Year of Creative Habits 2017: The Curious Cartographer

Jan 06

topographical-iceIt took a while for me to settle on this year’s creative habit. I first leaned towards a doll project. As a pushback against post-election ugliness, I wanted to do something that reminded me of childhood, something with an element of pretty, of sweet.

But, in the way of creative projects, signs revealed to me what I would do instead. Signs like ice at the edge of the beaver pond that Oskar and I cross almost daily. Ice that looks a bit like a topographical map.

If maps are on your mind. And guess what? They’ve been on my mind. Maps as a way of telling stories, maps as a way to remember, maps as family history and myth.

And so I am excited to embark on my 2017 Year of Creative Habits project: The Curious Cartographer*.

Here’s the goal: each week I’ll research and produce a map that tells a story from my life, my family history, world events, my imagination. To ensure my success, I’ve set up a weekly system, starting on Saturdays:

Day 1: Decide what story to map and decide on a map style.

Day 2: Determine any landmarks to be included and gather reference pictures. Make reference map if mapping actual places.

Day 3: Sketch landmarks.

Day 4: Draw map; add color.

Day 5: Add landmarks and any additional color

Day 6: Ink and letter.

What about day 7? I’m leaving myself a little wiggle room in case any of the drawing, inking, or lettering takes longer than I expect. My goal is to produce 52 maps this year, and I’m sure this system will change and be refined.

Want to see my first map?


You can follow my progress on Instagram–I’ll post every day using #curiouscartographer2017. And you can check out other Year of Creative Habits projects here.

Tell me about your creative projects for 2017, willya?





*Not drawn to scale.


  1. ah, this is a great project! Did you already plan out a number of the maps that you’ll do over the course of the year? I’m such a sucker for maps. I look forward to watching this over the course of the year!

  2. wow, Beverly – and very (very!) cool! I enjoyed seeing that first map evolve on Instagram and look forward to sharing more of your creative journey this year. (me, my creative project is to practice drawing – a la Danny Gregory – so far, all I’ve done is read about it 😉

  3. This is so cool. I love seeing what you’ve done so far on IG. You are an inspiration.

  4. Fascinating! That sounds interesting and fun, Beverly. I have a few creative projects in mind for the year, but nothing so structured or formal as yours. My watercolor class begins again this week, so I’ll just start there. Can’t wait to see your mapping unfold.

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