Maps are not much help without points of reference, such as landmarks. The most common of these are man-made structures, like buildings. Photographs of these structures may not fit well into your design, so you will have to rely on illustrations. However, you are not likely to find clip art to match the shape of your structure or your map style. Let's illustrate a downtown scenic landmark by combining several primitive shapes. So, here I have my basic shapes of my buildings here.
The building in the center is finished. And so I want to focus on the building to the left. And this building has a very distinct feature. Here towards the top is a large open air. Space. So I want to illustrate that. Now, I could just put shapes on top of each other, and change the colors. But I really don't create that open space. So I won't see my map through that little space. To create that open air space and merge the other shapes together.
I am going to use the Shape Builder tool. Now, in times past I would have used a panel over here to the right call Pathfinders and I still use it from time to time. It allows me to combine different primitive shapes together to create a more complex shape. And honestly I've done that with a lot of the other shapes that you see here in these other buildings. But in later versions of illustrator I was introduced to the Shape Builder tool and honestly I haven't looked back since.
This thing is awesome, so let's put it to work. I'm going to close the Pathfinder panel and I'm going to zoom in on this building here on the far left. Next, I'm going to select all of the various shapes that come together. There are just rectangles, and some triangles here and just a couple of simply lines. So, all of these simple shapes can be combined to create the more complex outline of this building. Now that's another concept you should keep in mind.
I am trying to simply get the feel of the building. I'm not trying to replicate it exactly. I just want that overall appearance. So I'm going to select all of these shapes using the regular selection tool and I'm going to switch to my shape builder tool. With the Shape Builder tool, I want to merge these outer shapes that form the frame of the building. So, I simply mouse over these areas and I see this little textured preview. I will click and drag at this point up into This other area here.
And you can see it adds to my shape. Release the mouse, now they're merged together. And I'll continue this process, merging the various shapes together and that looks pretty good. Now, what about the open area here? This really needs to be removed to actually create a window so that I can see any map color behind this building. Well, I'll still use the Shape Builder tool. But this time I'll hold down my Option+Key on a Mac or the Alt+Key on a PC then click to remove that shape from my building.
Well, just one little merge together here. And that looks pretty good. I'll change some of the colors here and then this building will be finished. Okay. So that looks pretty good. I want to turn my attention to another building. I'll zoom out. And over here on the right. I have another building here and I have a large gradient here down the center.
What I want to do is transform that gradient into the little windows that you see here on this center building. So, how do I do that. Well, it's really just a grid. So, if I select this rectangular shape then I'll go to the Object menu. From the Object menu I'll come down to where it says path. From there I can choose Split Into Grid. I simply choose the number of rows and columns that I want along with the spacing or gutter between them.
I think I have too many windows there, so I'm going to reduce the number of rows. That looks pretty good. So now I have a complete set of windows for my building. One last thing we need to take all of these shapes and then combine them into our map. Well, I got a little treat over here,I actually have another part of the buildings. And that's the stadium there in Charlotte. This is a key land mark in the Charlotte area and I wanted to include it.
Now, Charlotte is known as the queen city and to me this kind of looks like a crown. Looking at it though these points of the buildings are just pointing straight up. And I think I want to modify that just a little bit more. So, I'm going to lock the stadium for just a moment. And I'm going to select these other graphics here. I'm going to group them together. And then finally, I'm going to apply a warp effect to them. I'll go to the Effect menu, choose Warp. And I think Arc may do what I want.
Let me pull this out of the way so you can see the results. Well, that might be a bit extreme but that's kind of where I was going with this. I'll simply lower the blend amount. There we go. I'll tell this okay, unlock my Stadium layer and now I'm free to select all of this content. Copy it and I'm going to use the shortcut of the Cmd+C on a Mac or Ctrl+C on a PC to copy it.
Here at the top, I have my map. So, I'm going to choose that document. And let me go ahead and create a new layer for this. Remember, we're using layers to keep our content organized. So, here in the Layers panel, I'm going to select the layer where I want to insert my new layer. I want my new layer here above the political boundary. So, I choose that layer then choose the New Layer option while holding down the Option+key on the Mac or Alt+key on a PC and I will say Landmarks.
Now, this OK. Now, I'm free to paste my content in here. So, once again, I'll use a short cut, that's Cmd+V on Mac, Ctrl+V on a PC. Paste my content in and just a matter of scaling it down. So, I'll use the bounding box here to scale my graphic and put it right here in the center of town. There we have it, a nice city landmark right here on my map. Landmarks are an integral part of any map.
Using Adobe Illustrator's Shape Builder tool or Path Finder operations you can combine primitive shapes into the more complex illustrators needed to create your landmarks. (INAUDIBLE) a basic (INAUDIBLE) for a more stylized appearance and now you have landmarks that will stand out and grab your audiences attention.
- Understanding different types of maps
- Extracting a map from an online source
- Sketching out a map
- Creating a tracing template
- Drawing major and minor roadways
- Using graphic styles
- Creating train tracks
- Drawing bodies of water, parks, and other landmarks
- Labeling roads
- Adding a map legend
- Saving for print
- Sharing a map online