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Your first decision is whether you will create maps digitally or by hand-drawing. Digital can be quicker and in some respects easier (changes are easy, you can add/delete as you want), but hand-made maps can have more heart and soul that will attract the viewer.
You have several options for digital map-making...
Digital maps have the benefit of being easily edited and changed. But they tend to have a strong geometric design.
Hand-drawn maps can be time-consuming to produce. However, they often have a quality that is difficult to recreate using mapping software.
Traditional art supplies make beautiful maps. Two of my favorite map artists use traditional media for their maps. You can see Mike Reagan's work at www.new-work.com/mrthumb.htm and Jane Crosen's work at www.mainemapmaker.com. Each achieves a different look and feel to their maps, but both create organic works of map art.
Hand-drawn doesn't necessarily mean non-digital. With software programs such as Corel Painter you can create digital maps with the hand-drawn quality. Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are also possibilities for digital hand-drawn maps.
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