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Mapping the Journeys of Biblical Job

A few months ago, Victoria Adams contacted me to create maps for a book she’s writing about the Book of Job. She wanted maps that would give her readers a sense of geography, distance, and cultural background.

Victoria needed 4 maps showing the Levant, the Middle East and East Africa, and the Mediterranean region from Gibraltar to Baghdad. There would be two versions of this latter map: one showing locations for Church Fathers, and one with locations for Jewish Philosophers that she talks about in her book. These maps illustrate the text, including Biblical locations and also where later commentators lived and travelled.

Victoria has worked with Adobe Illustrator before and tried to find vector maps online that she could edit herself. But with a time crunch to get the final submission to her publisher, she needed someone to take that task off her plate, so she contacted me.

During our initial phone consultation, we talked about the purpose of the maps and how they would be used to help readers see the locations of all the places she mentions in her book. Victoria sent me a detailed list of locations for each map, which I included on the layout drafts to make sure we had the correct coverage area.

Layout draft of Levant mapLayout draft map of Middle East and AfricaLayout map Mediterranean map Jewish Philosophers

Layout draft Mediterranean map Church Fathers

Victoria and her publisher had been thinking about having the Mediterranean maps spread over two pages, instead of a smaller map turned sideways on one page. I created sample layouts for those, with plenty of overlap so no details would be missed in the book fold. The 2-page spread is larger and easier to read.

Layout draft page 1 Mediterranean mapLayout draft page 2 Mediterranean map

We also talked about the general style, with darker grey land and terrain background, and lighter water areas. Victoria wanted ancient and modern place labels for each location - the ancient place name first, with modern names smaller underneath. I included these in the first full design drafts.

Draft 1 map of LevantDraft 1 map of Middle East and AfricaDraft 1 Jewish Philosophers Mediterranean map eastDraft 1 Jewish Philosophers Mediterranean map west page 2

For the second draft, I labelled the seas and incorporated edits from Victoria’s review of the first draft. Here are two of the maps, showing some of the tweaks that make the place names easier to read.

Draft 2 Middle East mapDraft 2 Levant map

Here’s a screenshot showing my workspace in Adobe Illustrator with four artboards and the full layer list at the end of the project. The two Mediterranean artboards work for both the Church Fathers and Jewish Philosophers maps, simply by toggling the layers and creating new exports of those two artboards.

Artboards and layer list

Victoria was quite pleased with the maps and told me she was happy she found me. She shared my site link, which I really appreciate. (As a small business I rely on reviews and referrals.) She said she'd continue to share my site with authors who need pretty maps. I love that she said that! When I was studying cartography at Fleming College, most of my colleagues were looking for jobs as GIS analysts or similar, and I always said, “I just want to make pretty maps”. :-)

Victoria’s book, “Redefining Job and the Conundrum of Suffering”, will be released in a few months. You can learn more about it in her blog. I can't wait to read it!

Follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, or watch a short video showing how the maps progressed.