Map illustrators are usually driven by ideas. They can draw a fantastic cityscape illustration that frequently looks familiar and at other times, foreign. Through years of experience of honing the craft, map illustrators have learned to express their creative visions in the form of elaborate compositions that boast of meticulous details.
Many of illustrator Jon Juarez’s works were based on real places but with a surreal twist that takes a viewer out of the realm of possibility. For example, an ordinary cityscape can feature streets that morph into a bustling waterfall or tranquil scenes that are flanked by unidentified polygons casting a watching eye over inhabitants. Each cityscape is made alluring through delicate lines and the use of colour.
Juarez is a self-taught illustrator who understands the value of hard work even if there are times when his drawing does not go according to plan. This is feeling that every artist shares. They want the drawing to have a life of its own and yet people try to take it down and bring out the worst from the artist.
Artists learn from the worst experiences. When a project does not perform as expected, Juarez figures out a way to fix it and the whole process becomes a lesson. Drawing like writing, music and movement is a tool of thinking. Drawing supports text or works according to text.
Years ago, when Juarez had an idea, he could not convince anyone to draw it so he tried to master the tool. He spent 10 years learning to draw and at the end, he was able to professionalize the learning. When someone asks about his work, they refer to the illustrations that were made public on his website. Even when dealing with commissions, he tries to be practical and sorts it out as quickly as possible to hold on to something.
Creating a traditional map is a matter of marking major elements and roadways. Creating a cityscape illustration is a form of art. The artist hand-draws a true representation of a city through carefully rendered details and adds elements that will bring life to the place.