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How To Draw An Illustrated Map Part 5: Putting decorative details on the cartouche

This week: get down and dirty with the details of the title block (or cartouche!) and find out how to nail those decorative elements when drawing your own illustrated map. The accompanying Youtube video for this blog also releases today, so check that out here, and if you want some other inspiration for your title block, have a look at my pinterest board, here.

This is part 5 in my 'How to map' series, a series of blogs teaching you how you can draw your very own illustrated map.

To read part 4 which teaches you how to draw a basic compass rose, click here

To read how to make shapes look 3d (for beginners), click here



A sheet of sketched shapes drawn from antique maps. It includes things like frames, curlicues, and arches
A sheet of inspiration for adding flourishes to a map title block (cartouche)


As I mentioned in part one, one of the things you might like to include in the decoration are personal details. It's a good idea to make a list of everything you want to include, and then rough out where you want those things to go. Make sure you balance the elements and try not to put everything on one side.

A rough sketch of a heart shaped title block, and a list of elements I want to include in it
My list of elements I want to include, and a rough drawing showing how I used the basic shape and the text to draw a new shape


A really good thing to do is to add shapes that you can use in the title block to the image bank in your head. To do this, look at lots of different maps, and draw elements that you like from them. The inspiration sheet above is just lots of the elements that I liked from the title blocks on my Pinterest board.


You can now start to put part one and two together:

  1. Rough out the text and look at its shape

  2. List the elements you want to include

  3. Decide how you want the title block to feel

  4. Rough out the basic shape

  5. Use the rough to create the shape you actually want, using the shape of the text as a guide

  6. Draw your own sheet of inspiration, so you have shapes to refer to

  7. Add these shapes and flourishes to the rough drawing, making sure you leave space for all of the elements you want to include (rough these in too)

  8. Make sure to have fun and play with it!

  9. Pick up your pen, and start to draw in the lines you want to keep (then rub out the lines you don't)

  10. Voila! You have a cartouche


Next time on the blog, I'll be guiding you through how to make and layout the actual body of your illustrated map.

As always, thanks for reading!


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