Best map illustration classes: Discover the world of travel and fantasy map art

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Map illustration is a fun and inventive way to pay homage to the places we love; both real and imaginary.

If you’re an avid traveler or have a passion for making up faraway, fantasy lands as a creative, our list of online map illustration classes is good news coming your way!

Because this craft is so varied within itself, our guide presents a selection of courses to encourage you to tweak your talents to develop impressive, visual guides of memorable locations. 

Read on to discover which one of these map illustration classes sparks your interest — we’ll leave the imagination part up to you! 

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

How to choose the best map illustration classes for you

Before settling on one of the map illustration classes on our list, decide which learning platform best suits your needs. We’ve included courses featured on Domestika, Skillshare, and Udemy.

These platforms work on different pricing models, offer particular language options, and have unique course durations. 

Read also: Best online course platforms for creatives

If you find yourself struggling to choose among our map illustration classes, we suggest you browse through each of them to get a glimpse of the projects, instructors, and resources you can look forward to. 

Another aspect to consider is the medium you intend to work with. Popular mediums for this art form include digital illustration, pen and ink, watercolor, and more. And of course, there’s always room to combine all of these! 

Pinpointing your goals before choosing a course is also fundamental, as it will help you focus and stay motivated as you learn. 

Lastly, keep an open mind! While mastering a certain level of accuracy and following detailed processes can be intimidating at times, the secret is to let art be art and see where your creativity takes you! 

Best map illustration classes

Once you’ve narrowed down what medium(s) you want to work with, the next step is to dive right in. 

Read through our list of online map illustration classes below to get started! 

Sketchbook Illustration: Draw a Personal, Colorful Travel Map

Sketchbook illustration classes draw personal colorful travel maps

Teacher: Mike Lowery
Platform: Skillshare
Level: All levels

Duration: 8 Lessons (27m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

The first course on our list is one of the most unique map illustration classes listed!

It presents New York Times best-selling illustrator Mike Lowery who will show you how to elevate your travel map illustration skills by working out of a sketchbook.

Read also: Watercolor sketchbook buyer’s guide

By resorting to a sketchbook, you’ll be able to observe and improve technique as well as create a fun, carefree experience while practicing this craft — a great suggestion for artistic travelers.  

During this class, Mike includes a few prompts to jumpstart your imagination, followed by guiding you through the main stages of creating a singular travel map of your own. 

Your instructor will share his criteria when selecting materials, help you brainstorm and design your map layout, and ultimately, empower you to translate your vision onto paper. 

To take this course you’ll need to adhere to Skillshare’s yearly subscription plan. If you want a sneak peek of what this platform has to offer, you can also try out Skillshare’s free, 1-month trial at the link below!

Illustrated Map Creation: Reflecting a City’s Essence

Illustrated map classes creation reflecting city essence

Teacher: Stef Maden
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 19 Lessons (3h 19m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

This map illustration class is an attractive choice for whimsical city amblers with a love for art and originality! 

Taught by Yorkshire-based designer and illustrator Stef Maden, this Domestika course will take you through the steps of creating a map of your favorite city by experimenting with mixed mediums such as watercolor, gouache, and Photoshop. 

Read also: Best watercolor classes

Being a self-paced beginners class, you’ll be able to watch Stef up close as she works and guides you on how to find inspiration, apply technique, and design the map you envision. 

Like other map illustration classes on this list, having previous experience with Photoshop and watercoloring is preferred since you’ll be digitizing your work. You’ll also get pro pointers on how to take the most Instagram-worthy photo of your final design! 

If you’re looking for watercoloring materials for this class, check out our picks for the best watercolor blocks and watercolor pencils.

Being on Domestika, this course is purchased individually and doesn’t require a subscription. And once paid, you’ll have unlimited access to all of its content and resources!

Fantasy Maps: The Art of Exploring Imaginary Worlds

Art of exploring imaginary worlds map illustration

Teacher: Ira Marcks
Platform: Skillshare
Level: All levels

Duration: 21 Lessons (1h 49m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

If leaving reality aside and building a fantasy world from scratch is more of your liking, this map illustration class is for you! 

Teacher Ira Marcks is no stranger to fantasy as he’s done quite a bit of world-building himself through his graphic novels. His take on this illustration style focuses on harnessing imagination to the fullest and fully fleshing out the lay of the land, from landmarks to monsters. 

Read also: Skillshare vs Domestika

As a course intended for all skill levels, you’ll be emboldened to work with whatever medium or style you prefer. Throughout the course, you’ll be provided with a PDF map reference to get you initiated and inspired!

You’ll need a yearly subscription to Skillshare to take this course. Or, take advantage of the platform’s exclusive 1-month free trial — this will unlock all of the map illustration classes on this platform!

Inky Maps! Illustrate a Beautiful Map Using Digital and Analog Media

Inky maps illustrate beautiful maps using digital and analog

Teacher: Tom Froese
Platform: Skillshare
Level: Intermediate

Duration: 18 Lessons (2h 35m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

Those who already have a knack for drawing will revel in this intermediate map illustration class taught by illustrator Tom Froese. 

Because its central theme is composing a representation of your hometown or favorite city, this course is especially appealing to artists who appreciate local map illustrations. 

Read also: Best calligraphy sets and kits

Throughout this class, Tom will provide an abundance of advice and tools to ensure you end up with ambitious results. Color palettes, sketch templates as well as instructions on how to apply, adjust, and balance textures according to specific mediums can also be expected. 

To practice while you learn, you’ll need a nib pen, Black India ink, sketchbook paper, and a scanner to upload your work into Photoshop.

Since having basic knowledge in Photoshop is favored for this class, Tom has included additional Photoshop course recommendations where you can explore this program further to benefit future ventures. 

