BOARDING PASS – Marisa Seguin

I’m almost positive that I first came across the work of Canadian illustrator Marisa Seguin after spotting one of her illustrated maps – likely the Paris one. I love her fun style, that give a sense of the place without having to show the city as a geographically perfect rendition. In fact, Marisa is in Europe at the moment (hence her Etsy shop is briefly closed), and you can follow along with her travels on Instagram. Enjoy a look into all her travels below! Thanks, Marisa! –Anne

meThat one time I captained a ship….

home town: 
Vancouver, BC

where you live now: 
Milwaukee, WI
Left: Our beautiful art museum, Right: My favorite building in Milwaukee

last trip taken: 
Quick trip to Portland over New Years with my sister. It was 50% to stay at this amazing hotel and also because neither of us had visited this city before. It was a great trip full of tons of delicious food and cute neighborhoods. I’d love to visit again in the summertime.

next trip on deck:
Europe in June! Aside from Italy in high school and a bit of London, I haven’t explored much of Europe before. (If you have any advice or suggestions please feel free to leave me a comment!)
one place you would go back to again and again: 
Mayne Island, BC. A family friend has a cabin there and we would visit during the summer when I was a kid. I’d spend all day long on the rocky beach. It’s the kind of place where time stops for awhile. (Plus, I love any excuse to take the ferry somewhere.)
place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit: 
I may be a tad biased, but Vancouver! The perfect mix of city and nature. Plenty of beautiful sights to see, delicious food to eat, and cultural experiences to be had.
vancouver1vancouver2vancouver3I grew up about 40 minutes from downtown. This view is a 20 minute walk from my house and I miss it every day!

preferred method of transportation: 
Catbus…….but since that’s not really possible I love exploring on foot. It’s so easy to wander and get lost just walking around. You have the freedom to look up, down, and all around and also have the opportunity to interact with interesting people!
badlandsBadlands National Park, South Dakota
frontenacChâteau Frontenac, Québec City

place you’ve never been but dying to go: 
Paris. I am a total francophile and cannot wait to visit in June!
place you’d never go back:
Wall Drug Store, South Dakota. Not my kind of kitsch coupled with the worst piece of pie I’ve ever eaten made for a pretty loathsome experience. (And my pie standards are pretty low. I love pie.)

most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
Italy in high school. Surrounded by everything I had read about in books.basilicapiazzaI really had a great sense of style in high school…

how do you prepare for a trip?
Asking friends for recommendations and scoping out blogs. I usually make a list of a few must-visits (my “non-negotiables”) for the trip and then loosely plan around those. (The non-negotiables for the upcoming Europe trip are Barcelona, Bruges, and this David Bowie exhibit). I don’t like things to be too fastidiously planned because it usually just leads to stress and disappointment if not everything is accomplished. Go with the flow! It’s usually the things you stumble upon that are the most memorable.
stlouisSt. Louis: Part of City Museum, one of the coolest places I have ever visited.

how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
Way too many photos of food and some sketches
A few sketches over breakfast in Memphis

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place? 
I love photographing the view from the tallest places. I love going to the “top”—finding the tallest landmark to get a great view of the city. I especially love it if this involves climbing a lot of ancient stairs.
View from the top of the bell tower, Venice
empireTimes Square from the top of the Empire State Building

on an average, how many pictures do you take on a trip? 
Depending on the duration of the trip, it can be anywhere from 50 to 200+
Somewhere in Corning, NY

what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
Sketchbook (my friend Abi introduced me to book journals, which I love), ballpoint pens, Canon point and shoot camera, iphone, headphones.
what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
I usually blog and create a few illustrations. This can happen anywhere from the weekend after to two months depending on how lazy I am.

I’m saving the Madeline one for my Europe trip!

favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
I’m always looking for beautifully illustrated children’s books. I think my love for Paris is eclipsed only by my love for books and I always make sure to check out a few book stores whenever I travel (I had to mail myself three boxes of books from Portland).

what’s your favorite place to visit in a new city? 
I love visiting the public markets. They’re always such a hub of activity and culture.
Pike Place, Seattle

best piece of travel advice?
Ask the locals where to eat! (And if they have any recommendations for what to order.)

Obligatory out the window shot


BOARDING PASS is a regular column exploring the creative ways people see the world and record their travels.

P.S. I’m teaching MAP MAKING again on Skillshare! Sign up anytime :)

A Map of the World According to Illustrators & Storytellers

mapoftheworld-bygestalten-coverOne day this winter I received a package. I wasn’t expecting a package, which made the thrill that much more exciting. Had you been here when I opened it, you would have seen a giant grin like a kid in a candy store, but I’m not a kid anymore, and maps are my candy.

