For many of us, it’s coming up on a year since the last time we were able to travel. Probably longer since we actually did. But as quarantine brings out the craftier side of us, we’ve learned that there are many ways to let your mind wander, even if your body is stuck on the living room sofa.
One of the many expat creators using this opportunity to share their work online is Jessie Kanelos Weiner, a Paris-based American expat illustrator and author of the 2018 best-seller Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide. The book, which features beautiful illustrations and curated day-long walking tours, is both a practical guide to the city, and a lovely source of Sunday afternoon daydreams. And the style takes something quotidien and makes it personal: “Everyone is so saturated with photos these days that the illustrations reinforce the timelessness of the city it inspired,” she explains.
But you don’t have to content yourself with looking at other peoples’ maps – you can make your own! Join Jessie in a virtual watercolor mapmaking class, where she will teach you how to reimagine a past experience, document your everyday life, or envision a future trip through this fun and relaxing medium. Since she’s based in Paris, she’ll be walking you through the Marais to show you how she gets inspiration for her maps. “Like a lot of creative breakthroughs, my mapmaking style was the product of a challenge,” she explains about her process for creating Paris in Stride, and how it has influenced her ever since. “I needed to straddle a balance between it being evocative of this iconic city while also being a usable guide to a neighborhood.”
But your map can be anything – your favorite Parisian neighborhood, the Main Street in your home town, or even the fraught path between your bed and the refrigerator. The class is available on Skillshare, a platform that provides access to unlimited online classes for a monthly fee of $19, or a yearly subscription of $99. But you can unlock two free weeks using this special link courtesy of Jessie. The course will run for 42 minutes, and students can upload sketches and projects on the site, where teachers and students can provide feedback.
So sign up now, and start turning your dreams and memories into a new statement piece, a thoughtful gift, or even just a shared experience with friends.