Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Tom McNeely and National Geographic's "Making of America"

During the 1980s, Tom McNeely illustrated a series of 17 "Making of America" maps for National Geographic. Today being Independence Day, I thought these three originals from the series, which I happen to own, might be a nice way to celebrate the occasion.

Here, with Tom's acetate overlay still in place, is the "Making of America" art for New England.



I was able to find a scan online of the printed map title area for comparison.


Below, the original art from the "Making of America" map of Texas.


A couple of close-ups...



Finally, here is what I think might be the art for a "Making of America" map of Virginia. No overlay or pencil notes on the back of this one... but still; a really fine piece of work by a fantastic illustrator.


Happy July 4th to all our American friends and family!


  1. What absolutely gorgeous artwork! There is a wonderful warmth and luminosity to these watercolour illustrations. Thanks too, Leif, for including the distinct ragged edge of the watercolour paper with these scans. It's always helpful to see what sort of surface the artist was working on as we analyze their process. I'm really enjoying all of this art by Tom McNeely!

  2. Excellent review! Love all the original artwork and layouts. Happy 4th!

  3. stephen11:53 PM

    The Virginia artwork is from the Tidewater Making of America map from 1988. It was the last of the 17 maps from that series. Tom McNeely also did the artwork for the British Columbia Making of Canada map in 1992.