joe McGee


1 Feb 2020

Making maps is fun!

When I was a kid I loved exploring the woods, and fields, and creeks in my backyard. Okay, I still do. So, it doesn’t matter whether you are a kid or not, lol. And one of my favorite things to do was to make maps of the lands I explored. I’d grab a big piece of paper, or a napkin, or an old paper bag, anything I could get my hands on, and map out the cool things in my newly explored land. Often, I’d name them, giving them new life in the worlds of my imagination. That tall tree with the knots that looked like eyes became “The Wisdom Tree”. The fallen log across the creek became “The perilous bridge”. I even mapped out my house, pretending it was a spaceship and making each room something new. It was fun, it was creative, and it shaped the world into a magical place. 

I still do that today! We just moved into a house with a lot of woods and we’ve built trails through it. My niece and I made a map of the trails, adding in all of the things we’d named and drawing in cool pictures. There’s “Wizard Stone” and “Reading Rock” and “The Fairy House” and “Toad Hall,” just to mention a few. 

I also do this as an author. I created the original map that you see in the beginning of the Junior Monster Scouts books and my illustrator made it look even cooler (because he’s awesome). That map helped me see what the world looked like for those monsters, and villagers, and Baron Von Grump. I have a cool new series (that I’ll be announcing soon) that takes place in a small town and I’ve created a map of the entire town. It was so much fun! 

So, I’d like to encourage you to create your own maps! Get a piece of paper, some markers or colored pencils, and start with your own backyard. Is the fence a towering wall that separates your kingdom from another? Is the sandbox an endless desert? Is that stump where a tall tree used to be a place where gnomes meet to swap hats every third Wednesday of the month? Do goblins live under the shed? Have fun! Be creative! Make the world YOURS. 

I’d love to hear about the maps you’ve created. Comment below!