John Nelson

Charleston Magazine

One of Charleston Magazine’s best illustrators, John Nelson, is actually a freelancer working out of Atlanta “for folks just about anywhere.” His colorful and slightly funky illustrations of neighborhoods and regional maps have added some fun to Charleston Magazine’s otherwise formal style. We like the tiny images of buildings, tourist attractions, and landmarks. And we really like Nelson’s handwriting style. “My approach is to present the information in a somewhat whimsical fashion; to draw people into exploring a map so they might retain the information better than if it had been presented in a more straightforward style,” says Nelson, who works mostly from rough sketches and images sent from the magazine editor. “You probably wouldn’t rip it out of the magazine and navigate with it. But if it’s all you had, you wouldn’t become hopelessly lost. I’ve loved maps since I was kid hanging National Geographic maps on my bedroom walls, so whenever I get an opportunity to do a map, I like to show people how fun they can be while still giving them information they can use and, hopefully, will remember better as a result.”