Since I've gotten some experience creating game supplement and module publications through Rite Publishing and others, combining writing skills, editing, cartography and illustration, I'm beginning preliminary work in creating my first non-game maps publication.
I'm looking to create an illustrated coffee table book, probably printed through lulu.com, and possibly funded between a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and any additional funding requirements through a Kickstarter. The book would feature my hand-drawn and digitally finished maps using Xara Xtreme software - my standard mapping application, as well as hand-drawn illustrations of local wildlife, wild flowers and trees. The text portion would include background detail on the founding of each park, all associated histories, legends and folklore pertaining to the sites, detailed trail information on all the facilities and services provided by each state park.
LaSalle County, Illinois - the county where I live in north central Illinois contains 3 state parks: Buffalo Rock, Mathiessen and Starved Rock state parks. The region is especially picturesque compared to the mostly flat farmland terrain that surrounds it. 70' high sandstone bluffs, stream cut canyons, cascades, waterfalls and oak forest comprises much of the beauty of these 3 parks. All feature hiking trails, some have biking trails, and several have defined crossbow hunting areas in various seasons.
I am now preparing the documents necessary for applying for a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, although as stated above, I am sure additional funding will be necessary and for that I will try to get a Kickstarter to pay for this. Most likely local patrons and regional patrons interested in Illinois State Parks, and those in the Chicago area (nearest large metropolitan area) would provide funding.
This is just the start period, although I've considered doing something like this for a few years now. I'm thinking of including illustrations and maps of historic sites that are nolonger there, such as Fort St. Louis erected on top of Starved Rock in 1687, but not even a trace remains. A study done by Illinois State University in 1948 offers the site details of that fort from an archaeological study, which I now have sent to me by ISU. I will be using other study research papers, existing topographical maps, existing trail maps and actual hikes by me combined to give me the necessary data to create the maps.
I might become overwhelmed, as such a product is a major endeavor - so we'll see how it goes. I'm guessing it will take me about a year to produce all the necessary material, maps and illustrations. I will create a thread of it's own once the project really begins, and I will post my maps in progress at that time. I probably won't be officially starting until the New Year, but I am gathering my initial data at this time.
My perception is that such a project would prove to be more profitable with a much wider distribution in volume than any of the RPG publications I've been involved with thus far.
This will be a huge project for me, so wish me luck - I'll need it.