For this project I was tasked with creating an illustrated travel guide for any location that I fancied.
This was a really fun project as I could literally choose any city I’ve been to. I thought about doing an illustrated guide of Edinburgh, where I live now, but I decided to do an illustrated guide of my home city Taipei. This might seem bit of a cop out for some but there were a few reasons I wanted to illustrate Taipei. Firstly most people know nothing about Taipei/Taiwan or at least people think of “Made in Taiwan” (good old stereotypes) but what people don’t realise about Taiwan and even Taipei is that my country is quite industrial but it’s also extremely beautiful.
We have industrial parts of Taipei but if you jump on the metro or a bus and travel 20 minutes you can reach a national park or scenic area which are really beautiful. Also people often confuse Taiwan and Thailand. Ok, they might sound (barely) similar and they are within a thousand miles of each other but they are very different countries. I love Thailand btw, it’s still my favourite country that I have travelled to.
So here I am with this project. I created this short illustrated travel guide of Taipei to try to let people know “Hey, there is a country named Taiwan and Taipei is it’s capital”. All of the characters in the travel guide look very happy and enjoy their lives. The food in Taiwan is also absolutely delicious, just ask my husband and his ever growing waistline. Taiwan and Taipei are really cool places.
I would have liked to create more locations but in the time given I depicted four locations in Taipei. The first one is Maokong. Maokong is really close to my family home in Taipei and many people like to visit Maokong to enjoy a cup of tea and spend some relaxing time with friends and family. Maokong is famous for it’s tea farms and restaurants so I created a tea house scene for this location.
The second scene and also my first illustration for this project was to create a “main map of Taipei” to introduce some general information about Taipei city, such as the weather, transport, language, food and celebrations, to give people reading this book a general idea about Taipei. I created the header below to originally be on it’s own but I decided to integrate it with the map and I really like the way it turned out.
The second map is of the Taipei 101 tower.
The Taipei 101 tower was opened in 2004 and until 2010 was the tallest building in the world. If you’re struggling to comprehend the height of this building, google search Scottish mountains and you’ll have a general feel of the height. Every New Year (31st December, not Chinese New Year) a huge fireworks display is held on the Taipei 101 tower which is really spectacular. The Taipei 101 is located in the “Xinyi District” which is the new high end shopping area of Taipei. Apart from the shopping there are cinemas, 24 hour book stores and all kinds of fancy restaurants with delicacies from all over the world.
The third guide depicts one of the most popular night markets in Taipei in the Shilin district.
Taiwan is really famous for it’s street food. A lot of tourists from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Singapore travel all the way to Taiwan just to try the night market street food. Night market food is extremely diverse but it’s also really cheap. The night markets in Taiwan are extremely competitive and this brings down the cost of food but also raises the quality of food. I once told my husband we would probably need to spend a whole month to try one dish from every food stall in Shilin night market and remember there are dozens of night markets in Taipei alone.
I believe I must have put a lot of weight on while working on this project as all I could think about was how delicious the food is so I kept making that food at home and eating it.
The fourth and final illustrated guide is of Yangming Mountain hot spring.
Yangmingshan (shan means mountain in Chinese) is a national park on the north side of Taipei and is a national park with a mountain that rises to 1120 metres. Yangming mountain also provides natural hot springs and a lot of hot spring restaurants and hotels also provide really delicious food made from local produce. Also Yangming mountain has a lot of Calla Lilly and for a small amount of money you can harvest a load of Calla Lillies and bring them home to decorate your home.
The last time I went back to Taipei, my parents took myself and Chris to Yangming mountain to drink tea and eat a lot of tasty food. Incidentally our table was situated right next to a big field of Calla Lilly. So Yangmingshan is a great place for tourists to visit and you will have a lot of fun there. Also as a note, Chris is really into his cars and the last time we went over Yangmingshan there must have been a Ferrari club day out as we were overtaken by about a dozen Ferraris ranging from old to new. Very nice!
So that’s it for this illustrated guide. It was great fun to work on and it brought back a lot of good memories but it also made me really homesick. It’s been well over two years since I last visited Taiwan and my father has yet to meet our daughter Amelia so depending on workloads we may try to visit later this year. Hope you like the images above.