A Cartograph Essay

I remember when the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out. The first thing I did after exiting the movie theater was to ask my mom if we could go to the book store, so I could buy the books and proudly read them all. Unfortunately, I was never much of a reader, and after getting through of page of Tolkien prose it was everything I could do to keep myself awake.

And yet, it wasn’t all a waste. The map of middle-earth was something that I found endlessly fascinating. Here I was, not only looking at a new world, but looking at little mountains, hills, rivers, and forests. Beyond being a clear, accurate representation of Tolkien’s world, it was everything a map should be; it was a work of art. Every so often, I still pull out those unread books, just so I can look at the maps.

Real-world maps will seldom be escapist works of art, and that’s why I decided to get into map-making myself. So far, I’ve drawn Britain, Australia, and Iceland, trying to capture the same wonder that a map of Middle-Earth or Westeros might inspire.



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Issue 5

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