Then I came to the realization that not only do I have awesome friends – like Rebecca Silus, aka Field Office – who think to send me sweet gifts like this because they know me so well, but I have the kind of friends who are doing awesome things too. In fact, Rebecca’s name is in the back of the book – she wrote the project descriptions – making it that much more special

mapoftheworld-bygestaltenThe book is A Map of the World According to Illustrators & Storytellers published by the German publisher Gestalten (if you order from them you get a free poster!). It’s the kind of book that you want on your coffee table. Every time I pick it up I notice new places, recognize new artists, like new things and discover new illustrators. Even though I’m a designer, I don’t consider myself an illustrator, yet feel like there is so much inspiration each time I turn the page. It’s a refreshing change from Google Maps, with far more personality, and shows the ways maps can display information. You can read more + see more about the book on Brainpickings.

Rebecca sent it to me at the perfect time, just as the Skillshare MAP MAKING class I was teaching was wrapping up. I was glad I hadn’t seen it until the end, otherwise my head really would have been spiraling out of control with ideas. It was the perfect way to bookmark class. Speaking of which, I’m happy to announce that Skillshare is having me back to teach!

My MAP MAKING class will soon be an ongoing class you can take any time. It starts May 28th, and I’ll be active in the classroom for the first three weeks (incentive to work on your projects!). In case you missed it, here’s what students created in the first round of class. I cannot wait to see what comes out of the next group!

If you know anyone who may be interested in taking the class, please share this link:  It’s open to all ages (yes, kids too), levels and stages, with no experience or software required. It’s only $20 and once you sign up, you’ll have access to the classroom forever! Plus you meet some pretty great people too.

Thanks again, Rebecca!

P.S. If you’re in Paris, ARTAZART bookstore along Canal Saint Martin is having Gestalten month celebrating visual culture, and they have this book in stock :)

Find me on Instagram + Twitter! And sign up to take maps on Skillshare!

Skillshare: Best of Maps!

I had the coolest group of 731 students from 34 countries on all 5 continents in the Skillshare Map Making class I taught in March. There were so many projects I loved, and many students are still working on theirs (you have access even after class ends), but today’s post is to share a handful of my favorite, most memorable and intriguing projects to help spark your imagination! UPDATE: The class is now ongoing and you can sign up anytime!

Image above: Phil Francis‘s morning commute on a banana! “This is my hand drawn map of my journey to work; drawn on a banana.  It is inspired by linear maps and your average train route map. I’ve tried to annotate the map with the things of interest along the way, and also the timings (minutes from home) and the transport mode. Why the banana? Well simply I had it to hand (I was on my commute) and I’ve always loved the way a biro writes onto banana skin – if you haven’t tried it I highly recommend it! :)”. More on Phil’s project board.

Image above: In class I made the point that maps did not have to be of real places. Kate Leroux’s Civica Island made me smile. Her little descriptions are quite clever. Read more on her project page.

Image above: I was so excited when Katrina Emery signed up for my class. Needle and Compass is her blog and Etsy shop where she sells embroidered maps. Her final project was a map of Portland’s bridges: ” I kept it at a gray/blue color scheme to reflect the lovely Portland weather, and kept the background map pretty simple with just major streets. I also chose not to emphasize the river, other than the bridges going over the empty space. I really loved taking a closer look at the bridges in my city–now I feel like I can recognize and name them better, as well as actually knowing where I am! I guess if that’s the ultimate goal of a map, then I call this project successful.” Read more about her project on her blog and Skillshare project page.

Image above: Make sure you take a look at the fine print of Philip FitzGerald’s High Line map (with Vignelli inspired graphic standards). It’s an entertaining twist on what looks like a city-issued map. Read more on his project page.

Image above: This map of “The World as I Knew it As a Child” by illustrator Trina Dalziel was part of the early exercises in class, but it stuck with me. She did it all in one sitting and I love her little commentary and seeing how children’s books helped influence her view of the world. You can see more details on her project page, and more creative maps she created in class.

Image above: Trixia Yong immediately caught my attention for the map of her desk from the perspective of an insect, but for her final project she started to develop a series of cards for an “Edae Food Adventure” to help discover food in Singapore. Makes me want to go visit and test them out! Read more on her project page!

Image above: Fifi Mandirac is a French graphic designer based in Paris, but has lived all over the country. She created a map to help show these places. See the process from sketch to this on her project page!


Image above: Chris Olson lives in Colorado and loves to ski. As a former ski instructor and mom of two, she created this map of Keystone for kids. See more on her project page!

Image above: Lauren Lou Bate is an Aussie living in Paris. For her class exercises she used it as an excuse to help plan her bike trip in the south of France. There’s tons of great inspiration on Lauren’s project board!


Image above: Early on Jean Manis decided she was going to map Ginger’s (her dog) walk. Jean did an amazing job documenting her process and experimenting (she even had maps made out of candy!) on her project board.


Image above: I appreciated this Scandinavian simplicity of Johanna Forsman‘s map of Stockholm. There’s more on her project board.

