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The winning entry will be published as a full page advertisement for Fotolia in
HOW Magazine with credit to the artist.
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Something's happened. Whether it was a catastrophic earthquake, a nasty alien invasion, or an accidental push of the Big Red Button, the world, as we know it, has come to an end. But what happens in the aftermath? Fotolia's #StockProject and deviantART want to see your vision of life after some type of catastrophic, world-changing event.

Using one of the three stock images from Fotolia, show us your visions of new beginnings at the end of times.

Download Assets
Download the asset pack and choose one of the three provided stock images below as the base and inspiration for your entry.

Choose one of three iconic stock photos to alter to show life in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event.

Please be as creative as you like while maintaining the position of the core components in these iconic photos to maximize the before and after comparison.

Read Official Rules

To enter submit your artwork to the

Fotolia 4: Stockpocalypse Challenge gallery.

Submit Work
Browse Work

  • Winning entry as a full page advertisement for Fotolia

    in HOW Magazine with credit

    to artist.**

  • $1,000 USD
  • $100 USD of credits at

  • Winner's choice of either the

    Wacom Intuos5 touch Large Pen

    Tablet or The New iPad (16GB black)

  • 6,000 deviantART Points
  • dA Pro Digital Artist Backpack
  • DeviantART hoodie of winner's choice*
  • 1-Year Premium Membership

    to deviantART

Advertising layout subject to change, but artist's credit will be

included in the ultimate ad design.

  • $750 USD
  • $50 USD of credits at

  • Wacom Bamboo Create Pen & Tablet
  • 2,000 deviantART Points
  • dA Pro Digital Artist Backpack
  • DeviantART T-Shirt of winner's choice*
  • 6-Month Premium Membership

    to deviantART

  • $500 USD
  • $50 USD of credits at

  • Wacom Bamboo Create Pen & Tablet
  • 2,000 deviantART Points
  • dA Pro Digital Artist Backpack
  • DeviantART T-Shirt of winner's choice*
  • 6-Month Premium Membership

    to deviantART

  • $25 USD of credits at
  • 800 deviantART Points
  • DeviantART T-Shirt of winner's choice*
  • 3-month Premium Membership to deviantART

*Depending on availability.

Read more about HOW Magazine! Sign up and enjoy

free stock images from Fotolia at #StockProject!

:icontechgnotic: Aug 29, 2012 by techgnotic

I am bringing your attention to a documentary, Beauty is Embarrassing, that
deeply inspired me after a screening last week. The life wisdom and positive
philosophy unfolding over a lifetime of living as an artist was deeply motivating.
I invited Wayne White, the subject of this documentary, to join deviantART afterwards.
I thought this would be something you would enjoy no matter where you might be at
on your own personal journey as an artist. While watching this I was also reminded
of the heartfelt explanations by many artists of what it means to choose the life of an Artist.

"Do what you love, It's going to lead where you want to go."


Please stop and say hello and welcome seewaynewhite in his first week at deviantART.

A strange thing happened at a local café called Fred 62, a sudden sense of something
askew in the universe. I realized it was the painting hanging on the wall above my friend’s
head. Could that really be the mundane landscape painting that hung on the wall in one of
the rooms in my child hood home? Why yes, it is. But the painting has been … infiltrated.
Geometric shapes now hung in the air above the autumnal scud of fallen leaves. Then you get
it: the shapes are actual words. The painting is protesting its near-purposeless existence
by breaking the fourth wall and “speaking” to me. And it’s saying: FoodBasedLifestyleEnhancement –
which is really funny, given the theatre of this moment. What is this? Graffiti? Tagging?

Wayne calls his word paintings and his other creations his “beautiful things” and he exhorts
other artists to ignore the pull of “seriousness” (in hopes of being officially declared “real”)
and instead be guided by what brings them joy to create, to do whatever it is creatively that
makes them happy. Fun and funny shouldn’t be anathema to the “serious artist” – the moment of
laughing at a joke one isn’t even sure one really understands… that should be the most sacred
artistic epiphany.

