So this week I switched my paint brushes for a different type of creative expression – PowerPoint! Yes that’s right it is possible to create using business packages. As I’m not a designer, I’m not familiar, or have access to, the usual creative suite of tools. So, when asked by my husband to create a map I used the only programme I am familiar with.
The map is for an event my husband co-hosts each year. It’s a crime fiction festival calledBay Tales, based in Whitley Bay and takes place every February or March. I’ve helped out with Bay Tales in the past – creating the original design for the Bay Tales logo – incorporating a pen nib into the iconic local St Mary’s lighthouse:
The patron for the event is Ann Cleeves, author of the Shetland and Vera books. This year she has a new book launch so is off on various book tours. Ann had the idea of offering visitors to Bay Tales, many of whom travel from out of the area, a walking map featuring some of the key spots in her Vera book (and the ITV adaptation) The Seagull. All of Ann’s Vera books are based in the North East and The Seagull has large parts of the plot that take place in Whitley Bay so it seemed a perfect addition to the festival for crime fans. The only problem was how to create it…
I did at first consider collage but that kicked up the issue of copyright so opted instead to create this in PowerPoint. It was a bit tricky and I certainly under estimated the amount of time it would take but it definitely kept me busy in the evenings.
Testing, Testing, Testing
The first thing I did was to test out if it would work by creating some little icons of the various landmarks around the town. Surprisingly for a small seaside town Whitley Bay has a lot of quite iconic buildings. Most of these were created using simple shapes which I wasn’t sure would work but they give the map a certain style which looked ok.
Once I knew that would work I then had to draw the map creating the basic outline of the coastline and then marking out each road. Placing the buildings on the map was stage 2, and then the final stage was to add a few little additions such as parking signs, fishing boats, etc.
Ann wrote some personal comments about the spots highlighted on the map (including revealing a few ‘trade’ secrets such as the transformation by TV crews of local public toilets into the ‘glitzy’ nightclub of the book’s title) and, if you use the QR code we created or visit the Bay Tales page you’ll find a lot of additional information about Whitley Bay sites and businesses past and present.
So if you’re a fan of crime fiction or just loved watching the Vera TV series and you find yourself in the North East why not walk the trail and see how many of the sites you can spot! And if you’re a photographer visit the page to see how you could win a signed copy of Ann’s new book The Raging Storm