I wanted to create another map after I enjoyed making the illustrated map of West Yorkshire so much, but wanted to work on something a little different with a fantasy twist. Some of the characters are heavily inspired / blatantly stolen from the worlds of Studio Ghibli, Greek myths and Skyrim. I wanted to create something fun that could also be played as a simple snakes and ladders type game. I toyed with the idea of adding text and instructions eg. if you land on the square with the dancing rabbit men you have to do a little jig, but then thought it worked better if just left open and you can just make up your own rules if you want.
I think I was also playing on an old childhood memory of playing a German board game called Labyrinth. It’s a tile-laying game with lots of cardboard squares featuring different monsters and treasures. I had a German version with no English translation so just made up some random rules of my own. I just remember really liking the artwork and sliding the tiles around the board… simple pleasures!
I approached this illustration slightly differently too and didn’t use a pencil sketch to begin with. Just made it straight into Illustrator. I did do a few sketches one night to get a few ideas for characters and vegetation down before I forgot them.