four favorite maps of imaginary places

As I mentioned yesterday, I am currently wrestling with creating the first “real” maps of Kekionga.  Some will be for my own use in planning future stories and/or shoehorning them into canon, but one will be the centerpiece of the introduction for Junkyard Moon.  I’m hardly the first creator to do this, and all day I’ve been happily looking at other maps of non existent places both for inspiration and for plain old pleasure.  Here are four of my favorites.map of the hundred acre woodThis is my very, very favorite of all imaginary maps and one of the very first images from a book that I remember clearly.  I loved Winnie the Pooh as a small child, not just for the silly and memorable characters, but for the word play and most especially for this map.  The idea that somebody had made up a place and there was a map of it just astounded me.  As an adult and a storyteller, this map astounds me even more. E.H. Shepard was a genius illustrator and an absolute master of pen and ink.  This map, with its combination of cartography and drawing and simple lettering, remains a model of everything a work of quotidian fantasy should be.

map of the shireA classic, and notable for being drawn by the author himself: J.R.R. Tolkien’s own map of part of the Shire.  I like the textures here, and the lettering with its serifs and changes of direction.  It’s strong and simple and makes no claims to artistic brilliance, but it’s a truthful hand drawn map.  A good example of the fantasy map as infographic.map of kensington gardens-little white bird“A Child’s Map of Kensington Gardens”, part of J.M. Barrie’s novel The Little White Bird.  Arthur Rackham illustrated the book and I presume he drew the map as well.  I’m not a huge Barrie fan, but I discovered this map about 15 years ago in a biography of the author I was reading for another project, and fell in love with it.  I like the decorations and the fitted lettering, and particularly the little notes and illustrations.  The map of Kekionga will probably be mostly little notes and illustrations, rather than things like straight lines and accurate scales.map of arrakisFinally, the map of polar Arrakis from most editions of Frank Herbert’s Dune, but not, apparently from any of the ones I remember.  This map was recommended by Wolfie, and it is a beauty.  More serious cartographically than any of the others, it’s easy to imagine it being drawn by a scientist with training as a draftsman. (“While crouched over a flat stone in a dry cave under the light of a suspensor lamp” as Wolfie so atmospherically speculates.) But there is still a hint of romance in it.  “20 thumpers to the Palmaries of the South” …

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2 Responses to four favorite maps of imaginary places

  1. Fran Lewis says:

    If you can get your hands on a copy of The Dictionary of Imaginary places by Alberto Manguel, you will find a lot of great maps to look at. It’s great fun to page through.

  2. Pam Bliss says:

    Hi, Fran! Thanks for the tip. It sounds like an amazing book, and I will definitely look it up. My own map is going pretty well, and I hope I’ll have something to show everyone over the weekend.

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