Things You'll Need
- Online drawing software
- Reference map (optional)
Hand drawing an accurate and easy to read map is difficult, so a simple base map online is a great way to give directions. Create and save the map as a file to your computer then print or attach the map to emails or online invitations. An online map is also good if you need multiple copies and your printer does not have a scanner or copier. You can customize your map with knockout boxes, arrows, directions, historical facts and other guides.
Draw an Online Map
Choose an online drawing software to use. Select one that has a line tool as well as free-form drawing capabilities. The best software depends on the project at hand. If you are drawing a simple map of streets, choose a software that allows you to draw on a pre-existing grid. If you are drawing a map of different landmarks, choose a program with icons of buildings, trees and symbols. Some of the best drawing programs are Queeky, Favicon Icon Drawing and Litha Paint. There are also programs that are specifically for map drawing which are easier to use such as J-Painter Online and ImagineImage.
Change the background color. Select the fill tool and the color you want to use and click anywhere in the image. Choose a color that is easy to draw on and not too dark so you can read type.
Add any large landmarks first like lakes, mountains, rivers or main avenues. To draw a lake, use the free-form drawing tool and fill it in with blue. The most important thing when drawing a lake is to define the shape, because if you don't, the fill tool will cover the whole image area. Thankfully, almost all of these programs have an "undo" button and erasers so do not fret if you make a mistake.
Draw rivers and mountains with the free-form draw tool. Choose a line thickness proportional to the rest of your map. If the roads in the town are winding, use the free-form draw tool. Otherwise, use the straight line tool.
Make a street grid with the line tool. Change the thickness depending on the size of the road or path. Draw several lines horizontally and vertically intersecting each other at equal distances apart. Label the roads with the text tool. Create a north-south directional icon in a corner for orientation.
Use the shape tool to draw buildings or use the available building icons. Label the buildings with text, different colors or symbols. Use a pointer box or "knock-out box" to emphasize key landmarks.
Finish the map by adding trees, bushes, parks and other greenery. Create a title in large type and add a sub-head with more information. Put your name and date in a corner of the image as a credit line. Export the map from the program to your computer in JPEG or PDF form, then print or send as an attachment.
Catherine Paitsel is a professional writer pursuing her master's degree in international affairs at The New School. Paitsel graduated magna cum laude from Pace University with a bachelor's degree in political science. She studied fashion design at the Pratt Institute and is also a licensed New York real-estate salesperson. Her interests are investing, sociology, entrepreneurship, design and enjoying New York City.