Whale Watching Map


I designed this map to enter into a contest. The original design is 21″ wide x 18″ high which is a great size. The contest had a restricted palette of pastel colors, so I changed the palette to look more nautical. Normally, these contests are looking for repeat patterns, but I decided to do something different by designing a whale watching map, featuring Humpback Whales, Sperm Whales, Killer Whales – all famous for whale watching adventures. You always need a fun map to navigate your world travels.

It took me about 8 hours total from start to finish, so I thought it might be fun to share my illustration and map-making process with you:

  • First I drew a world map and added the background color.
  • Then I added a nautical compass.
  • Then I drew some jumping whales and tale shapes.
  • I got carried away researching whales, so I had to draw a few whales for the legend at the bottom.
  • I decided I needed some seashell markers to show the best places on the map for these whale sightings.
  • I tried a few different titles and frames, and came to the one you see here with a sort of vintage sign feel with the swirly scallop / clam shell shape.
  • I added a few other icons like the seagull, whale-watching boat and dolphin to enhance the theme.
  • I experimented with a couple different borders, including stripes and flags, but ended up with this simple border of alternating colors.

I really love how this map turned out, reinforcing my passion for illustrating maps.