On October 1, Herb Lester Associates released a Raymond Chandler–themed map of Los Angeles conceived and illustrated by Paul Rogers.

Paul, who has lived in L.A. his whole life, discovered Chandler's writing when he was in art school. “It's always been a little game among Chandler fans to de-code some of the locations in the books and scout out locations that haven't changed since these novels were first published in the 1940s,” he says of the impetus behind the project, which charts the locations frequented by Chandler's sleuth Philip Marlowe in both the books and movies. “There have been a couple of books with tours and lists of locations over the years,” adds Paul, “and in 1985 a Chandler map was published, but [it] wasn't very elegant and it's been out of print for years.”

As well as being a Chandler devotee, Paul is also an aficionado of the maps and travel guides published by Herb Lester Associates, and he previously worked with them on a map of the solar system. When he pitched his latest idea, he got a positive response immediately. Ben Olins, a map maker, partner at Herb Lester, and self-described “huge Chandler fan,” suggested it be created in the style of Dell mapback paperbacks from the 1940s. “The graphics and movies from era hold a lot of appeal to me,” says Paul, “and I tried to make a design that worked for today's audience but was clearly informed by the past.”

The map is the latest in a string of innovative projects that Paul has generated over the years. (Others include Jazz ABZ, Name That Movie: 100 Illustrated Movie Puzzles, and Jack Kerouac On the Road: An Illustrated Scroll.) “It's a great time now for illustrators to start self-motivated projects,” Paul says, adding that it's “easier than ever to connect to people with similar interests online and through social networks. It's possible to just wait around for the phone to ring and to take the assignments that come in that way,” he notes, “but I find a lot of pleasure in starting a project that I think is interesting and finding a place for it in the marketplace.”

As for the nuts and bolts of the Chandler map creation, “the process was remarkably easy,” says Ben. “We loved everything [Paul] did and just felt happy to be able to publish something so beautiful. This was the second guide we did with Paul, and I'm already trying to think what others would suit his style.”

Written by Eve Tolpa