Admittedly, it was mainly a business decision to do a Lincoln Park Map. It is the most recognizable and likely the most popular neighborhood in Chicago. As I began working on it, though, I realized that I have a lot of personal attachment to Lincoln Park. I never lived there, but have spent a lot time there over the years. I met my wife while she was living in Lincoln Park. We began our marathon training by running through the park towards the Lake Shore Path. I received my master’s degree from DePaul University. I rang in 2000 at a bar in Lincoln Park. Plus, I have spent many nights going out with friends along places on Lincoln and Clark. It became more than just another map to complete.
My approach to completing this illustration was different than the previous maps I have worked on. (Roscoe Village, Bucktown and Wicker Park, Heart of Bucktown and Wicker Park) First, it has been the only community area I worked on. So, I would be dealing with a much larger area. All of Lincoln Park is not represented on this map. The triangular area between Ashland, Diversey and the Chicago River is not shown. This was purely a space decision. If I had included it, I would not be able to show as much detail. Secondly, I decided to think of this a little more as a piece of graphic design as opposed to an illustration. Since I have done a few of these already, I knew what to expect as I put it together. Instead of trying to draw everything from the beginning and then work on the final in Illustrator, I worked on each part individually and placed it directly on the map. Then, I would move items around until they fit just right. It is almost becomes a puzzle.
One thing that hasn’t changed is my quest for authenticity. Every little design on here has some attachment to Lincoln Park. I sometimes wonder if it is worth the time. However, it does give me something to talk about with people if they are interested in the map. Plus, it gives me a greater sense of accomplishment when I make the realization that I put in the extra effort to make it more authentic. And really, everything on these maps does not have to be so explicitly literal.
Without further ado, here is the final map:
If you’d like to see a larger version, please click here. A limited edition print of the Lincoln Park Map is now on sale here. When they sell out, I will be printing a one color open edition screen print.