I love books that include maps. I think a lot of people do. Maps allow us to envision the world in which the book takes place and help us follow the journeys of the characters. Maps bring us one step closer to the story.
Much of SANCTUM takes place in a vast, walled, dark city, and the characters travel all over it before the story's through. That alone was enough reason for me to want a map of the place, but there's another: Malachi, the Captain of the Guard, draws a map on the wall of his quarters. So I decided I wanted a map to reflect THAT map. His map.
CARTOGRAPHER'S GUILD. And through that site, I discovered Luka Rejec, who not only made me an absolutely amazing map that will grace the first few pages of SANCTUM, but who also agreed to come here today and answer a few questions:
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into mapmaking.
Well ... where to start ... I'm a bit of a jack-of-all trades, really. I work mostly as an illustrator and designer, but I'm also working on my studies as an anthropologist and always look for ways to expand my horizons and experience - maps and fantasy lands are something of a natural extension and a great hobby of mine. It all really started with fifth grade English in Dar es Salaam, where we had a teacher who read us the entire Hobbit. I fell in love with the story, the imaginary journey and of course the maps. It's been a pursuit of mine ever since - a real hobbit hobby, though thankfully I haven't ended up looking like a hobbit myself.
Is there any particular style or type of map you really enjoy creating?
Well, yes - hand-drawn maps in an old or illustrative style are my favourite, idiosyncratic maps as well. Basically maps that go beyond just representing a landscape, but that also seek to convey atmosphere and feeling. But I'm not picky, really, in the end, a map that is functional and aesthetic - and that I enjoyed making - is a good map for me!
If an author wants a map for her book, what should she do?
If an author wants a map for her book, I would really suggest she has a look at the cartographer's guild! It's this crazy little forum full of people that enjoy making maps, particularly fantasy maps, in all kinds of different styles. Just google it - it's not hard to find!
One thing I personally love is to collaborate with an author, so that the map grows organically to fit the style and mood of the work. I feel that every map does more than just serve as a road-map for a literary work - it has to "fit" in somehow.
*Note from Sarah: I couldn't agree more about the Cartographer's Guild. The talent on display there is phenomenal, and the members are so enthusiastic about their--and their fellow cartographers'--work. They are also very helpful and friendly to newcomers.
Talk about the process for making this particular map.
Oof ... the process for this map. This one was very long, starting with a lot of discussions with Sarah (fun conversations, by the way!). With this map, of a huge fantasy city (it measures about 60km on a side), there were massive issues of scale to address - basically, we decided to create the illustrations to represent the in-story work of one of the characters. The in-story map covered a whole wall, so to approach that I simulated the tools and resources that would have been available to the characters - pens and paper, lots of paper, that I then stitched together on the computer, to keep the hand-made feel. In fact, the final map can print out to approximately wall-size, about 3 x 3 meters.
*Note from Sarah: I am contemplating wallpapering my office with this thing. The level of detail is rather astounding.
However, we also realized as we were discussing the map that it's not a precise map of the city, since the character making it doesn't have access to precise measurement tools and equipment, rather it's a rough guide to a mutating, shifting city, with notes and sketches of important landmarks to help him move around. In fact, more than a map, I've come to think of it as a complex visual archive, a history of the guards of the Dark City on a wall, if you will.
Did I mention I had great fun working with Sarah on this? I did. Really great to work with.
*Note from Sarah (who is blushing): One of the reasons I chose Luka for this commission is that he approached the project so analytically (very much like Malachi would). Also, he didn't just offer to do something he'd done before; he created the style of the map to precisely fit my vision and what made sense for the character.
Are you open to commissions?
Of course I'm open to commissions :) - but the more time there is in advance to plan and design the work, the better - and more fitting - the work can be. But, well, as noted - I have my preferred styles and for more artists, the Cartographer's Guild is a good place (and some of the guys there are just amazing. Seriously).
Where can we find you on the web?
Umm ... you can find me all over the web, but my basic portfolio site is at http://lukarejec.com, while my regular, every-day living-drawing blog is at http://prekomorec.blogspot.com. They're probably the easiest way to find me. I also frequent DeviantArt now and again, dabble in some Pinterest, hate some Twitter, am on Facebook, and - of course - the Cartographer's Guild.
Thanks, Luka! I am so excited about this map. We had a phenomenal response to it at BEA, and there are only a few left! I'm going to be giving them away over the next few weeks and months. The map will be in the final book and on my website in a few weeks, but this version is special :)
|Another sneak peek!|
What do you think of maps in books? When are they particularly helpful or enjoyable? What kind of style do you like the best? Would you ever commission a map for one of your works? Had you heard of the Cartographer's Guild before today? Also--Luka will stop by later, so if you have a question for him, let him know!
Remember--one commenter today will win an ARC of SANCTUM and one of the maps of the dark city! I'll announce the winner next Monday!