Drawing Maps

April 7, 2021 | 11 Comments

So… I’m going to be drawing a lot of maps in the coming weeks.

Those of you who get my monthly newsletter will already know that this is my monthly art goal and know the reason why! (BTW My monthly art goal is something that I normally only share in my newsletters.)

I plan to explore a few new things in the next few weeks – trying different techniques, different colours, different tools etc.

So here is a map of my local area (that I shared in passing last week). For this map, I decided to use the satellite view on google maps and draw each building and tree etc. It was fun but took quite a lot of time.

And today I did this quick map of my afternoon outing. BTW: A map is a great option to record an event when I don’t get a chance for a sketch.

Maps have been a big part of my sketchbook over the years… and so I included them as an element inside my Sketchbook Design course. It was amazing to see lots of different maps when we were adding elements to our pages. Hmm, I think I’ll visit the classroom (homework gallery in Lesson 1) for some inspiration!

Recently I’ve started to tag articles containing examples of maps but I thought it would be fun to add a few here as well. Some were included inside Sketchbook Design but others I’ve found deep in the archives!

Simple line drawing of my first day back home after my Long Service Leave trip of 11 weeks in 2010.

Complex city map – NYC 2013

A big day in Barcelona 2013

Lucca 2016 (with a rare pen leak… I was drawing the map on a plane)

Simple map of Lisbon (2018) recording most of the places I went during my visit.

A week in Venice (2010) – it was hard to remember everywhere we went!

Over the top map of Norfolk Island (2015)

Waterfall Cottage under the trees (2012)

Urquart Castle (2010)

Quick map of a complex garden in my local area (hmm, I need to go back soon!)

Remembering a visit to Kristiansand, Norway (map drawn in 2008)

Middle Head, Sydney (2008) – one of my first sketches ever uploaded to Flickr.

Oh! this was fun to put together… now what kind of map will I do tomorrow?


  • Oh what an exciting post! I just love maps! Any kind, anywhere, about anything! I’m really looking forward to the maps you have coming next!

  • Barbara B says:

    Your map sketches add so much to the composition and are great for recalling an adventure! Love them! You mentioned Google Maps, do you have other suggestions for references?? Do you ever trace paper maps ? My maps are rather “off” would love to learn new techniques. Thanks Liz

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Barbara,
      I mainly use Google maps – although when travelling I might use a local tourist map instead. Occasionally I print out a map from Google maps… this could be scaled and traced if needed. I draw mine freehand 99% of the time!

  • Mihaela S.G. says:

    What an awesome subject today! So many great examples of how to add maps to a journal page, different kind of maps for different occasions ! Very, very interesting and, certainly, something to try myself!

  • martine says:

    I wasn’t into drawing maps, untill I did your sketchbook design course! I learned how to really simplify them and they just give a sketchbook page a little extra.

  • Leeta Anderson says:

    Theses are wonderful. I’d love to know more about various strategies for drawing maps on the go, ways to keep the representation of place true enough without tracing. Is it just hand-eye skills or are there some rough measuring techniques that help?

  • Maria Lopes says:

    Hi! I have been following Liz since the beginning of the USK but I have never exchanged messages with you. I have also been following your Blog for years, via email, and have always found your work very inspiring. This time I decided to write to you for 2 reasons:
    I haven’t had a lot of time available but as soon as I can, I want to take your “Watercolors” Course because that’s where I need to train and learn.
    I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl, I love it, and I have no problems with that ?
    As you is now drawing Maps, I do not know if he knows this Site that I follow. It’s spectacular:
    Have a nice trip through your Australia and excellent drawings!
    See you soon, on your Blog,
    Maria Lopes https://www.instagram.com/maria.lopes.sketcher

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