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 learn more and discover which one of these map illustration classes sparks your interest —we’ll leave the imagination part up to you!
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Best map illustration classes
- Sketchbook Illustration: Draw a Personal, Colorful Travel Map
- Illustrated Map Creation: Reflecting a City’s Essence
- Fantasy Maps: The Art of Exploring Imaginary Worlds
- Inky Maps! Illustrate a Beautiful Map Using Digital and Analog Media
- Isometric Map Illustration: Capture a City’s Vibrancy
- Fantasy Maps in Photoshop
- Draw a Fantasy Map in Adobe Photoshop ‒ A Graphic Design for Lunch Class
- Shortcuts to Map Making for Illustrators: Illustrate Your Favorite City
- Illustrated Maps on Your iPad in Procreate Plus 18 Free Stamps and Brushes
- Fantasy Map Design
How to choose the best map illustration class for you
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 working 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
Teacher: Mike Lowery
Duration: 8 Lessons (27m)
Level: All levels
The first course on our list is on Skillshare and 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!
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 monthly/yearly subscription plan. If you want a sneak peak 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
Teacher: Stef Maden
Duration: 19 Lessons (3h 19m)
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.
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 and receiving tips and tricks on the best paper options to print your map on.
In addition to this, you’ll also get some pro pointers on how to take the ideal, most Instagram-worthy photo of your final design!
Being on Domestika, this course is purchased individually and doesn’t require a subscription. Once paid, you’ll have unlimited access to all of its content and resources!
Fantasy Maps: The Art of Exploring Imaginary Worlds
Teacher: Ira Marcks
Duration: 21 Lessons (1h 49m)
Level: All levels
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 focusing on harnessing imagination to the fullest and fully fleshing out the lay of the land, from landmarks to monsters.
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! Although all of the map illustration classes in our guide promote fun, the main takeaway from Ira’s lessons is to really lean into the fantasy element of the world you’re creating.
You’ll need a 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
Teacher: Tom Froese
Duration: 18 Lessons (2h 35m)
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.
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
Teacher: Jess Wilson
Duration: 13 Lessons (1h 45m)
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.
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
Teacher: Daniel Hasenbos
Duration: 19 Lessons (2h 31m)
Level: All levels
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.
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 map illustration classes listed, this course is another Photoshop-based option, 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
Teacher: Helen Bradley
Duration: 6 Lessons (39m)
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.
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
Teacher: Anne Bollman
Duration: 8 Lessons (31m)
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.
This Photoshop-based map illustration class is meant for intermediate users with a baseline knowledge of the digital medium. Nevertheless, the methods taught by Anne can also be applied to Adobe Illustrator.
Skillshare is a great place to learn — sign up for a monthly/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
Teacher: Liz Kohler Brown
Duration: 12 Lessons (1h 38m)
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.
Here you’ll find three different projects: a playful illustration map, a detailed city map, and a detailed road map. Although targeted for 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
Teacher: Filip Korić
Duration: 18 Lessons (2h 42m)
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 the software.
Koric 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!