What I unknowingly discovered is Wayne White’s “word paintings.” Wayne “samples” (buys) otherwise
pointless examples of forgettable paintings, mostly landscapes, and then he paints his messages across
them like billboard credits kicking off a movie. His messages tend to be funny, sometimes deeply poignant
and are often slightly obscene. Not that pure juvenile silliness isn’t his guiding principle. The official
art world doesn’t quite know what to make of Wayne’s increasing popularity and the success he’s experiencing
after a lifetime of being a “jack-of-all-trades” artist. They’ve hung a general “surrealist/pop artist”
label on him and dismissed him as a “non-serious Ed Ruscha.” But Wayne White’s art, funny and silly and profane
as it might be, is far from being a joke. He’s a man and an artist on a mission.

If your first experience of Wayne’s art is his “word paintings,” then you’ve come in late to an amazingly
multifaceted and storied adventure that has been his creative life. It’s a life now documented in a new film,
"Beauty is Embarrassing," which every creative person will enjoy immeasurably and will provide every person seeking
the secret to “what makes the artist tick” with palpable insights. His journey has been as long, oblique and
serendipitous as only a lifelong muse-driven pure artist’s journey can be. Wayne left his home in Tennessee to become
a cartoonist and illustrator for some of the hippest pop-art-laden publications of the day, like The Village Voice.
He then became one of the driving creative forces on the now legendary Pee Wee Herman Show, creating props and puppets
and performing voices. He won three Emmy Awards. His puppetry and art direction talents earned him awards for music
videos as well, including Peter Gabriel’s Big Time and the Smashing Pumpkins’ amazing George Melies-inspired Tonight,
Tonight. But it’s his word paintings that are finally making his name known. Are they “real” art? Or is this some kind
of a joke? It’s Wayne’s mission in life as an artist to address this endlessly-arising “question” so vital to
conversations concerning "high art."

An Interview withWayne White

Your “word paintings” “sample” pre-existing paintings of kitschy landscapes (i.e., depressing Americana memes).
Do you feel a kinship with early rappers who reinvented music in a similar way, sampling tapes in bargain bins?

Not really. Even though there is a similar aesthetic of recycling. I've recycled junks since the 70's... way before
rap came along. But like rappers I do feel like i'm collaborating with the original artist and harmonizing with the work.

In what ways have your non-fans in the official art world sought to delegitimize your art and your very status
as an artist?  They seem to believe that as an artist provocateur injecting humor into fine art, you are a major threat.
What is this perceived threat?  Why are they so threatened?

First of all I am not perceived as a major threat. if anything I'm perceived as an imitator of Ed Ruscha because I live
in L.A. and I use text. I wish I was a major threat. That would be fun! But I'm afraid I don't have that kind of power. I guess
some people are threatened by humor in fine art because they see it as a corrupting influence.

Your credo that the purpose of artists is to create beautiful things, and your belief that humor is a major part of the “beautiful” might indicate that you hold technical art “study” in low regard. Is there as much point in studying why a portrait is “beautiful” as there is in analyzing why one laughs at a joke?  In fact, as with “deconstructing” jokes, the analysis itself destroys the joke. Do you in fact prefer to remain “awed” by great art and laughing at funny art as the highest tribute to be paid to art (critics be damned)?

The creative act is not an act of analysis. It’s an in the moment spontaneous experience. The analysis comes later by the viewer and the arts. And yes too much analysis sucks the juice out of anything so its the challenge for the artist and the viewer when they are confronting art and humor.

Your broad artistic palate, stretching from painting to cartooning to video to puppetry, indicates a wildly wandering artistic consciousness.  As someone who simply creates, like a mountain climber, “because it’s there,” do you ever feel the need to let the rational part of your mind catch up with the creative part of your mind that is so obviously in control of the show?

I try to keep it strictly creative in the studio. After the physical act of creating something the rational mind always takes over and starts to analyze it so its always a balancing act. Nobody is 100% creative or 100% rational.

