Lake Merritt Tea Towel

Around Lake Merritt map tea towel by Lellobird

Available for sale on fabric and finished towels at Spoonflower and as an art print (and more!) at Society6

I’ve wanted to do a map like this of Lake Merritt for a long time, and I’m so glad I finally got around to it! I used Tom Froese’s Inky Maps class on Skillshare to learn some new ink and Photoshop skills along the way.

Inky road for Lake Merritt map

It took me a few iterations to simplify things and figured out what details to include and which to eliminate. I particularly enjoyed painting the roads with ink and a brush – I’d never combined those two things before, and found it kind of meditative and it forced me to simplify, versus doing it digitally. I got some accidental ink spatters when wiping my brush, but ended up deciding I liked the effect and did more of them to use for texture – happy accidents!

Sketches for Lake Merritt map by Lellobird

It was fun to think about all the quirky features around the lake and decide what to include on the map and how to represent them. I think I’d like to go back and add a few more places to the next version of this map.

Detail from Lake Merritt Map by Lellobird

People are always hard for me to simplify, so I’m particularly happy with how the gondolier (yes, there really are gondolas on the lake, although the jury’s still out on the lake monster), bicyclist and scooter rider turned out – there’s some blood sweat and tears behind them!