Perhaps it's never finished, you just... stop.
What a year it has been!
It began with the completion of the map, and now it closes with prints on the brink of a presale release. That's right, you did read that correctly - it's finally happening! At long last, the prints are going on presale in about three weeks time, around the second week of January 2020. The preorder period will run for two months, before printing and shipping begins in March with a wider release.
I’m communicating about prints most with my email list, so if you’re not on the list and want to know as soon as prints are available, be sure to sign up here.
So with the map almost on sale and the year winding up, I've been reflecting on 2019 a lot. I wrote a reflection on the year but it's too long for a single blog. Instead, I think I'll release it in chunks. So here's the first part.
This entry goes back to the early part of the year, with the final completion of the map, its very detailed cartouche, what it actually felt like to sign off in that final moment, and the all-important final scan.
Placed in the Bermuda triangle, it took 150 hours to draw. Given the scale and detail of the map, I felt the cartouche had to do it justice. I wanted it to be emblematic of the project. Plus, I needed a place for the title, and somewhere to sign and date it. But it's very hard to sum up a project that dominated your life for years. If you've been lost wandering its trees for that long, how do you now describe the forest?
North America: Portrait of a Continent sits across the top, with a colour grade of Earth tones. The design of the cartouche is exactly that: a portrait of North America. A mini map, same projection, is surrounded by a frame of dense detail. Unlike the endless content of the map proper, the mini map allows North America to simply be. Just coastlines, land cover, faint urban sprawls and bathymetry.
Completing the map, once and for all
Luckily I didn't have to return to Sydney, an amazing photographer in Melbourne, Justin Cooper, came to the rescue. We created a mount for the map, attaching it to the wall to keep it flat and parallel to the lens. Justin’s camera was on a stand that he slid down and across to capture the map in 25 separate frames. We timed every exposure to have the same intervals, to keep the flash refresh rate consistent. Justin is amazing!
Using Photomerge on Photoshop the frames were stitched together. The result was almost seamless and so finally, after years of work, I was presented with an enormous and beautiful capture of the map.
Having that file is amazing, and gives me so much peace of mind, but it has also opened up new possibilities for procrastination…
I'll leave it there for now! I'll be posting the next segment of my year reflection soon, and the print news will keep coming to those on the email list.
Until then, I'll leave you with the following video. I gave this talk at the NACIS conference in Tacoma in October, and I'm really excited to share it. It's my most personal talk yet, and I open up about the completion of the map, the journey to releasing prints, creativity and obsession, and the psychological experience of drawing one map for 5 years. I hope you enjoy:
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