What would you say to someone who thinks your art “mocks” art?

Uh.. Thank you.

What would you say to someone who says you’re talented enough to be a “real artist,” if only you’d take it more seriously?

Fuck you. Seriously.

What’s the most important compliment you’ve ever received from someone whose opinions on art you really respect?  

Joel Hodgson called my paintings "magic" and that's coming from a magician!

What would your advice be to a young artist with interests in multiple disciplines and mediums just embarking on a lifetime of making art?

Don't let anybody tell you that you have to concentrate on one thing. You don't. It’s possible to cross over as many times as you want. I think crossing over is a healthy and invigorating thing to do. It freshens up all the genres. Many teachers will try to pigeon hole you unfortunately. Don't listen to them!

QuestionsFor the Reader

  1. When an artwork makes you laugh, do you consciously (or subconsciously) label the work as “not serious art” regardless of the artist’s creativity and talent?
  2. Has there been one moment in your life above all others when you were absolutely awestruck (“embarrassed”) to be in the presence of a particular artwork? Can you compare this with laugh you laughed at the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced in your life?  Are beauty and humor necessities of life – or the whole point of life?

Watch the trailer: Beauty is Embarrassing

Beauty is Embarrassing directed by Neil Berkely hits theatres on Sept. 7th.

In our continuous effort to improve the deviantART experience, we're publishing weekly Site Updates to keep members informed and to gather feedback. Below is a list of recent changes to the site, bug fixes, and feedback that was brought up by members in the last Site Update.

New deviantART Thumbnails

This feature will be rolled out to everyone over the next few days.

DeviantART's thumbnail images just got bigger and better! Starting today, we've increased the size of deviantART's thumbnails and, by popular demand from the community, we're also giving you a "Thumbnail Grid" mode.

Here's a run-down of what's changed:
  • We've made all thumbnails bigger!
  • Deviations display in tidier rows with no unnecessary cropping, allowing you to see the art as it's meant to be seen!
  • For literature thumbnails, the background has been lightened and much more room is given for text.
  • Very tall and very wide deviations zoom in on the image instead of showing a hard-to-click, hard-to-see skinny thumbnail. We wanted to keep cropping to a minimum, but we think this new approach is much better for the artwork.
  • Frames have been added around wide, small, and transparent deviations to keep each row tidy.
  • The information underneath each thumbnail is left aligned for better readability.
  • The Newest and Popular sorting options have been combined into one menu to simplify things and save space. 
From Browse and Search pages, you can switch between Thumb Wall view and Thumb Grid view, giving you control over how the new thumbnails display. 

Thumbmode by $danlev

Thumb Wall

A compact and dynamic wall of art.

The Thumb Wall places several deviations in each row and will justify their placement based on the size setting for the browser. This allows for a dynamic view to deviations, where each row will bring you new art to look at. Because of the displacement of artwork based on the row justification, every piece of art is given the chance to stand out!

Thumbwall by danlev

Thumb Grid

A tidy grid of art.

The Thumb Grid was designed with the organized member in mind. For users who like their viewing experience to be orderly, the Thumb Grid sticks to a certain number of deviations per row based on the size of the browser, and it keeps deviations in columns, so that deviations are presented evenly spaced and each piece of art is given a bit of room to breathe.

