Let’s Make Maps!


In the spirit of my motto “Be Memorable” I just got back from The Hive Conference in Berlin where I rocked my map skirt my parents sweetly got me for my birthday.  I get so many compliments on it, that I wanted to give a proper shout out to RoobyLane, the UK Etsy shop where you can order it (she also has ones with transit map fabric!). I love the skirt, but it’s also the perfect PR tactic to be like, “by the way I’m teaching a Map Making class on Skillshare.”

Speaking of my class round 2 starts today (now with 1,000+ students!). Skillshare – the platform where it is hosted – has made a few updates since I last taught so I just wanted to write a quick post to clarify a few things.

  • When you sign up for any Skillshare class (and there are TONS of awesome ones, I’ve taken 8 already!) you have lifetime access to the lectures and resources.
  • No need to take the class again, once you sign up, you’re always in! The lectures are the same, but you may notice a few updates to the platform. From here on, you can sign up anytime, as it will be ongoing.
  • The way I’m running it this time, is that for the next 3 weeks I’ll be giving feedback, and then the class will truly become student led. (The more feedback you give to classmates, the more you’ll receive).
  • You won’t get yelled at for not doing your homework + you can take the class at your own pace. Originally I designed it to be 3 weeks, but it’s really up to you. I will be giving feedback for the first few weeks as a little extra incentive to get into gear.
  • I don’t care how old you are, if you know Photoshop (Gimp is free!), if you have any special software, or are a register student in a university. Skillshare is open to everyone and anyone, and I’ve designed my class to work for all levels + have shared a ton of resources to help you learn new skills, if you want. You don’t even have to use a computer for your assignments if you don’t want. Hint: The first assignment is hand drawn maps!
  • If you have friends who want to sign up, send them the link: http://skl.sh/11RQ8Ig. You’ll meet new people, but recruiting friends can also be a great way to stay on the ball.
  • Like most Skillshare classes, my class only costs $20. If you’re reading this closely, then congrats, use the code HIGHFIVE for $5 off until the coupons run out.

I posted about some of my favorite student projects from when I taught the class last winter. So creative! You can also browse the latest project boards on Skillshare.

P.S. To accessorize my RoobyLane map skirt, I am wearing a Julia Rothman orange Tattly watch + a boat from the Tattly Nautical set! More Tattlys here. Thanks to Lauren Lou Bate for snapping the pic. YAY!

Check out my Instagram today for some more cool map inspiration or my Make a Map Pinterest board! You can expect an influx of maps on my Twitter + Facebook as well.

I’m Teaching Maps on Skillshare!

Since the beginning this site has always been about the intersection of travel + design and I’m excited to announce another direction I’m taking this idea. For the past couple months I’ve been talking to Skillshare – an awesome platform for taking online (and sometimes in person) classes. They essentially gave me the guidelines to come up with my dream class, and so that’s what I did.

My class is called Map Design: Learn to Communicate Places Beautifully. I was inspired by my own way of travel where I don’t want to carry around a bulky guidebook, I like to see things on a map (in the past I have walked crazy distances having no clue places were not close at all), and getting advice from local experts. I designed the map of the Canal St. Martin area of Paris as just one of a million possibilities of what you could create in this class. (Computer + design skills NOT required!!).

So here’s how it works:

  1. You sign up! (All Skillshare classes are totally affordable!)
  2. This class is perfect if you want to chart your latest travels, are planning a wedding/event and need a map, host guests in your home a lot, or just love your own neighborhood and want to map it. It’s open to all levels, ages and stages. Enthusiasm + eagerness to learn will get you far!
  3. The class is structured into 3 units:  Hand Drawn Maps + Concepting, Mapping in the Digital Age + Alternative Guides, and Office Hours (Q&A and Google Hangouts with me + your classmates).
  4. Knowing people have really busy lives, I’ve structured it so that both of the lectures come early in the 3 week online class. They’ll be pre-recorded and you can watch them whenever you have a chance. That gives you more time to work on your final project: a travel/map of the place + theme of your choosing.
  5. Both of the main lectures will have mini exercises to help get you thinking about mapping in a new way. They are designed to encourage you to disconnect from your computer, and realize that even great maps can be imperfect. You share your work with your classmates along the way, which is an awesome way to get you thinking about all the different ways you can approach the same design challenge.
  6. Work on your final projects, which can be print or digital. During the lectures I’ll share tons of examples, talk about format, and give you ideas so you can create your own map(s) for however you want it. And if there’s anything you still have questions about, you can just ask. It’s a highly collaborative environment and your classmates are awesome resources too.
  7. All while you’re learning you’re interacting and checking in with the progress of your classmates. You can create “groups” too for people working on projects similar to yours. I’ve taken a couple classes through Skillshare now and have even made some great professional contacts. There some awesome people around you, so make the most of it!
  8. Awards! As part of the incentive to stay on task, the top 10 maps created in class will be shared on Prêt à Voyager! I’m trying to cook up some other awesome rewards, but you’ll just have to sign up to see where that goes.
  9. Even if your life gets kind of hectic during the time of the class, you’ll still have access to the information even after the technical last day of class. The idea too is the skills + resources you pick up in this class will stick with you and you can apply to any future projects or maps.
  10. More info on the class here.

I’ve taken a handful of Skillshare classes now and I find they’re the perfect excuse to actually DO the projects I’ve been thinking about for ages. If you want to to sign up for my class you can do it here. Skillshare has TONS of awesome classes you should check out regardless – anything from logo design to designing web apps to food photography or how to make the perfect meatball, and with some of the coolest teachers around! Check out all the Skillshare classes here! (And they’re constantly adding new ones).

Any questions? Just leave them in the comments below, or tweet me @pretavoyager!

UPDATE: I’ve created a Google map of all the students signed up here. More than 10 countries around the world + counting!

P.S. Look at the map in this post for 10 seconds + tell me what you see :)

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