X marks the spot! A map of Much Gadding

I spent quite a lot of time yesterday drawing a map. This is writing-related, believe it or not, because it’s a map for the new book.

I love maps. Simon Garfield’s On The Map is one of my favourite non-fiction books. Atlases, jigsaws, maps in books. When the kids had to do a treasure map for homework I was always happy. I’ve even drawn them for maths tutoring (coordinates, if you’re wondering). But drawing a map for a book? That’s a different kettle of fish. Especially when you can’t really draw.

I’d had a sketch map of the fictional village of Much Gadding ever since last August. I scribbled one down on a sheet of A4 while the rest of the family were doing something venturesome and possibly dangerous on holiday. It was very useful to refer to when I was writing the book in November. Not publishable, though!


So I’ve had ‘draw a proper map’ on my to-do list pretty much since finishing the book. And yesterday was the day I could put it off no longer.

Having Googled ‘how to draw a map’, I came across an excellent step-by-step post at Fantasy Maps. By this time I had serious map anxiety. However, I wrote down the main points and comforted myself with the thought that I could always rub bits out. Until I inked them. Aargh! But, having bought a small pack of Pilot V5 pens and borrowed 2 2B pencils from my son’s room, I considered myself committed.

I drew a line. I rubbed it out. I drew another, and considered. I drew another, and rubbed that one out. I began to wonder how long this task might take, and whether I had enough pencils. But once I had the roads and the river drawn, things began to get easier.

It helped that I simplified the map a bit. Some of the shops and features in the original map never made it into the book, and so I left them out. Although I had a nice big A3 sheet to draw on, the map will come out much smaller in ebook or paperback, and there’s no point making a very detailed map that people can’t read.

This is the bare bones in pencil. I don’t even want to think about how many times I drew that row of houses!


Oddly, the bits I’d thought would be worst – the lettering and the inking – were fine. Although the g at the end of ‘Much Gadding’ was a sad trial to get right…

And here is the finished article! It’ll go into the book in digital form – I’ve imported it and de-backgrounded it in the GIMP image editor – but it’s nice having a paper copy too. 🙂


And if you want to know the significance of all these places, you’ll have to read the book!



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