Isometric Map Illustration: Capture a City’s Vibrancy

Isometric maps illustration capture city vibrancy

Teacher: Jess Wilson
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 13 Lessons (1h 45m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

An isometric map aims to bring a three-dimensional feel to a two-dimensional drawing. This course, taught by Jess Wilson, will show you how to make this kind of magic happen! 

Jess is an illustrator and printmaker with a long list of notable clients including Nike and Sony and therefore is a true digital wizard.  

This Domestika map illustration class is set up for beginners and is entirely digital, so computer access and Photoshop are indispensable. 

Read also: Domestika all English-language courses

You’ll be making maps based on reality, using resources such as Google Maps as an aid for object placement. This course stands out from the rest on the list as you’ll learn how to use dimension and text to fill in space by applying specific isometric design techniques. 

As you reach the end of this course, you’ll know how to print and frame your map with the right amount of flair to showcase your talents. 

Domestika classes are purchased individually and provide unlimited access to content after purchase — a great perk to consider.

If you want to explore something new, check out the next fantasy map illustration classes on our list!

Fantasy Maps in Photoshop

Fantasy maps in photoshop

Teacher: Daniel Hasenbos
Platform: Udemy
Level: All levels

Duration: 19 Lessons (2h 31m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: N/A

The teacher of this Udemy course, freelance cartographer Daniel Hasenbos, cites the maps of Middle Earth as inspiration for his work — and this course is proof. 

In this map illustration class, Daniel goes into a great amount of detail when discussing how to achieve an amazing, fantasy universe. 

Read also: Udemy vs Skillshare

Skills you’ll learn encompass drawing coastlines, land and sea features, mountains, rivers, and forests. Before concluding this course, you’ll have also learned about flat colors, shading, lighting, and how to add finishing touches to give your map an authentic look.

Like several other map illustration classes on our list, this course also requires Photoshop, so having the program is ideal.

By purchasing this course on Udemy, you’ll have lifetime access to all of its content and resources.

Draw a Fantasy Map in Adobe Photoshop – A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Draw a fantasy map in adobe photoshop

Teacher: Helen Bradley
Platform: Skillshare
Level: Beginner

Duration: 6 Lessons (39m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

For those with limited time to take on a new skill, this bite-sized Skillshare course is for you! 

Helen Bradley developed several classes in the Graphic Design for Lunch series, all of which focus on the digital arts.

Read also: 100+ creative hobbies to try, and how to get started

In just 39 minutes, you’ll have gained truly useful and practical tips to illustrate a fantasy map! This is all done through Photoshop, so having access to this tool is crucial. Creating a pattern, adding shapes, using brushes, and applying masks will be included activities. 

This map illustration class will give you the basics to make small-scaled maps while inspiring you to take your artistry to the next level! 

Don’t miss out on one of the most time-saving map illustration classes out there!

Shortcuts to Map Making for Illustrators: Illustrate Your Favorite City

Shortcuts to map making for illustrators

Teacher: Anne Bollman
Platform: Skillshare
Level: Intermediate

Duration: 8 Lessons (31m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

Ideal for travel enthusiasts, this course will exemplify how you can use Google Maps to draw and template a desired city and make a unique work of art. 

Anne Bollman, a Top Teacher on Skillshare, shares her years’ worth of experience, creative process, and insider shortcuts to help you develop your own style and portfolio. 

Read also: Best Adobe Illustrator classes

This Photoshop-based map illustration class is meant for intermediate users with a baseline knowledge of this software. Nevertheless, the methods taught by Anne can also be applied to Adobe Illustrator. 

Skillshare is a great place to learn — sign up for a yearly subscription or enjoy the free 1-month trial at the link below! 

Illustrated Maps on Your iPad in Procreate + 18 FREE Stamps and Brushes

Illustrate maps on your ipad in procreate

Teacher: Liz Kohler Brown
Platform: Skillshare
Level: Intermediate

Duration: 12 Lessons (1h 38m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

Unlike previous courses on this list, this map illustration class uses the popular iPad application, Procreate.

As another Top Teacher on Skillshare, Liz Kohler Brown is popular for her content on iPad art and design. A special feature of her courses is that they all come with free stamps and customized brushes. 

Read also: Best Procreate classes online

Here you’ll find three different projects: a playful illustration map, a detailed city map, and a road map. Although targeted at intermediate-level illustrators, Liz’s teaching style and provided tools make it so that it’s easy for beginners to keep up. 

You’ll need an iPad and stylus for this course, as it operates with Procreate. Downloads to the stamps and brushes Liz created for the course will be accessible after only one section; be sure not to miss out!

Keep reading to find the last course on our list of map illustration classes.

Fantasy Map Design

Fantasy map design

Teacher: Filip Korić
Platform: Udemy
Level: Intermediate

Duration: 18 Lessons (2h 42m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: CC (English)

The last (but not least) course on our list is presented by graphic designer Filip Korić who has specifically curated this class with fantasy map enthusiasts in mind. 

Most of this class is taught in Adobe Illustrator CC and is intended for all levels of illustration proficiency who have some level of experience with this software. Korić has a thorough take in his lessons, ranging from touching on the basics to designing a full-blown island!

Topics covered include sketching from scratch, tracing, learning about height mapping (for 3D effects), and cartography. General guidance on Adobe Illustrator’s main features will also be given throughout. 

Truly fun bonus lessons are also included in this course, offering content on map-making empires, kingdoms, and republics —  a great way to bring your fictional world to life.

You can always complement this course with other fantasy map illustration classes on this list to keep learning!

That’s it for our list of top map illustration classes online! Do you have any more recommendations? Let everyone know in the comments below!

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