My love for maps started at a young age. It’s embedded in my brain, as if I were programmed to relate to the world via space and geography. I remember, in kindergarden, hand-drawing a full map of the United States. From then on, drawing maps in my free time became a hobby – a way to clear my head and enter an imaginary world where I was always in control.

The maps (nearly 500 in all) evolve steadily in style over the years, and reflect my interests in different points of my youth. In early high school, for example, I had still never spent time exploring urban life – so the city I drew consisted of middle class subdivisions and corporate shopping malls. After college, they consisted of high-density housing and mass transit systems.

20 years later, as an adult, I walk around each day asking questions like “how do people see this space? How can signage and micro-scale mapping make navigation easier here? What are the ways people orient themselves in different places, and how can maps help them? What if we could re-design this intersection to include an additional lane? Bike lane? Street car? And what are three possible detours that accommodate morning, daytime, and evening traffic patterns?” This is literally what runs through my mind on a daily basis. Some people commute home thinking about what to have for dinner. I commute home wondering how to route a new freeway through a fictional city in light of imaginary budgets and political complexities.

I went into marketing because I’m creative. I chose this over civil engineering and architecture because I’m a very conceptual person with strengths in organization, project management, and design. However because of this, my desk job now involves advertising budgets, not wayfinding.

I still doodle maps in my notes. I wonder what to do with them. I want them to be used somehow before I die; I’d be sad to see them sit in a closet for the rest of time. This blog is my step toward getting them in the public eye – not for fame, but rather to see what others think about them as a sort of validation for the hours I’ve spent developing fictional metroplexes.

That being said, I hope you’ll enjoy exploring my work. If you’d like to chat about anything you see, feel free to contact me using the info below.

Brian Nunnery
Austin, Texas, US


10 comments on “About”

  1. Great job! I enjoyed exploring you cities. I do have a question. What is a frontage road? You mention that being something from Texas. Perhaps we don’t have them in the NW?

    • Thanks so much! Yeah, frontage roads are unique to Texas (with a few exceptions). They’re one-way roads that parallel a freeway on both sides, accompanied by “turnarounds” allowing northbound traffic, for instance, to exit and easily loop around to travel southbound without having to go through a traffic signal. The big idea here: frontage roads enable commercial development along the sides of major highways, giving businesses greater visibility and convenient access. In Texas, most major shopping centers sit along interstate highways.

      The major drawback, though, is that this takes commercial development away from traditional urban arterials and funnels more traffic to the freeways – making traffic worse and taking vehicle traffic away from local businesses tucked away from highways. I prefer a no-frontage-road design like you’ll see in the NW.

  2. Brian,
    Your maps are fantastic! I totally get them.
    My name is David Hyman and I am a kindred urban map maker like yourself. Reading your section about yourself it sounds much like a description me except our frame of reference is different. I grew up in Manhattan and my maps are island and rail transportation centric early on, and highway centric later as the maps became more sophisticated. My main period of map making was through junior high school into 9th grade where I probably completed about 200 of them. Much like you I continue to make maps on the sides of my notes and while on the phone and it remains a wonderful form of solace. In my mapmaking heyday, these maps were made on notebook paper and some grew to be very large. They have been in my closet for years and I am in the process of scanning them now. The combined panels are creating huge files and don’t really know what to do with these files once I am done.

  3. These are so cool! Cities and maps are my passion, and it is awesome to see someone else draw maps for fun!

  4. Amazing maps. I love seeing new fictional cities. I have been drawing maps for as long as I can remember. I just recently started scanning all my old maps and stitching them together in powerpoint. Here is a link to my maps.. http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/18672-hand-drawn-fictional-city-maps.html

    • Absolutely stunning, Michael – thanks for sharing your link! I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your maps. I love your detail. How’d you come up with all your street and city names?

  5. A lot of the names of the streets come form areas where I live or from other cities. I also like to collect street maps so I a lot of names come from there. The city names I just make up. Almost all of my maps I drew with the TV on in the background so I guess that will add a few more names. I would like to start another map and make it in 11X17 inch sized pieces for my scanner.

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