The Creative Guide to Amsterdam

The-creative-guide-to-AmsterdamI’ve never officially met Naomi den Besten aka Pretty Unexpected, but she was one of the early students to sign up for my Skillshare map making class. For the hand drawn map exercise [below] she made a series of simple marker maps of Amsterdam to document how she and her boyfriend were going to spent their 5 year anniversary that she put on five different cards, which at the time she put in separate envelopes to reveal how they were going to spend their day. Together all the cards fit together to form a complete map. My students are awesome, right!?!
e8fb2ed2 Little did I know that she had another, bigger map cooked up. In late November I received an email from Naomi telling me she’d been hard at work since she took the class and wanted to send me a copy of her latest project, an illustrated map of Amsterdam with 36 of her favorite locations. Dubbed The Creative Guide to Amsterdam, she had the map professionally printed on waterproof paper and added small stickers so people can also add some of their own favorite places, which she sells in her online shop, and it’s completely delightful.

prettyunexpected-MapThe-mapOne of the most amazing things about Naomi’s project that you’d never know from looking at her work is that most of her graphic design “education” is mostly self-directed. She claims to still be figuring it out as she goes, and credits online classes helping to push her own limits. Naomi charted her progress – and frustrations – on her blog, which is refreshing. It’s so true that great work doesn’t just happen like magic, but so much goes into it behind the scenes. What I loved even more is that Naomi thought to share her work with me. It made my day to receive her email.

prettyunexpected-creativeamsterdammapDesign is in the details.

prettyunexpected-creativeamsterdam2Amsterdam is already one of my favorite cities, but I can’t wait to go back and try more of these places.

If you’re interested in signing up for my Skillshare map making class, sign up here: (code HIGHFIVE for a discount!). Like all Skillshare classes, you can sign up anytime and the course is self-paced. You can follow Naomi’s class project here. Her Pretty Unexpected blog is wonderful and inspiring, and of course don’t forget to pick up a copy of the map in her shop! (Such a steal at 4,95€).

All images courtesy of Naomi den Besten of Pretty Unexpected.

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