Often a map’s last word is spoken at its printing. For artist Sam Hundley (http://samhundley.com), printing is just the beginning.
Hundley, a Virginia artist, enjoys working with mixed media. Starting with this 1996 edition of a National Geographic landform map, Hundley mixed ink and colored pencil to turn a staid map into a capricious editorial illustration.
To create the illustration, Hundley mentally oriented the map and imagined mapping the natural contours of boundaries and coastlines into the profile of a head. The Sierra Nevada mountains became tightly curled hair while the Appalachians formed a flowing beard.
[quote style=”1″]I had already begun working on this as a personal project when the nationwide flu epidemic reared its ugly head.[/quote]
Between the Atlantic and Pacific, Hundley added features like eyebrows, nose, ear, and facial lines using India ink. Then he colored areas of the map with Prismacolor pencils to add focal points to the illustration: the feverish red of the forehead and tip of the nose and the yellow, sickly eyes. The Great Lakes played host to a giant thermometer.
To complete the idea of an America sick with the flu, Hundley drew the stars and stripes like a curvy scarf.
[quote style=”1″]Then, right as this was being readied for publication, I came down with the flu! Horrible.[/quote]
There are many ways to cartographically convey the severity and breadth of an epidemic (see the CDC map below). Sam Hundley found that illustrating an existing map made a more convincing message.