Over my winter break, I received Personal Geographies by Jill Berry in the mail. Even though I haven't had a chance to work through the projects yet, I thought that I would share my initial thoughts on the book.
In a quick flip through the book, I felt that the book was just full of different map-type projects that you could do and examples from different artists. None of the projects stood out for me, so I made the mistake of putting it on my shelf for when I wanted to try out a project.
When I finally decided to pick the book up again, I slowly started reading through it from the beginning. That was when I noticed the REAL gems of the book. But before I get into that, let me share an overview of Personal Geographies.
First, there is the initial introductory chapter. It discusses types and parts of the map, with tips on designing a compass rose and cartouche.
The rest of the book is separated into three chapters with 5-8 projects in chapter.
Chapter 1: Mapping the Self
Chapter 2: Mapping Your Experience
Chapter 3. Plans, Projections and Possibilities
As you can tell from the chapter names, they are primarily about looking into your self. Past, present, and future as well as both mentally and physically.
Each chapter is full of projects that are clearly written and accompanied with step by step pictures. Through out the book, you will find examples of the projects from other artists as well.
The gems of the book were the stories and inspiration. Not only did the author explain her map projects with the stories that brought them about, she also took the time to share what inspired her to create the project. The inspiration could have been a quote, a specific map, an artist, or even a conversation.
Another little gem was the artwork and stories from other artists. Every piece had a story attached to it to that the artist had written to explain their map. Some short and sweet, while some others were long and engaging. What ever the case, there were plenty of different perspectives for even more inspiration.
If you are looking for a book on making traditional maps, this isn't exactly it. But if you are looking to make variations of maps, want to look more into yourself, or just love to read stories of other peoples lives - then I recommend you look into this book.
I think that I will be trying out some of these projects fairly soon.
The Book Project is an ongoing project to put my collection of art and craft books to good use by working through them. You can read more about it here. I would also love to hear if you are working through your books as well or would like to join me!