$8,000 Contest!

Mapping Special Places Contest Challenge

Create a map of a place that is very special to you⁠—a neighborhood or city you know very well and love greatly. Imagine you are taking your best friend to this place...

What sites would you see? What activities would you do? What museums might you visit? Where will you grab a coffee or enjoy a meal? What experiences will you have?

Your map will serve both as a guide for others as well as a commemoration of your very special place. 


See all 317 contest entries

Contest Sponsor

Our contest sponsor Stroly loves illustrated maps as much as we do! Stroly takes this art form one high-tech step further by allowing artists to place GPS pinpoints on the sites they include within their map illustrations. Stroly is an online platform that converts illustrated and designed maps into interactive maps for everyone in the world to use and enjoy.

Cash Prizes

Four (4) Grand Prize Winners will receive $2,000 USD each.

Publication Prizes

100 winners (“100 Stroly Faves”) will be reproduced within a book published by They Draw & Travel. Upon selection, each of these winners must create an account on Stroly because the book will contain a QR code that will direct viewers to this map collection on Stroly's website. These winners (and their friends and family) will be given the chance to purchase unlimited copies of this book from Amazon at TDAT’s wholesale price.

See the 100 Stroly Faves.


The deadline was 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, November 17, 2019. View the 317 submissions.

Map Guidelines

  • Anyone may submit a map, but only persons 18+ years can win
  • Your map must be an original and unpublished work of your art
  • Your map must depict an actual place on Earth
  • Your map must focus on a neighborhood, city, or region
  • Your map must be navigable by containing illustrated references to actual sites (parks, rivers, roads, businesses, museums, landmarks, etc.)
  • Your map may be distorted. No need to trace a Google Map!
  • Yes, you may submit multiple maps!

File Guidelines

  • Scanning File Size: 16.667" W x 6.25" H and 300 dpi
  • Digital File Size: 5000px W x 1875px H
  • File Type: JPG or PNG, RGB color
  • Files must be submitted via TDAT’s Submit a Map page 

Layout Guidelines

100 maps will be reproduced in a book published by They Draw & Travel. To be eligible, it is important that no text sits in the 1.25" space in the middle of the illustration. In a TDAT book, the illustration spans the left and right pages and we don't want text to be unreadable because it sits within this space (called the gutter). It's OK for artwork and color to be there, but no text!

Judging Criteria

  • Inspiration: Does the map make you want to visit this place?
  • Concept: Does the map have an interesting story or theme?
  • Accuracy: Are the sites fairly accurately placed?
  • Technique: Does the illustration style appear well-executed?
  • Typography: Is the type or hand-lettering smartly placed and legible?

The judges include TDAT co-founders Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell and 2 representatives from contest sponsor Stroly, Inc. The judges have the right to limit submissions to those of sufficient and suitable quality. 


Winners were announced on our this page, our website homepage, our Instagram feed (follow us!), and via an email newsletter (subscribe!) on Thursday, November 21, 2019.

Creative Resources

Do you need a little help getting started? Is this the first time you've tried to illustrate a map? Here are some helpful resources to kickstart your mapmaking.


Shoot Nate a quick email. There is no such thing as a dumb question!

The $2,000 Grand Prize Winners

St Pauli Curtain Pub Crawl by Stephanie Hofmann.
Read more and leave a comment for Stephanie.

The judges say: "We want to go on this all night pub crawl with Stephanie! This map has an amazing cast of characters (the ghost! the critters! the locals!) who give this map a ton of personality. Stephanie has carved out a very specific tour that only a local could provide and she even included a few places to eat along the way—that helps—burp!"

Naoshima: Japan's Art Island by Vivian Yiwing
Read more and leave a comment for Vivian.

The judges say: "We love when a map teaches us about a place we never knew existed! Vivian’s map has put this island on our list of future destinations. Of course, her illustration style is amazing. This map could unfold into an entire illustrated book about this island! Vivian's iconography is full of energy and depicts not only the buildings and museums, but also the artwork, the food, and the people who make this little island so special. When we visit, we only need to bring this map!"

Húsavík, the Whale Capital of Iceland by Rena Ortega
Read more and leave a comment for Rena.

The judges say: "We love the scene that Rena created in her birds-eye view of this sweet little town. It feels like we are hiking along that ridge with her. The whales draw us in, then we are beautifully guided by her illustrated narration—“Take a yoga class,” “Taste the lobster soup,” “Relax in geothermal baths.” OK, yes, will do!!"

The Paris of Marie Antoinette by Rachel Schmiedel
Read more and leave a comment for Rachel.

The judges say: "We love this map because it offers up a very unique and specific view of Paris, one in which a visitor not only learns about this slice of history, but also is taken to places all around the city. Rachel’s illustration style is classic and fun at the same time. We love the combination of architectural sites and yummy food, while the people in period dress signal to the this map’s history. Rachel’s captions help give significance to each site and make us want to learn more and experience them in person!"

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo


As with all submissions to this site, the artist always owns the copyright to their work! Our terms only grant us rights to display it.

General Rules:

Open to all people, 18 years or older as of the time of entry. Employees of STROLY and TDAT, and persons living in the same household, and the immediate families of each may enter, but may not be selected as a cash prize winner.  By participating, entrants agree to abide by and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Judges. In the event of a dispute as to identity of an online entrant, entries will be deemed made by the name appearing on the entry. Contest Entities are not responsible for technical, hardware or software malfunctions, lost or unavailable network connections, undeliverable email, or failed, incorrect, inaccurate, incomplete, garbled or delayed electronic communications, telephone, telephone line or other telephone related problems or errors, whether caused by the sender or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in this Contest, or by any human error which may occur in the processing of the entries in this Contest.  If, in the Judges' opinion, there is any suspected or actual evidence of tampering with any portion of the Contest, or if technical difficulties compromise the integrity of the Contest, the Judges reserve the right to terminate the Contest and determine a winner using all eligible entries received as of the date of termination or to modify the Contest in a manner deemed appropriate by the Judges.

Rights in Submissions: 

All entrants agree to They Draw & Travel’s Terms of Service.

Additionally, the creators of the 100 Publication Prize winners (“100 Stroly Faves”) agree to create a Stroly account and upload their map to their account. They agree that their winning map illustration will live for at least one (1) year on the Stroly website. 

Each entrant agrees and acknowledges that participation in the Contest, including, without limitation, the entrant's decision to provide the entrant's submission to Sponsor for purposes of the Contest, shall not give rise to any confidential, fiduciary, implied-in-fact, implied-in-law, or other special relationship between the Contest Entities and entrant, does not place the Contest Entities in a position that is any different from the position held by members of the general public with regard to elements of the entrant's submission, and that the only contracts, express or implied, between the Contest Entities and entrant are as set forth in these Official Rules. In addition, by participating in the Contest, each entrant hereby grants permission (except where prohibited by law) for the Contest Entities to use entrant’s submission, name, likeness, voice, quotes, comments, biographical information, photograph and/or image for the purpose of advertising, trade, or promotion without further notice, permission, compensation or consideration in any and all media now known or hereafter developed throughout the universe, unless prohibited by law.