5 ways to use a custom illustrated map

Updated: Feb 3






Funny story…scroll down to “five ways to use a custom illustrated map”

if you don’t like funny stories

When I was about 12 years old, I would babysit my little sister, Jennifer who was 4. She loved to paint and draw as did I. We often had coloring sessions in coloring books, or we would use regular printer paper as our canvases for crayon and marker masterpieces. My mother had the tradition of coming home and asking Jennifer, “how was your day?” To which she would reply with a piece of art she colored depicting something we did that day. It was usually a pretty colorful piece of art but the activities of the day were unrecognizable, as she was four. You really could only make out the blocky scribbles of two “people” she and I.

One day she got the idea she would start writing notes on her pictures describing the day… the only problem is she didn’t know how to spell. So the would come to me, with her pure little heart and ask me to spell things to her so she could then write them on her visual letter to mom when she came through those doors asking “how was your day.” So of course, as big sister, I had fun with this.

In my defense she took her snitching overboard. So when she wanted to write “Jessica was mean.” I would spell her name instead of mine. I would spell “bad” as G-O-O-D. I would spell “spanking” as H-U-G and so on. Basically, according to Jennifer’s notes to mom in her own hand writing, she never had a bad day. Every day was full of “hugs,” “fun,” and “excitement.” While she hoped mom would read “Jessica was mean to me,” which by the way, making a kid eat their food is not mean, her note would say “Jessica is the best.”

I found it hilarious and eventually Jennifer figured it out. Mom did too but found it too funny to stop me. When Jennifer started asked me to read the letters back to her after I spelled out the words incorrectly, I didn’t have the heart to fool her twice and the joke was over.

Fast forward over 20 years later, my sister came to me to once again to convey a message for her. To tell a story to guest who would come and celebrate her wedding with her. This time I had no desire to trick her, I only wanted to honor her and show her love. She had grown into a beautiful woman I admired and I wanted to tell her story in a beautiful and unique way. She was a world traveler and so was her fiancé so I thought it would be fitting to create a wedding map. My first one.

It didn’t feature custom illustrations as I didn’t really know I could paint at the time, but it was full of creativity. It was cute and fun like the cute couple. Since then, I have created many custom maps for weddings and events.

Five Ways to use a J Char Designs custom illustrated map.

1. Use a map on you custom wedding invitation


I love how the wedding map was used on my sisters invitation. The front of the invite was more traditional, but the back opened up to a map that briefly told their wedding story. Cute and simple but unique and new for her guest who were excited to be apart of the star on the map.

2. Save the date map


Laura and Garrett love to travel! I asked them about their most memorable travel dates and illustrated them in watercolor. It was so fun to create all the little icons for each experience! Such a cute Save The Date idea!

3. Weekend Itinerary


Are your guest in for a three day celebration? Maybe a Friday welcome party, Saturday wedding and Sunday brunch? Why not create a map for them that highlights where they will be showing up each day. They can get a rough idea of where each place is in relation to the next and it will build anticipation for the events to come! This one illustrated Dayton and Cincinnati!

4. Welcome bag map


Will a lot of you guest be new to the city you are getting married in? Why not include a map of places to visit in their welcome bag? Angel and Kevin’s guest were staying in the middle of two cities, so I created a map that outlined their favorite places of interest in each city. Guest could make plans around the wedding weekend and places in the weekend itinerary were highlighted with a red star. The middle of the map featured the venue where there were getting married, Stone Valley Meadows.

5. Welcome party food map


Want to welcome family who are coming in to celebrate from out of town? Here is an idea, welcome them with your favorite foods from around the city! This map was created for a family who had that exact idea and the illustrations were used for signs to identify each food item on the map as well. The map was recreated for signs at the party which was held at Carillon Historical Park.

I love finding ways to make your event special. Let's add a map to the stationery need list!!! Such a personal and fun touch for your wedding day!


- Jess


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