Illustrating the Promised Land

Tripp Lake Camp Illustration, 2007.  Revised 2012.

I was hired to create this image in the spring of 2006.  I don't do a lot of commissioned illustration for marketing purposes, but I have a vested interest in this company, so I was eager to work on this project. 

I've worked at this camp in Maine since 1999.  It also happens to be one of my favorite places on Earth.  It's a summer camp - residential, for a full seven-week session.  We offer wonderful programs that encourage adventure and self discovery, creativity and emotional connectivity, growth and love.  Camp also happens to be in an area of Maine that is traditionally referred to as The Promised Land.

It was interesting to create what would become an iconic image for the organization.  Representing The Promised Land was daunting.  Normally, when I create an image, it is from something that I have previsualized that the rest of the world hasn't seen before.  The camp illustration isn't something of my own conjuring.  It is a known place, and it is known by many.  And those who know it hold it in high regard.  The expectations of that very specific type of realism were scary, but fear can be a powerful motivator.

To get it just right, I needed to familiarize myself even further with that place that I had come to love.  I walked the grounds.  I sketched details.  I communed.  I climbed on top of things.  I looked at things from different angles.  I studied.  That process was interestingly educational, and I was surprised how much more thoroughly I came to know camp.

That project nicely reminded me of something that I already knew, but had maybe let myself forget.  Preparation is important.  Doing the legwork changes the way you approach a project.  It greases up your mind, and readies you for what is to come.  It allows for alterations in the thought process and teaches the importance of taking steps.

Overall, I was pleased with how the camp map turned out.  It has since been printed on folders, posters, and made into a digital tour of camp on

As fate would have it, in 2011 I had the great privilege of being able to see camp from the vantage point that until then, I had only imagined.  I was art directing a photo/video shoot for additional promotional materials, and we went up in a helicopter.  

Up there, high above the promised land, I saw my camp drawing for real.


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