Things I do
I ask people to draw maps...
· Draw the World
· Draw Europe's nations
· Crowdsourced Continent maps
I make map cards:
· See map cards
· Buy map cards
And other things I write about:
· Little moments from travel
· London art & museums
· Football with foreign fans
· London shop geography
About this blog
I may have asked you to draw me a map - have a look around, they're all here somewhere.
About six weeks ago, I put some ads up in art shop noticeboards hoping to find people to draw maps. And happily a reply from Steve from Malta popped up.
I met him the other day and he drew this lovely map of Malta.
"Malta looks a bit like a fish," Steve told me. I'd never noticed it before, but Steve - who is an illustrator and designer - obviously has a good eye for detail. He has also put in the original Maltese names of the islands Comino and Gozo.
We spent a nice couple of hours talking design, London, accents, geography, Scotland, African fabric, and all sorts of other interesting things.
He has a great website here: http://www.leftylemur.com with some excellently interesting design projects.
So now the idea of a new map of Europe is taking shape - I've only eight more maps to collect, with 'leads' for several of them. But the tiniest are the trickiest: Andorra, San Marino, Monaco! I may have to take a trip.
(Things were a bit complicated: all these guys were Albanian, some of them from Kosovo. So I asked Baki from Kosovo (who is Albanian) to draw Kosovo, and Ladi who is Albanian to draw Albania...)
Both were part of a group celebrating a friends' birthday. I stayed with them a while and had a wide-ranging conversation about tourism in Albania, Serbian women, mad people in Ireland who support Nazis, the NHS and how the name Adrian is very international.
Later, I realised that one of the bar staff came from Czech Republic, so asked her to draw a map for me. Nikita's response was, "are you really serious?" but she drew this great map anyway.
In search of people to draw maps, I recently went to 72 Queensborough Terrace, a Latvian guesthouse and bar. There I met Gaļis who drew this map.
Gaļis was born in Liepāja where there are beautiful beaches. He has been living in London for 5 months, and wanted to practice his English, so we chatted for a while.
"You are most welcoming to stay," he said, encouraging me to spend a very fun/random evening, which included the following:
- A man who was considering visiting friends in Kyrgyzstan
- A man conducting anthropological experiments. I took part - he asked me to stare into my eyes in a mirror for 10 minutes. Weird.
- A strawberry cider called Fizz!
- Latvian versions of Cabaret and Those Were the Days with satirical political lyrics.
- A woman sat next to me. She told me that so many times others had tried to "con-queer Latvia". But she didn't let it bother her.
- I spent an hour talking to a man called Zinters who had fled Latvia after World War 2 to go to what he assumed was a safer Germany. From there, he was moved to England in a government guest worker scheme, working first in Yorkshire, then in Scotland. During the 1950s, he moved to Dublin, trained at the Royal College of Surgeons, worked as a brain surgeon, but eventually moved back to London. Later, he spent time in Uganda working under Idi Amin, left there, retrained to be a radiologist and eventually settled in Mansfield. Wow.
- One of the final things Zinters said to me was, "Ireland: it's for the Irish, but Britain: it's for everyone".