How to Make a Mural; A Map of the Midsummer Stars.

Once upon a time in history, man looked around him, at the earth, and mapped it. Then he looked up at the skies, at the stars, and he mapped those too. Those beautiful celestial charts still exist today and a few years ago, I created my own map inspired by them. This year, part of that same map has been adapted and handpainted as a mural within the brand new offices of Unity Technologies in Brighton. Here is a short visual story of how I made a mural of the midsummer stars.

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The original Map of the Summer Stars in the Northern Hemisphere.

I was initially approached by MMoser Associates, the design company, to come up with a series of ideas for the mural based on previous maps in my portfolio, on Brighton and the natural world. I created mood boards and mock ups:

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Proposed mural design – ‘Brighton Tube’.

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Proposed Mural Design – ‘A Map of Brighton at 4am.’

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Proposed mural design – ‘A Map of Brighton Stars Seen at Midsummer’.

The chosen design was drawn to scale using the specs MMoser provided. The wall had been accurately measured so there was no question my design wouldn’t fit.

 

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The drawing was scanned, saved and then projected onto the wall using a specialist large scale projector – (for smaller walls I’d use a standard home projector).

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The projection. Photo by Beatrice von Preussen.

Using the projection as a guide, I and my ‘willing assistant’ Bee – with me for the first three days – traced the drawing onto the dark blue wall in white pencil so it could be easily seen. We had to be careful the projector stayed in the same place throughout this initial stage. Any small movement could make the projected image difficult to key back up again to the drawing on the wall the next day.

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Photo by Beatrice von Preussen.

I then painted over the drawing using Posca pens – chalk based paint pens which come in a variety of nibs and widths to give a variety of line. Posca are permanent on more porous surfaces and give an opaque painted line. Nb – There’s no affiliation – I just like them!

 

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Fun times from the painting platform. Photo by Scott Alexander.

After 9 days it was finished. Straggling pencil lines were rubbed back with super clean, spanking-new putty rubbers and posca mistakes were painted out using the leftover base emulsion, put aside especially.

It’s the largest map I’ve ever created, coming in at just short of 5 metres. Hopefully, when the office is fully opened, the staff will be able to take a quiet break from cutting edge games technology and immerse themselves in the age old view of the constellations.

 

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