Island Maps

Introduction to Sea Voyage Project

This project is based on activities I do in schools based on my books Dolphins Keep Me Safe in Dreams and The Shipwrecked Sailor.

It would be wonderful if you’d like to buy a copy of one of the books to help this self-employed person get through the current crisis 🙂

With this project we are in the wistful realm of Celtic Sea Voyage stories:

  • There will be a sea-voyage themed project each day this week.
  • They involve both art and creative writing and/or speaking.
  • I am only using resources you are likely to have already.
  • The things you make on Monday to Wednesday are needed for the story-making activities for Thursday and Friday.

If you enjoy this project, afterwards you might like to research some stories like The Island of Tir Na Nog or The Voyage of Mael Duin.

Sea Voyages Theme Day One 23/3/20

Today we’re making maps of magic, mysterious islands. T

I made up some special islands for my book ‘Dolphins Keep Me Safe In Dreams’:

This is the Island of Dritch:

And this is Dinkerdire: 

These islands are very personal to me. I invented places I’d really, really, really like to go to. Places full of mystery.

You can use my islands as inspiration for this project if you like.


Part One- Minimum 45 mins: Patterns for Map Making.

This is a repetitive activity that can be really relaxing- put on some nice music while you do it. 

  1. Find four A4 sheets of paper.  Fold each one into 8 equal rectangles
  2. open each sheet out
  3. Label two sheets ‘Sea’
  4. Label two sheets ‘Land’
  5. Fill each rectangle with a pattern to show something you find on the sea or land. So, for example, for the sea one, you might have an area for where killer fish live, where you might do lots of little drawings of scary fish. Keep the patterns really simple- you need to find drawings you can draw over and over again. Practice on a separate sheet of paper if you want to. My example below shows what to do.
  6. You can be as creative/silly/serious/scary/funny as you like. For example…what would be the pattern for a lake of custard or the forest where the evil unicorns live?
  7. Label each area. Your sheets might look a bit like this- but use your own ideas please!

Part Two: – Minimum 60 minutes – map making

  1. You’re going to make maps of 3 magical islands using your patterns. But first…
  2. Put your pencil/pen down and look at your patterns. Imagine your 3 islands.Think about the smells, sights, textures, sounds and tastes on your island.
  3. Tell someone about what you imagined.
  4. Use your patterns to draw maps of your 3 islands. You can draw other things as well as your patterns. Pack them with detail. Draw with a biro because it’s waterproof. You’ll see why later!

Your 3 Islands must be really different to each other. So one might be a really happy place, another might be really scary. One might be very modern and full of people…one might be empty.

I did one as an example. You need 3 for something we’re using them for later in the week!

 Part Four: – Minimum 30 mins – map aging

  1. Let’s make your maps look old and mysterious!
  2. Make a map-aging potion with things you can find in the kitchen. This might be a disgusting mix of strong instant coffee, tea, and perhaps a bit of soya sauce. This must be done with an adult!! Don’t use anything that goes stinky. No milk!!! And make sure surfaces are covered and you’re wearing old clothes when you do this. Did I mention? DO THIS WITH AN ADULT. PLEASE DON’T TRASH THE KITCHEN!!
  3. Test your solution  by dabbing some on a piece of scrap paper with a bit of kitchen roll or old cloth. You’re after something that makes a nice pale brown.
  4. When you’re happy with your solution, paint it on your maps with a bit of kitchen roll, tissue, or scrap cloth (an old sock works well!). It’s nice to do a bit, let it dry and then do some more so it builds up in layers.
  5. If you like, scrunch up your maps and tear the edges so they are uneven. Here’s mine. Remember you need 3!

Please feel free to send me your pictures and I’ll post them on my blog and social media!

Tomorrow we’re making monsters for our sea voyage with every day obects. Keep your disgusting map-aging solution- we’re going to need it again!