Tag Archives: compass rose

Maps, we need maps!

As we’ve seen, Venice was hopping with trade on the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. With their compasses and astrolabes and lightly-built galleons, Venetian traders traveled all over the known world. Likewise, traders from all over the world stopped in Venice. Compasses work best with a map, so Venice’s map-making (cartography) business was booming.

In ad 1450, in a monastery in Venice, there lived a monk named Fra Mauro (Brother Mauro). Fra Mauro was an extraordinary cartographer and his map is the one you see pictured here. It’s about 6 feet across.

It’s not easy to recognize all the continents right away, because he drew it with North at the bottom. We’re used to seeing North at the top of maps. I’m not sure when it became standard practice to put North at the top. Over at the extreme right, you can see a little compass-rose with North pointing down. As you work your way left from there, you’ll see Spain and Portugal, the Straits of Gibraltar where Europe almost touches Africa, and the Mediterranean Sea where the boot of Italy is kicking up rather than down. The shapes of Africa and Asia are difficult to recognize, too. It would be a while before cartographers could accurately survey land masses. Africa is in the upper-right. Asia takes up almost all the the left half of the map.

The New World—the Americas and Australia—hadn’t been discovered yet.

Here’s an article about Fra Mauro, with some close-ups of his map.

Five not-too-bad cover ideas

People do judge a book by its cover.  Or at least, it’s the cover that gets people to pick up the book in the bookstore and see whether they like it.  Here are rough cover ideas for Two Bad Pilgrims.

cover1

coverA

coverB

coverC

coverD

Art Director Jim Hoover liked Idea A  I did tight sketches of the boys, the New Worlde mappe and the title type, which Jim put together as a comp.

pilg.cover_comp-1

pilg.covertype

pilg.covermap

The boys and the map are painted as a single image.  One last request: show the boys having burst through the map.  The compass rose is a separate piece of art.  The type I inked in as separate black & white art.  Jim Hoover combined these elements into one cover image and added the credits at the bottom.

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