Image above: One of the most inspiring things about this class was seeing students push their own projects after being inspired by the work of classmates. Kelsey Kreiling made a map of NYC, and then after discovering a Pugly Pixel tutorial on animated gifs, made this awesome version where the dots and images filter through. Even Katrina (Pugly Pixel herself) was impressed with how Kelsey used the technique! See more on her project board.

Image above: It was fun to see the way that Naomi Den Besten was able to combine hand drawn and digital in her map of Amsterdam. I also liked how she not only mapped the route, but the times as well. You can read more about her concept on her project page.

Huge thank you to all my fantastic students and inspiration! Every day when I logged in to the classroom a huge smile seriously appeared on my face. You brought so much to the classroom, and I can’t thank you enough. Keep on mappin!

If you want to make some maps, you can SIGN UP here for Map Making, an online class designed to be taken at your own pace. It will be based on the same lectures as before, but likely with some new inspiration thrown in.  It’s more fun with friends, so share this link:

How to Ride the Paris Metro

Before the holidays Ashley (aka Chasing Heartbeats) and I signed up for the Visual Storytelling class on Skillshare taught by the lovely Helena Price. In our class there were two lectures (live but being in Europe I watched the recorded versions) and ample opportunity for Q&A and feedback from Helena and our classmates. Ashley and I decided to collaborate because one afternoon while she was in Paris we shot some footage of me riding the metro for fun. We weren’t taking it too seriously, but figured we could make something out of it. Even if Photoshop isn’t my favorite for working with type, Ashley and I both love Photoshop 6 because you can edit video in it (see her Everplaces video, or my iPhone video of Hotel Negresco). This class was the perfect excuse to give us the extra kick to finish the project we had sort of started, while testing out some new skills on our own time. Sure, we finished our video 2 months after the class, but hey, we did it all remotely, and it’s done and we had fun! (Don’t worry, it’s short + sweet, but we did go 15 seconds over our 30-second assignment).

Speaking of Skillshare, I’m teaching a Map Making class starting on the 18th. I’ve kept busy schedules in mind, so it’s no stress + all fun. There are some truly awesome inspiring people in the class already, so I do hope you will join us! Student projects (still in brainstorming phase) include maps of the Ivory Coast (because there aren’t many maps and they get lost on hikes), a wedding map in Wisconsin, a map of Dublin transportation, a map of local neighborhoods for Sudanese refugees, parklets in SF, an Agatha Christie interactive map of Tasmania, craft stores in Amsterdam, favorite walks in Sydney, maps for house guests, embroidered maps, memory maps, the list goes on! Join us.


P.S. If you live in Europe or plan on visiting soon, you should enter Ashley’s “heartbeats session” photo giveaway!

P.S.S. The font in the video is Blanch by Atipus on Lost Type.

P.S.S.S. Thanks Angelo  for being a fun assistant and putting up with our crazy ideas and adventures!


We Are Here

View We Are Here – Skillshare Map Making in a larger map

One of the perks of online learning is that the classroom is open to anyone in the world. Every day gets more and more exciting as people sign up for my Skillshare Map Making class. There are already 75 students signed up and class doesn’t even start until the 18th (I’m dreaming 500+). Not everyone has filled in their profiles yet, but I think it’s pretty amazing to already have 11 countries represented in the class, and multiple students + cities in most places too. So I decided to start a Google map to mark where everyone is from (ahem, I see a couple continents that still need representatives!). Sure this class is about making maps – I know people have projects planned to sell in their Etsy shop, to give to guests in their home, to remember their favorite trip to Rome, and more – but it’s also about the people you’ll meet and interact with in the online classroom (and hopefully in Google Hangouts too). So far we have graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, bloggers, community managers, magazine contributors, and non-creative-but-still-awesome types, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what people come up with. Just think about all the cool places we’ll be discovering in the process. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites on PAV, but I hope you’ll consider joining us!

You can sign up HERE, or read more about the class on PAV here. I’ve even made a widget if you want to share it on your blog and spread the word. Just save the image below and add the link:

French Bureaucracy, Explained {Abridged Version}

Friday’s post explaining French bureaucracy was intense – and long (and your comments were awesome). So today I’m offering you the Cliff Notes version. This video of La Maison Qui Rend Fou (literally, the house/place that makes you crazy) conveniently came to my attention the night I was writing the post thanks to Erin who had experienced her own bureaucratic struggles that day. Astérix is a French classic (I’ve even been to Parc Astérix just outside of Paris, a French version of Disney if you will), and the French get just as much a chuckle out of this as expats. Don’t worry, if you don’t speak French, you’ll still get it! Trust me.

Isn’t this plan from the clip so symbolic of French bureaucracy? (It reminds me of Je Parle Américain’s flow charts of his visa process) … Just think, you could map French bureaucracy and your own experiences in my Skillshare map making class! No need to be a designer + all ages welcome.

// Thanks, Erin! //

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