The New Voyager: Maps for Children
I am a big fan of illustration and big on traveling with kids, so I was immediately interested in Emma Swinscoe’s illustrated maps for kids. I was introduced to her sweet maps for kids via my acupuncturist and MANNA contributor, Hayley Enright. I exchanged a few emails in the middle of my epic travels with my daughter last fall and finally got the chance to sit down at Nuage Cafe to chat. She is one busy mom to two girls and splits her time between traveling Europe, Paris, and the English countryside, with her electro-musician husband. The decor of Nuage with maps, globes, and books galore, a co-working spot, was the perfect backdrop for our conversation. (More on Nuage later!) Emma has such infectious energy, is easy to talk to, and is brimming with ideas, so we quickly turned into chatterboxes. However eventually I had to bring our conversation back to maps and her latest venture.
So you started your professional career as a journalist right? Journalism and mapmaking. I can see how the two go together, but can you tell us how you moved from being a journalist to making maps for children?
I have always loved traveling and writing. That is what drew me to journalism and what inspired me to create The New Voyager over a year ago. I was the Foreign Correspondent of the French Elle in New York for five years. Part of my job was to explore New York City to uncover new trends and cool spots. I enjoyed it so much that I ended up writing a New York City guide book! (Le New York des Paresseuses/Marabout)
I feel this experience, along with living in the US, deeply influenced me and laid the ground for the New Voyager.
Did you always love maps? And why illustrated maps?
Maps have always fascinated me. They are wonderful imaginary ways to create a story.
Just by looking at them the journey begins! When I started to travel with my family I was always on the lookout for cool kid-friendly places we could visit and enjoy together. I would often pin down addresses on the maps we used and our girls loved looking at them. The idea of creating a collection of city maps for children slowly grew on me. I realized it would be another great way to combine my passions for traveling and writing.
How do you hope kids will use the maps?
I hope children will have fun exploring and using the maps!
The idea behind The New Voyager is for young kids to get involved in their family’s travel, for them to be the ones saying to their parents: “Can we please go see this museum and play in this park?” I also hope the maps will become special objects for them to cherish and hang on their walls as souvenirs after their travels.
What process do you follow when you choose a new city for a map?
Once I have a travel destination in mind (so far places I have lived in with my family), I spend quite a bit of time looking for the right artist to draw and hand paint the map. I want each city to be illustrated by a local artist. I direct the illustrator on how to shape the identity of the map. I usually have a pretty clear vision in mind along with a list of places that will be featured on the city guide.
I also work very closely with Alexandra Ruiz, a wonderful graphic designer at the head of the Swiss Agency Madame Paris. She does the layout for all the guides and works with our printers. She is the right side of the New Voyager’s brain.
Can you tell us about some of the illustrators you have worked with, maybe how you found them or why you chose to work with them?
Keiko Brodeur, the American artist behind the stationery line Small Adventure, illustrated The New Voyager Map in Los Angeles. I have been fond of her work for years. I love how her drawings are inspired by nature and outdoor life.
The artist Steffie Brocoli went to the prestigious Ecole Estienne in Paris. She also wrote a couple of great children’s books. I discovered her work while browsing at L’Illustre Boutique in Paris (an incredible shop specializing in illustration). I was totally captivated by a world map she had drawn, and by the energy and uniqueness that come out of her artwork.
Can you share your 3 favorite places to travel with your family?
1. Positano in Italy: the cutest and most charming village on the Amalfi Coast, with cats sleeping on old stairways, ice-cream parlors to die for, and lemons that smell divine.
2. Ojai in California: a bohemian town just a couple hours away from Los Angeles, with stunning mountains, ranches, and an incredible outdoor second hand bookstore.
3. Le Crotoy in France: a small seaside village only two hours from Paris, facing the wild Bay de Somme. The light there is incredible. I highly recommend staying at the hotel Les Tourelles for its stunning location and eco and kid friendly vibes.
What’s next for the New Voyager?
Our Brooklyn Map should be coming out this June and I’m already planning and getting very excited about the next one, London!
GIVEAWAY: We are giving away a set of maps from The New Voyager. It’s pretty simple to enter. 1. Head over to Instagram and follow @manna_paris and @thenewvoyager 2. Tag a friend on the @manna_paris acct and tell us your favorite place to travel with kids. C’est simple!
Rules and conditions: The set of maps includes Paris and Los Angeles and is open to all participants internationally. Contest starts Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm and ends Saturday, May 7, 2016 at midnight Paris time.
UPDATE: This contest has been closed.