Thumbgrid by danlev

Try it out: Browse Now

Change Log

  • All users have been migrated from our outdated time zone and daylight saving time settings to a proper time zone. This means that future daylight saving time changes should be automatic and more accurate. Please check your settings to verify that the timezone we have placed you in is correct. Fixed by $shadowhand
  • The deviantART World Map has been overhauled!  The frame rate of animations has been doubled, items now wrap around the world through the Pacific Ocean, and the shadow map properly refreshes itself. Added by $kouiskas
  • Groups that were closed and then re-established did not track pageviews accurately. Fixed by $shadowhand
  • The FAQ breadcrumbs were not properly formatted. Fixed by $DEVlANT
  • Users of some popular extensions for Google Chrome experienced browsing errors after updates were made to those extensions. Fixed by $muteor
  • The Edit button went missing from Group Journals. Fixed by $ZombieCoder
  • Em dashes (—) stopped working in Journal titles. Fixed by $shadowhand
  • Links to literature deviations in the Featured Deviation widget resulted in 404 errors. Fixed by $KnightAR
  • The "More Journal Entries" link being was cut off on user pages. Fixed by $shahyarg
  • Deactivated accounts were able to collect folders. Fixed by $muteor
  • The "Comments Disabled" box was not properly formatted when the deviation was viewed while navigating using the "next" and "previous" buttons. Fixed by $shadowhand
  • Ctrl+clicking on stacks in the Message Center did not open the stack as expected. Fixed by $DEVlANT
  • When activating Edit mode on a profile that had a video embedded, the video overlapped into the Edit page. Fixed by $shahyarg
  • Improvements have been made to error messages in the Shop cart. Fixed by $KnightAR
  • For some users, the deviantID picture was impossible to change after upgrading to the new deviantID widget. Fixed by $DEVlANT
  • The logos used for the Share buttons were out of date, and the Twitter logo was incorrect throughout the site. Fixed by $drommk
  • The Featured folder was not an option for the Gallery Folders widget for Groups. Fixed by $DEVlANT
  • The oAuth API Application approval was not showing the information details for apps. Fixed by $KnightAR
  • Getting blocked by a Group erroneously removed all favourites that the blocked user shared with the group. Only deviations that are exclusive to that Group should have been removed from favourites, consistent with user block. Fixed by $shadowhand

  • Middle-clicking now opens items in new tabs. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • A strange link was appearing on for logged out users that should have linked to the deviantART signup page. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • A broken warning was appearing when typing long stack titles. Fixed by $aMoniker
  • Publicly shared stacks were incorrectly displaying the site update articles and creation buttons. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • When changing sizes while editing an item, reopening the menu wouldn't show the updated preference. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • When viewing a deviantART muro redraw in after submitting it and never having visited before, one would appear logged out in Internet Explorer. Fixed by $samshull
  • The display of the description preview in the item editor has been improved. Fixed by $aMoniker
  • The Note Share button was missing on items. Fixed by $aMoniker
  • The Group Folder section of the Submit page would be too tall and unusable if Groups had many folders. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • The pages icon in the header was misaligned on stacks. Fixed by $samshull
  • When viewing someone else's item, the author attribution in the header wouldn't appear. Fixed by $kouiskas Writer

  • Certain events weren't triggering a Writer autosave. Fixed by $kemayo
  • DeviantART Muro redraw embeds shrunk suddenly when you resized them. Fixed by $Alisey
  • Old Journal skins had far too much padding when editing in Writer. Fixed by $Alisey

Your Feedback

Thanks for your feedback on last week's Site Update!
  • Several users mentioned wanting to see Channels more prominently placed. Some said that they would like to see Channels incorporated into the Message Center, provided it didn't add to the message total. Others said they would like to see it included as part of the main page.
  • =Hoshiichan mentioned that Channels are easy to overlook in favor of regular browsing, simply because of their placement in the footer. ~DeviBrigard said that it's easy to not notice the fact that Channels are present in the footer to begin with.
  • Feedback about the Watch Redraw button was entirely positive!
  • Users would like to personally set what deviations show up in the "More from this user" section of their deviations' pages. Suggested by *InsaneKane87
  • Users would like for Super Groups to be able to set folder icons the way Premium Members can. Suggested by ~careas
  • Users would like to be able to view more than 24 deviations/stacks at a time in the Message Center. Suggested by ~Yamitora1
  • Users would like a way to edit submitted deviations drawn in deviantART muro through deviantART muro. Suggested by *Roxyielle


New Thumbnails
How do you feel about the new Thumbnails? Which mode do you prefer: Thumb Wall or Thumb Grid? We'd love to hear how your browsing experience has changed!

