For wedding anniversary gifts I tend to like to think in terms of “us” (rather than something for her, it’s something about the two of us together). One of the things I decided to do this year was to create an adventure map for all the big trips that my wife and I take. An adventure map is a visual representation, a journey through all of our favorite things from a specific place we’ve gone. It focuses not so much on actual geography but on the experiences we had. It tells the story of where we’ve been and what we’ve done. No better place to start than with New Zealand.
I started out mocking up a few things in a sketchbook just trying to get an idea of the layout. I drew out a few map elements, such as lion cubs, seals and a cave, and then drew a full map with a red pencil (the red map is what I actually presented to my wife on our anniversary, along with a little leather owl-shaped pouch and a box where we will keep all future maps). Why red you ask? What are you, the pencil police?
Since the map was going to be rendered on soft canvas paper, I needed to do a few ink checks as well as a few tests for character aging (trying ink, tea and ground espresso).
With this final draft finished, all that’s left is to size it up to a larger piece of canvas (it’s only…wait, how many months has it been since our anniversary? Ugh…) and we’ll have a nice reminder of one of our very first adventures. When you have a project like this going, it almost forces you to go out and do more, because no one wants just one little map sitting all by itself in a box. Adventure is out there!