! I was able to take that knowledge and apply it making a map of Austin, TX (where I’m from).”

    3. Port Stanley Map

    Kim G. made this map for her daughter-in-law as a Mother’s Day gift. I love all of the little details, but the cream and black house especially commands attention. Kim did a great job of transitioning from lush greenery to beach, which is a difficult feat.

    Kim G.'s Illustrated Watercolor Map
    Kim G. says: “I recently completed your Watercolor Illustrated Map course and wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it! I put it to good use right away and made a Mother’s Day gift for my lovely daughter-in-law.”

    4. Gdynia Map

    Kasia decided to create her hometown of Gdynia (Poland). In her map, the sea steals the show. The serene blues and deep green tones in this map have a calming effect. This is, without a doubt, a delightful map to observe.

    Kasia says: “Just wanted to say thanks for the online course on watercolor maps. I purchased and just finished my piece! Granted it’s not nearly as pretty as your map of Paris but since I painted my hometown it will have a great sentimental value for years to come. Thank you!” (I’d argue that this is every bit as pretty as my Paris map.)

    5. Denver Map

    I live 30 minutes from Denver, so I especially appreciate this map by Kelly B. Her loose, whimsical painting style is a delight to observe, and the animals in this map steal the show in the best of ways.

    Kelly says: “I really enjoyed the [Watercolor Illustrated Maps 101] class I just finished with The Postman’s Knock. I have been intrigued by watercolor maps for a long time and this was the push I needed to try it.”

    6. Paris Sketchbook Spread

    Cathy M. put her own spin on the Paris map project presented in the course and made a sketchbook spread out of it! I love the contrast of her confident illustration style with gentle pops of watercolor. The groups of multicolored watercolor dots throughout the spread help to tie everything together.

    Paris Sketchbook Spread by Cathy Michels
    Cathy says: “I loved the map course and enjoyed reliving my trip as I researched locations. I used many of your icons and added a few of my own. I included it in the front of a handmade watercolor journal I am filling with scenes from Paris.”

    7. Florence Sketchbook Spread

    Laura B. used her map-making skills to commemorate a meaningful trip to Florence. I know from experience that making a map like this one allows you to re-live an adventure. The beauty of illustrated maps is you can include the big things — like seeing the Duomo — and simple pleasures like enjoying cappuccino and good olive oil!

    Sketchbook map of Florence, Italy, by Laura Bicherl
    Laura says: “Several years ago, I traveled to Venice and Florence with a group of artists. I put together a map of Florence after poring over Lindsey’s beautiful course on map-making. That was such an inspired (and clever!) way to summarize all the adventures packed into that amazing trip.”

    8. Atlanta Wedding Map

    Sally made this map for her daughter’s wedding. She did a fabulous job of repeating rose and blue tones, and the flourishes sprinkled throughout the piece help everything look cohesive. Flourishes add icing to an already beautiful layout.

    Sally says: “Your course was SO helpful. The map got good reviews even from [my daughter’s] artistic friends.” You can see more of Sally’s work on her Instagram page.

    9. Green Bay Map

    In this map, Amanda H. shows all of a Green Bay couple’s favorite spots, from their first date to their engagement. Her use of red and brown tones throughout the buildings is easy on the eyes, and her flourishes make a beautiful border.

    Amanda says: “Thank you for your expertise and training offered in the watercolor map tutorial! It was the inspiration behind opening my own Etsy shop this month!”

    10. Paris and Long Island Watercolor Illustrated Maps

    At 90 years old, Marge K. might be retired, but she’s certainly not idle: she’s now working on her third map! I love the spin she put on the original Paris map (that bicycle is fantastic) and her interpretation of Long Island, where she grew up.

    I’m excited to get to see Marge’s next map. Seeing someone take on these projects with such gusto makes it worth all the work to put together an eCourse.

    11. Oxnard Wedding Map

    Kim W. made this Oxnard, CA, map to commemorate a friend’s wedding. Notice how the bouncy lettering style and the bright colors capture the essence of the sunny California coast!

    Watercolor and ink illustrated map of Oxnard, CA, map by Kim Winklhofer
    Kim says: “Here is a photo of the illustrated map I made for a friend’s wedding. I should probably do the course again. As a perfectionist, I’m seeing a lot of room for improvement!”

    12. Relationship Journey Map

    Antonine K. used her skills to create a map that honors her relationship with her husband. This map is so special because of all the little details, from their first date to engagement/wedding details and where they are now. I love the beautiful muted colors in this map and the judicious use of different writing styles.

    Anniversary map in watercolor and ink by Antonine Koval
    Antonine says: “I took [the Watercolor Illustrated Maps 101 eCourse] several years ago and was inspired to create an anniversary gift for my husband that includes highlights of our courtship and marriage.”

    13. Friendship Maps

    Nora A. used her skills to make maps that commemorate her friendships. “During Covid I spend time at my desk thinking about the things I miss, mostly my friends. So I started making friendship maps. All of them have inside jokes and humor to them, it’s just my nature,” she explained. I think it’s so cool how each map has its own color scheme and stays true to the theme. More than anything, it’s awesome that Nora has latched on to the concept of map-making and creates personal, unique pieces that celebrate the important relationships in her life.

    Watercolor and ink friendship maps by Nora A.
    Nora says: “All in all I have had a blast doing these and have gifted them all.”

    14. Maps for Mothers

    Jane M. used her illustration abilities to create maps for her mother-in-law and her own mother. Both maps commemorate places that are special to the women in Jane’s life in a clean and crisp illustration style. I love the layouts here and the special details!

    Jane says: “Attached is a map I completed for my mother-in-law of her lake house in Illinois. She calls Idaho home now and displays it in her living room. The second map is of Dolly Copp campground in NH that I made for my mother. She has only missed one year visiting the campground and she is 89!”

    15. Celebrating Generations Map

    Lynn K. made this map for her mother as a tribute to a place that’s been special to her family for decades: Pawleys Island, SC. I love the precision and the beautiful colors in this map!

    Pawley's Island Map by Lynn Kenerson
    Lynns says: “I made this map of Pawleys Island, SC for my mother after taking your course. It highlights the special places that our family has been visiting for 4 generations. Making the map was in many ways a trip down memory lane for me, and I was so happy to be able to give her such a personal and meaning gift! I made the Paris map as a warm up and gifted that one to a friend. I’m thinking about doing others – college campuses, neighborhoods, etc. So many possibilities!”

    I hope that you enjoy looking through these watercolor illustrated maps as much as I do. Even if you don’t have time to take the Watercolor Illustrated Maps 101 eCourse, these student works are inspiring and just fun to look at. Those who are included in the list should know: I’m incredibly proud of you! Keep up the amazing work!

    Thanks very much for reading, and here’s to many happy creative moments in 2024.


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