Illustrative maps are often those we naturally gravitate towards as pieces of art precisely because that’s their primary objective. Rather than being documents we navigate by or from which we recover information and interpret some statistical pattern in data, they exist simply to engage. Done well, illustrative maps are beautiful pieces of artistic work. There are few people who make pictorial maps a centerpiece of their work but artist and illustrator Katherine Baxter loves maps.
Baxter’s fascination with aerial views of the world has given her a focus for many of her illustrations. They have appeared in countless media, newspapers, magazines and books as illustrations, demonstrating a mastery of the axonometric projection. The axonometric is a perfect way to illustrate urban environments since it preserves scale across the entire image. Her work often details architectural detail and this example of Saville Row, London, for Cream magazine shows the attention to detail that makes her work exquisite.
The majority of buildings are depicted as boots, jackets or other tailored items indicative of the Saville Row proprietors. Street and store labels are delightfully drawn, some as clothing labels but all at perfect angles in line with the overall composition. The gardens are shown as a piece of material with chalked out lines and tailor’s scissors. Even the north arrow is made from neck ties.
It’s a delightful illustration and typical of the style Baxter has perfected and which she demonstrates in a wide range of her maps. Art meets Carte and proof positive that illustrators can find a rich seam of work in basing their work on maps to create maps.
More of Baxter’s work can be seen on her web site here.