I’m a fan of the NBC television show Parks and Recreation. I’m also a fan of park maps because they try to graphically synthesize fun stuff, like playgrounds and softball fields.
Park maps are a microcosm of illustrative techniques. They can push Adobe Illustrator and a computer’s CPU and GPU to the redline.
In this map of a sports complex, we used gradient mesh, transparency, and a patterned fill to soften the hard edges and uniform color fills of Illustrator shapes. Our goal was to precisely map features like soccer fields, portray them in recognizable forms, and keep the illustration visually alive and interesting.