Shakespeare @ The Hay Festival project – Part II



(13th March 2016)

As I don’t want to show anything I’ve been working on until the Hay Festival has launched it, I’m scheduling all the blog posts documenting my progress with the project until the 26th May (the start of the festival). The date I’m writing them will be displayed at the top of each post.

Continuing on from Part I, I knew I wanted to create an illustration of a map with the text (the Shakespeare quote) running through it, either as part of the river or road.

I thumbnailed a couple of ideas and made some notes:

I started by sketching some maps with the quote running through it, on the roads, in marker to see what sort of shape and look I wanted. I decided on quite a long, landscape map because I thought it looked better, and would fit the shape of the tarpaulin better that something portrait. I then wrote some pro’s of creating a map for this brief:

  • works well with saturated colour
  • can be made to fit any shape
  • contemporises something quite traditional (maps/cartography)
  • blocks of colour can be vectorised easily, so they can be resized without losing quality
  • could add landmarks that add detail and makes the image appealing close-up and from a distance.


I quickly collaged a rough map with saturated, literal colours (I may later decide to use pink grass and yellow trees, who knows?) because I wanted to get a better sense of how it would look in collage, and I liked it. I knew I wanted to make the roads less angular and make it all a bit more complex but it felt like a successful start.

I then considered the text as a river rather than a road, either inside a river shape or the text itself joining together like a river.


I don’t think it would be clear enough if I made it so the writing was a river that it was supposed to be a river and not just some random wiggly text going through my illustration and getting the text and image to integrate is one of the most important things about this brief to me. So, I think I’ll either have the text going along the road or river (I’ll see what looks best when I get to doing the actual map) but within a space that is obviously a road/river.

I then started thinking about the shape of the map itself again, and although I still wanted it to be quite long and landscape-oriented, I thought about how the edges being wobbly could indicate that it is part of a larger map – a reference to the quote I’m illustrating and the book it’s from being part of the larger anthology of Shakespeare’s work.


I also thought about adding obstacles to the road/river to emphasise love “not running smoothly”, and maybe putting in a heart-shaped bit (full or broken or maybe both). It’s definitely something I’m going to consider when assembling my final map design.

I’ll write another update soon,
Thanks for reading,



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