Custom Maps and Illustrations Q&A With Cornelia Carpenter

Artist, illustrator, and cartographer at Cornelia Carpenter Studio

 

Cherish your travels, trips, adventures and more with these hand-crafted, custom maps and illustrations. Each map is unique and individually designed based on your experiences.

This is a unique idea, how did you come up with it? What is the inspiration behind your company?

 

I have always loved maps. They are a wonderful way to explore the world, and for me evoke a sense of adventure and wonder. I created my first illustrated map while studying abroad in Nicaragua as an undergraduate student. I majored in Geography and Studio Art, so this was a natural blend of my two interests. Since then, I have created custom illustrated maps of countries around the world. The most rewarding part of my job is the excitement of my clients when they receive the final map documenting their special and unique adventures.

 

What are some of the biggest challenges when creating these products?

 

Getting my work out there! I have relied on word-of-mouth and social media to get my work out into the world, and I’m beginning to feel like my presence is growing. In addition, I am committed to accuracy and sometimes the research can be quite time-consuming. For example, I will spend hours studying a particular building or the cuisine of an area down to the traditional serveware and drinking glasses. I’m all about making my maps look and feel as authentic as possible!

What is your favorite step of the process when creating maps? 

 

I love working with people and learning about their adventures. When I create a personal map I ask for photos, personal stories, inside jokes, favorite foods, and random events that make each place special. Some of the trips are truly awesome and it’s quite fun to study exotic corners of the world that I otherwise would not know about.  

 

Please explain why your company stands out among others?

 

Maps are very “in” right now and there is a growing competitive market, but I strive on the details of my work. I make maps so my clients can revisit their favorite places. As a lifelong student of geography, accuracy is so important to me. Although my illustrated maps can’t always be physically exact, I always make sure landmarks, locations, and the topography are placed thoughtfully. The same goes for buildings, food, flora, fauna, activities, and the culture of each place. I like to think my maps have an extra bit of attention and love.

 

What kind of customers do you expect to buy your products?

 

I think everyone needs a custom map. Whether it’s of your neighborhood or far-away adventures, maps have the ability to spark conversation and evoke curiosity. I create mini-maps that are 5” x 5” to massive worldwide adventure maps. To me, maps are the perfect way to document the things that make life special and are worth remembering and smiling about. It doesn’t matter if it’s an everyday occurrence or a once-in-a-lifetime experience, maps are the perfect way to display life.

 

How is your business different from your original expectations?

 

Last year I decided to go all in, but before that creating maps were a side gig. Because my business is still so young, I’m not sure what to expect. Ultimately, I hope that people find joy in my work and they can relive their happy memories through these maps.

 

Do you have plans/hopes to expand your company?

Yes! If I could imagine the perfect job, it would be making maps every day, all day. I do offer custom illustrated wedding invitations (including maps), personalized travel maps, and other illustrated projects. Right now, I am focused on offering unique one-of-a-kind products.

Photos courtesy of Cornelia Carpenter Studio 2019. Find more at www.CorneliaCarpenter.com or on Instagram @CorneliaCarpenter_Studio