 Lightbulb Have a suggestion, idea, or feedback? Leave a comment on this article!
:bug: Find a bug? Report it to the Help Desk(Be as detailed as possible!)

In our continuous effort to improve the deviantART experience, we're publishing weekly Site Updates to keep members informed and to gather feedback. Below is a list of recent changes to the site, bug fixes, and feedback that was brought up by members in the last Site Update.

What's New

For Beta Testers: Thumb Grid!

Back in April we launched the new deviantART thumbnails to the Beta Testers. Over the last few months we've received a great deal of feedback from the community. We're always working to ensure that we put out products that are best for our community, and so today we'd like to announce some new options being added to these thumbnails to give you the best browsing experience.

Try the new thumbnail images by upgrading to a Premium Membership and becoming a Beta Tester.

Redraw Button

When deviants submit artwork drawn in deviantART muro, they have the option to post their work as a Redraw, or as the original image. For many users, this was preventing them from viewing the full artwork when they couldn't or didn't want to watch the video. As of today, that problem has been fixed! A "Watch Redraw" button has been added to deviations that have redraw enabled, so that when a user opens a redraw deviation, they will be met with the completed artwork first, and can then choose to watch the redraw.

My Earnings

My Earnings is now accessible via the Shop dropdown menu in the site header. My Earnings lets you view your earnings from your Prints and Premium Content sales, and allows you to receive payments.

Change Log

  • "My Earnings Inquiry" has been added as a Help Desk category for all of your accounting questions. Added by $shahyarg
  • The Prints FAQ has been merged into our main FAQ and is now searchable. Merged by $DEVlANT
  • Outdated daily Help Desk tips have been removed from our FAQ. Fixed by $DEVlANT
  • Social media "Share" buttons should now be consistent throughout the site. Fixed by $drommk
  • For a short time, Journals submitted with the old journal submission page could only be submitted to the Journals > Personal category. Fixed by $KnightAR
  • Voting on Gallery submissions in large Groups would sometimes time out or fail. Fixed by $randomduck
  • Deviants were unable to select certain folders for Group Gallery submissions if those folders contained subfolders. Fixed by $muteor
  • Prints in the shopping cart were losing their frame when multiple Prints of the same deviation were ordered. Fixed by $KnightAR
  • An issue with USPS prevented international orders from taking advantage of our Free Economy Shipping promotion. Fixed by $KnightAR
  • Various typos and layout issues with the Cart were addressed. Fixed by $shahyarg
  • Notes to multiple recipients were not displaying all recipients. Fixed by $DEVlANT
  • Discovered default thumbnails for literature deviations were getting overwritten by improper images.  Fixed by sgrahamUK
  • A Group's Featured folder will now appear in the Gallery Folders module on the group homepage. Fixed by $DEVlANT
  • The Featured folder was unexpectedly showing up in the Gallery Folders column in member Galleries. Fixed by $ZombieCoder
  • Deviation notices would sometimes fail to deliver to a small portion of a deviant's watchers if they had a very large number of watchers. A special thanks to `Hellobaby and all of her watchers for exposing this bug and assisting us with troubleshooting it! Fixed by $randomduck

deviantART muro 

  • Some issues that caused images to be corrupted in deviantART muro were fixed. Fixed by sgrahamUK and $mudimba

