The Project

Every designer seems to go through that phase where they want to unplug from their digital tools and get their hands dirty. Every designer except me, that is. Oh sure, I’ve had tons of fun with various map illustration and mixed-media art projects, but I do love me some cold, clinical Photoshop. What would I do without it?

No, seriously—what would I do without it? 16 years into my pro design career, could I make interesting images without the digital tool I use the most? To find out, I took on a fun project I called “March Mapness” that 1) indulged my trivial superpower of hand-drawn maps, 2) burnished my atrophying illustration skills, and 3) required daily time commitments of 2+ hours to do it well.

So, I asked my friends and family for help. They know I’m a hopeless map nerd, so I asked them to prompt me with enough requests for me to create one map per day, for all 31 days in March 2018. I made hand-illustrated map doodles for each person, enhanced the maps with phone apps like PS Express, then posted those images daily to Instagram under the #march_mapness hashtag.

It was a great exercise in limitation, restriction, and boundaries—what I can I create within these parameters? Like all the daily Instagram image challenges, some results were better than others, but the good ones are really good. See the whole collection here.

—Keir

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