Mapmaker, Mapmaker

This is a really small part of Unicorn City, but I’m really proud of it. It’s a map of the world where the play is set, complete with dragons (although the here where they be is a bit closer than most medieval maps), mines, a canyon (that’s shaped like a belly button), and so on.

Map of Coventra, the world of Unicorn City

Aging the paper was pretty simple; I soaked it in tea and let it dry. I actually treated it a second time, with soda, because I initially wanted it to be a bit darker; I don’t think it got any darker but I also don’t mind anymore.

Drawing on it was trickier — I wanted to replicate writing with quill and ink without those materials. I tried using paint at first, and it worked fine for the outline of the land, but trying to write the text was completely impossible. (I’m no painter, and I didn’t have anything close to the tools that would make it legible.) You can see the remnants of those attempts in a couple of places, which I don’t mind much—I think I can pass them off as more wear.

I would up getting some watercolor pencils for the drawing, which proved really lucky—I’ve never used them before and only saw them once, but they gave a nice soft but legible effect. In some places I wet the paper first and then drew, others I drew and then wet; I think I like the former better.

After that, there were waterspots all over, but just around the features that I’d drawn in, which looked pretty terrible. I soaked the entire thing in plain water and let it dry, which solved that problem. (I did make a small tear in the map doing that, but again, it just makes it look more authentically old.)

All of this is for a “prop” that isn’t even going to be in the show. But it will be hanging on the wall as people enter, hopefully adding some nice atmosphere. And when the show is done, it’s definitely going on my wall.

 

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