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MapLab: Drawing the Wild World

Detail of Wild World

Detail of Wild World

Credit: Anton Thomas

It’s been two and a half years since artist and cartographer Anton Thomas started hand-drawing a 3-foot-wide world map, armed with colored pencils, a magnifying lamp and a lot of patience (2,100 hours’ worth of it so far). Titled Wild World, the piece represents detailed wildlife across the globe: Thomas has drawn 1,095 animals on the map so far, and aims to have some 2,000 by the time he finishes, which he estimates will be in about six months.

“I’ve always wanted to see a world map of nature,” said Thomas, whose first maps featuring wildlife date back to when he was a child. So when Melbourne, where Thomas is based, started locking down in the early days of the pandemic, the idea resurfaced. “I was feeling really cooped up in my house and just dreaming of the outside world and being in nature.”