My Buzz

For centuries, maps were objects of beauty, hand-drawn by artisan-cartographers who were highly skilled in calligraphy and illustration. In the modern world of computerised mapping, few have preserved this art, but Manuscript Maps revives the heritage, aesthetics, and craftsmanship of traditional cartography by producing elegant hand-drawn maps.

My Bio

My name is Kevin Sheehan - I'm the cartographer and owner of Manuscript Maps, founded in 2014. Maps are commonplace in today's world, yet I feel many appear clumsy because they are hastily made on computers with concern only for basic function, while ignoring aesthetics, form, and design. Combining my love of maps and my experience as an artist, my mission is to bring art back to cartography.

I am greatly inspired by antique maps from centuries ago, when map-makers were also great artists. Often working alone, or in small workshops, master cartographers created beautiful maps that served both aesthetic and practical functions. I studied this map-making culture (AD 1200 to 1700) in my PhD, which was awarded by Durham University in 2014. Energised by my historical research, I have set out to create maps using methods employed by map-makers over the centuries.

All of my maps are drawn by hand, using traditional techniques employing dip-pens with calligraphic nibs. I even draw some of my maps on real calf-skin vellum, just as medieval cartographers would have. Each original takes weeks or even months to produce, but I believe that by carefully scribing every letter and drawing every line and shape by hand, rather than relying on computers, my maps are elevated to fine art.

My Business Tips

1. A great website is key to any successful business.
2. Integrate customer reviews into your website - social validation makes a huge difference!
3. Photos photos photos! If you're selling something, you need to show what it looks like with quality photography.
4. Public discounts are good, but don't have a sale too often (otherwise customers won't buy during non-sale periods).

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