Illustrated maps – with pen, wash and lettering with Helen Scholes

Ref: S3D31787

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About this course

Illustrate and beautifully annotate a map in a simple folded form. Combine pen and watercolour and use the same tools to draw and create striking lettering. Fill a small sketchbook with notes and supporting sketches to refer to later.

Course Description

In this short course you will learn how to make an illustrated map or series of maps that can fold neatly into a book or inside a book. You will use new drawing, lettering and painting skills to combine image and words that record a real or imaginary place.

Your tutor will guide and teach you through the process of drawing, lettering and recording, with short exercises for everyone, and then individually through to completion of your own design. She will demonstrate ways to sort and plan your design, how to apply colour quickly and different contemporary ways to write so information becomes an integral part of the design.

Your finished map can be a series of quick sketches or more detailed illustrations. Your lettering can be either formal calligraphy or informal brush, pen or pencil writing or a combination.

You will learn about different ways to fold and cut a single sheet of paper to make a map, how to combine pen and wash in fast and effective ways and how to use lettering that fits with your design. You will record quick notes and sketches as we go along, in a small sketchbook.

Your aim will be to make an original and personal map of somewhere important to you. This could be a favourite walk, where you live, studied or where you grew up, a parish map, or from a book you love. It could be part of a travel journal or a memory map, or an illustration to a story. The beautiful surroundings of West Dean and its gardens may also be used as inspiration. It will be a personal record to share, inspire, remind or guide others to that place.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply some of the materials including:
  • Unipin Fine liners 0.3 and 0.5
  • One full size sheet of NOT paper 90lb
  • Six sheets of A4 copy paper
  • A small A6 sketchbook

What students need to bring

  • Pencils, at least B or 2B
  • Watercolours and or watercolour pencils
  • Paintbrushes or water brush - a medium one for washes and a smaller one for details
  • Cutting knife and straight edge, glue stick and eraser
  • Optional extras:
  • Bone folder (could use a letter knife)
  • Any additional pens: dip pens, fine liners or Sailor pens you like to use
  • Brush pens if you have them (including nearly dry ones)
  • Posca pen or gel pens if you have them
  • You will need to bring ideas and any reference material e.g. photos or old maps, or use online reference such as Google Maps or Street View or you could work from our surroundings at West Dean. You might want to print out some photos and add them to your workshop sketchbook.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pens, pencils, watercolours, brushes, additional paper

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Helen Scholes

Helen is a Fellow of the Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society, FCLAS; and a full member of Letter Exchange and designs the Edge. She studied Illustration, completed the (SSI) Advanced Training Scheme, and is an Accredited Calligraphy Tutor and experienced Art Teacher. She recently spent a year as a full-time student at the European Lettering Institute in Bruges.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.