Make Art That Sells: A lesson on being you with a vengeance

Week 4 of Make Art That Sells Part B was all about editorial illustration.

Editorial is quite a different market from the others on the course and one I was really looking forward to. In my life as a graphic designer I’ve been involved with editorial design and so was keen to get to know the market from a different angle. The project this week was to design a map of your town or city. I decided to focus on my nearest big city, Oxford, a place full of history!

I started with lots of research, I took lots of photos and scoured the internet for info and imagery. I know Oxford pretty well having worked there for 8 years but I found out plenty of new and interesting things about the place and gradually I started to plot everything onto some kind of map.


The Makes Art That Sells course is full of so many talented artist and designers, many of whom have fine art backgrounds and produce beautiful painterly work. I often find myself feeling very frustrated that my work never turns out like that. However one of the big lessons on the course is about being yourself and doing it with a vengeance! No matter which way you cut it I am a graphics girl, so this week I really embraced that. I went almost straight to digital this time with very little pen and paper and I also went icon crazy! Each building that I wanted to include got it’s own little icon, plus pubs, transport, people and more. Each one made up of lots of geometric shapes, textures and patterns. It was time consuming and kinda eye melting but I loved every single second of it (especially the totem pole and shrunken heads in the Pitt Rivers Museum!).


Once I had all the icons it was case of organising them and fitting them on the map. This is where graphic designer Sam came into her own! There was so much info to get on the map that balancing and managing it was super important to prevent things becoming overwhelming. I made the roads quite abstract to keep the design quieter and flowed the rivers and railways around and under them! I toyed with adding the names directly to the map but it made things very hard to read and ended up obscuring some of the buildings so I decided on a nice big key – plus this allowed me to have some fun with type, including creating my own working font! Colours were quite tricky to manage as each building has a different colour palette but no matter how much I love colour (and lots of it) I knew I needed to keep the overall palette as simple as possible. In the end I picked a few main colours and used tints of these to create most of the colours I needed!

I loved working on this project so much that I honestly could have gone on with this for hours more. But, thankfully, there was a deadline and I had to stop! I guess that’s when you know you’ve been true to your own inner arty/designery voice!


So what do you think? Do you know Oxford? Did I miss out one of your favourite spots? Or is Oxford new to you and has this encouraged you to come and visit?

Make Art That Sells is a five week course so I’ll try and post a review from each week and share a bit of my process and progress so check back to find out how I’m getting on!


5 Responses to Make Art That Sells: A lesson on being you with a vengeance

  1. emily b November 7, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Sam! Wow – I can definitely see how your graphic design background benefitted you with this assignment. I am mesmerized by all of your icons! You’re right – I think the totem pole is my favorite element, as well. Beautiful work!

    • SamOssie November 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks Emily, I think Totem poles might be my new favourite thing to draw!!

  2. Amanda McGee November 8, 2013 at 2:50 am #

    Really great, Sam! I love all the details you put into your map. You worked very hard on this, it shows! I’m so inspired by you being you with a vengeance! :)

    • SamOssie November 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

      Thank you Amanda, glad you enjoyed all the details, I loved creating them :)


  1. Make Art That Sells: A lesson on putting it all in - Sam Osborne Sam Osborne - November 14, 2013

    […] was pretty much half and half with no clear winner. So in the end I went with what felt more me (being me with a vengeance again!). The red, the bold, the scandinavian twist – it has to be Christmas. Once I’d […]

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes