X does not mark the spot

Did you ever draw a pirate map when you were a kid?

I was transported back to childhood doing this project and thoroughly enjoyed it.  When I was a kid my favourite books were the ones with a map of a mythical world in the front of the book.  You knew it was going to be a good story if they started out with an unfamiliar map full of strange place names, hinting at adventures to come.

I started by stamping the quote on a mottled parchment paper and then masked off the edges of the paper and stamped various travel words from the Steampunk Travel and Steampunkery sets with Adirondack Pesto ink.  I took the mask off and drew a sketchy border around the masked area then carefully covered over the quote and splashed the stamped words with water.  Adirondack dye ink bleeds when wet, so the words became blurred and patchy.  It needed to look more worn so I decided to add some distress inks and set to with Bundled Sage, Old Paper and Antique Linen – all pretty subtle colours.  I may have added a hint of Brushed Corduroy as well.

I distressed the edges and crumpled the paper around the border before adding stronger colours and water.  While wet, I rubbed a Rusty Hinge distress pad over the creases and misted with more water then when that was dry, I flicked droplets of Distress Stain and water over it quite liberally.

This evolved over several evenings as I kept putting it aside to dry and coming back to it.  I began to pick out splodges and draw round them with a fine liner to create islands.  I used Copic markers to add a  blue line around the outside edge of each island and an ochre tone to the inside edge of each island.   I used Copics as a water based marker of any kind would have blended the Distress colours on the paper more, but Copics or Promarkers won’t move water soluble pigments around.  Some of the larger ones got some little mountains on them too, then I came up with the idea of a sea monster.

I dug out an old stamp set – Here be Dragons – and applied a little masking tape before stamping him (I practised on scrap paper first to get it right).  I then drew in little waves around the masked line and coloured him in lightly with pencils.  I think he makes quite a convincing sea monster.

This is a treasure map, but you won’t find an X on it anywhere.  The real treasure is in the words – a super quote from Steampunk Travel by Mark Twain (hence the American spelling).  It’s got me inspired to create another map with place names on it now – Embellishment Bay, Bling City, Distressville … hmmm, I can see lots of potential here…  So what would the treasure on your map be?

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8 thoughts on “X does not mark the spot

  1. Wow Glenda, what a clever project. I still love those kinds of books with mysterious lands and adventure and your map certainly captures that. The dragon looks fab as a sea monster too
    Claire xx

  2. Oh that is indeed so evocative! Adventures will happen! You also get the feeling that it was fun to do.

    I do like that you tell us in quite a lot of useful detail how you created your masterpieces….
    Thank you!

  3. Oh dear…. now look what you’ve done!! I LOVE your dragon!!!! …. GOT to have it, (thank you Glenda!)

    I’ll just mosey over to get ’em….

  4. This is a very imaginative idea and it has come out beautifully – love it – certainly captures the imagination. Clever to use the dragon as a sea monster too.

  5. I’m very fortunate to have seen this IRL, it is lovely. The worn and shabby colours are perfect for the project. The dragon makes a very convincing sea monster, and the words are just so apt. Judith xx

  6. I loved reading how this developed & the way you created those islands. The little sea monster looks super in his bit of sea. The ageing looks so authentic & I love your idea of the place names you mention. I think the treasure on my map would have to be a whole chest of the Adirondack Dye & Pigment inkpads!
    Paula (PEP)

  7. Glenda what a treasure your little map is love it, lots of techniques and love the monster. Your other idea sounds great as well. Suexxx

  8. Your map is a real treasure Glenda and I love reading about how it evolved. I have to say your dragon stamp makes a great sea monster

    Jackie x

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