  • Clicking on the logo while looking at a file in a stack only brought memebrs one level up, not all the way to the root. Fixed by $aMoniker
  • The licensing dropdown would lose memory of its settings when reopened right away. Fixed by $aMoniker
  • The labels in the licensing dropdown are now clickable. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • Hovering on the menu above PDF items would make them vanish. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • Page titles were inconsistent. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • When loading a folder URL directly, the placeholder text for an empty description would be missing. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • Category-related errors are now delayed until submission is attempted. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • The File/Edit menus were getting stuck at the top of the page when opened on a scrolled page. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • Pressing enter while renaming a stack wasn't working in all browsers. Fixed by $kouiskas and $aMoniker
  • It was possible to enable Prints on Scraps under some conditions. Fixed by $aMoniker
  • When turning on Critique, the editor didn't reflect the fact that it also turns on comments (which can then be disabled if needed). Fixed by $kouiskas
  • Items that were originally uploaded as non-image files could be turned into broken image items by changing the main file to an image. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • The preview area of published items lacking a preview image had the wrong background. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • The "Collections" link was mistakenly appearing underneath the comment box. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • The "More Options" link on a published deviation was styled improperly. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • When editing a published deviation on a tall browser window, a mismatched background would be visible. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • The title and description area of a stack would jump around when going in and out of editing. Fixed by $aMoniker
  • Files uploaded as a stack would be in reverse order. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • Changing the preview image of an item wouldn't update the preview until changes were saved. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • When updating the main image or preview of an item and closing the editor, the item page and the preview in the root/folder wouldn't be updated with the new image. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • The description box when editing an item would be wrongly sized with the handle in the wrong spot. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • Reloading the URL of a published item with an #edit parameter would reopen the editor. Fixed by $kouiskas
  • Pressing "Save & Exit" wouldn't visually convey that there is an ongoing saving process. Fixed by $samshull
  • The pages icon in the header would look hovered when the mouse cursor was next to it. Fixed by $kouiskas Writer

  • Progress bars for embeds now become browser-default broken images if they fail. Fixed by $kemayo
  • In certain situations, the WYTIWYG functionality of Writer would incorrectly parse some HTML. Fixed by $kemayo
  • Writer titles have been restricted to the same parameters as valid deviation titles, so it is consistent. Fixed by $Alisey
  • Hitting tab in the title field didn't take you directly to the main body. Fixed by $Alisey
  • Embedding a "File" deviation produced a broken progress bar. Fixed by $Alisey
  • Muro-created deviations had a blank "embed" code in the share menu. Fixed by $kemayo
  • Undoing a drag and drop from the sidebar reverted the image to a progress bar. Fixed by $Alisey

Your Feedback

Thanks very much for the feedback left on last week's Site Update! Here are some of the suggestions you left for us.
  • Many users mentioned that they don't actively use Channels, and some did not know Channels existed in the first place, though several users mentioned wanting to use it upon hearing about it and how others use it. 
  • ~SandFan suggested that slide bars could be incorporated into Channels, so that users could effectively browse several topics from that one page.
  • =FantasyLost suggested that users should be able to rename their Channels, so that they can easier identify each Channel.
  • There were mixed feelings toward the suggestion of the user Gallery displaying the same as Group Galleries do. Several users would rather their Featured folder remain prominent.
  • Users would like polls to remain visible after a Premium Membership expires, even if voting/commenting was disabled. Suggested by ~icytemporalist 
  • It would be helpful for a user's correspondence messages to display which folder their Group submission was sent to or requested in. Suggested by ~Blue-Koi and *sakky-attack
  • Users would like to drag folders into other folders, so that folder and subfolder management is more fluid. Suggested by =Aty-S-Behsam and =justalittleknotty
  • It would be nice for the slideshow feature to randomize the order artwork is shown in. Suggested by ~noneli
  • Users would like to be able to see which Group Gallery folder a deviation is in from the deviation page, rather than having to go search for it. Suggested by ~dehydromon
  • Submitting to Groups you are a member of should be part of the basic submission process. Suggested by ~isthisrubble
  • Users would like to have a complete view of their Points transaction history, rather than just two pages. Suggested by =Snow-Body and =Hershey-Star-Lover88


Thank you for the feedback you left about Channels last week, it's greatly appreciated! For the users who do actively use Channels, some track new artwork in certain categories, and others track certain search terms. Some users mentioned that they would like Channels to be more prominent on site, perhaps by being incorporated into the Message Center.
  • ^Elandria mentioned that she uses Channels to see what's been recently submitted to the Resources gallery, and also has channels set to find her icon or username to see what is created using her stock images.
  • =rosaarvensis said she sets several different Channels to view several different categories and specific search terms, rather than having to actively go to each category and search.
  • CrimsonReach mentioned using several Channels to see both new art and popular art on subjects she's interested in, so that the results she wants to see are on one page, rather than having to toggle between newest and popular on the Search page.
In addition, several users mentioned that they would use Channels more actively if they were more prominently displayed on site. With these options in mind, would you be more inclined to use Channels? If you wouldn't use Channels in the ways mentioned here, but still do/want to use Channels, how would you use them? If Channels were made more prominent, where would you like to see them?

 Lightbulb Have a suggestion, idea, or feedback? Leave a comment on this article!
:bug: Find a bug? Report it to the Help Desk(Be as detailed as possible!)

"Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground."—Prof. Albus Dumbledore

Early life becomes an exploration of invisible parameters, circles beyond circles, as one pushes out to test the boundaries of safety. There is one’s bedroom, one’s home, neighborhood, school and town, state and nation. Early on, maps become important documents – declarations of being and rights and privileges. In the art world, throughout history, maps have been a constant measure of human progress, from the Phoenecians recording their trade routes over 2000 years ago, or pre-Columbian times in which maps pictured the world as a flat chessboard balanced atop huge elephants or whales, the oceans spilling over the edges as waterfalls in infinite space – to the latest details of the surface of Mars, courtesy of the Curiosity probe. There’s something beyond the purely practical in always knowing where you’re at, look no further the mania of checking in with digital GPS devices. Somehow, just knowing you have a map in your pocket to guide you, maybe even one that speaks to you is a kind of a liberating power over the common frustrations of life.

The opening credits of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” features a massive raised relief map of the series’ warring kingdoms. In genre fiction, maps of the mythic lands in which the stories take place have always been a special enjoyment. From finding the Garden of Eden, to elaborate maps guiding Indy on his quest for the Holy Grail, or the map of “Hyborian Times” sketched out by Robert E. Howard to better immerse you in the wanderings of his barbarian hero Conan, storytellers have always known that there’s something about the “authentification” of seeing a map that can make even the most dubious quest seem real.

Mythical Maps are currently enjoying a resurgence in our favorite videogames, detailed 3D virtual "maps" upon which the mayhem of Call of Duty, Skyrim, and Gears of War are played out, are things of wonder in and of themselves. The DLC cry of “new maps” has become the call that new magical killing fields are at the ready to be tested for their vicarious thrill-potential. Where once explorers sought out maps to the Fountain of Youth or the gold-paved streets of El Dorado, today’s adventurers seek out the perfect multiplayer map.

Let us celebrate the imagination of our mythic mapmakers on deviantART.

From our shared common knowledge of the islands and coves within Peter's Neverland, to the navigation of the Dothraki Sea, to the celestial cartography of hidden maps to unknown worlds within the stars above us, mythical maps have carved out a space for themselves right along side, and just as important as, the maps based on a “knowable” earth. The importance of a map to any fantasy story reader is the key, the literal base anchoring the fantasy, to be referred to over and over again as a story unfolds. So much background information, and so much added story texture, can be conveyed to a reader through the art of a carefully thought out and executed map.

A small part in each of us is the sense of where we are not only physically but psychically and spiritually. Whether real or not, a great map tells a great story. One could argue that a masterful cartographer must be a skilled storyteller as well. As we create our mental maps of the fantasy realms we prefer to inhabit as part of our existence in the sometimes mundane world, let us celebrate the imagination of our mythic mapmakers on deviantART.

QuestionsFor the Reader

  1. What’s your favorite map of a fictional land?
  2. Do you think the increasing similarity of “cosmic” maps as created for videogames and superhero movies is dulling our collective sense for adventure?
  3. Which videogame maps do the best job of totally immersing you in another world?
  4. Is there an actual map hanging anywhere in your home, and what is it of?

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