Mapping Memories and Stories

Maps can reveal so much—about a place, an experience, and even about you. It’s not just a street corner or an old church, it’s what happened there and what you have experienced. It’s memory and history, discovery and loss. Maps are how we find our way through a new town but also how we discover the place we thought we knew. A good map design can make a person feel more connected to a place and can encourage them to explore.

Steady Hand Maps is the brainchild of crazed mapmaker, Jen Urso, specializing in custom, hand drawn paper maps and map design that reveals stuff you never even knew you wanted to know about your place.

Where do you want to go?

What kind of experience do you want to have?

Maybe you don’t know, and that’s the thrill of looking at a paper map. It’s all the possibilities that can unfold.

More on who's behind Steady Hand Maps
Mini Gift Map

Imagine giving your loved one a unique, personalized paper map commemorating your anniversary, the location where you first met or your first home! Mini gift maps like this one make a great, one-of-a-kind gift. Starting at only $200, we'll pick a focal point, talk about some key details and within a week you'll have a special gift without any worries about shipping or supply chains. I provide you with high-res files to print or I can provide an archival paper print for a small extra fee.

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Life Map

There’s no gift as unique as one that illustrates someone’s life. We’ll work together to go over a timeline and discuss some of the most unique moments in your map recipient’s life. This is a great, one-of-a-kind anniversary gift, engagement gift, birthday gift or other special occasion gift that has brought many to tears! I can also print your map for a small extra fee up to 13"x19" or coordinate quality printing of your map.

Check Out My Prices

Why Do We Make Maps?

Why Do We Make Maps?

July 16, 2024

We make maps of places we don’t know or places we know but want to know better, or places we know but want others to come find.

Making a Personal, Personalized Map

Making a Personal, Personalized Map

June 14, 2024

Most of the time, I’m creating personalized maps for clients I’ve never met. But a few years ago, I embarked on something a little different.

When Is a Drawing a Map?

When Is a Drawing a Map?

May 17, 2024

When I’m drawing a map—especially the Bi-Weekly maps I create for my Patreons—I often ask myself: is this just a drawing or is it a map?

Custom City Maps

Make your city stand out with a custom city map highlighting the best, the weirdest, the most unique and the most interesting parts of your town.

View City Maps

Personalized Paper Map Gifts

A personalized map gift is one of the best ways you can share and revisit memories together. A personalized map design puts all the pieces together.

Find Out How I Do It

Conceptual Map Illustration

A map isn’t always a way to find an address or locate a restaurant. There are so many ways of finding ourselves and figuring out how the world around us is situated.

View Examples

My Latest Work

Check out some of my favorite custom map design projects.

Venice, CA Street Map

Venice, CA Street Map

Roosevelt Row Map

Roosevelt Row Map

Phoenix Cactus Map

Phoenix Cactus Map

New York City Map – 16th St to Canal

New York City Map – 16th St to Canal

SHMap SHtore

Buy some SHMaps!

  • US Native & Endangered Plants Map Pillow Cover $20
  • US Native & Endangered Plant Observations Map – Western States $25
  • US Native & Endangered Plant Observations Map – Eastern States $25
  • US Native & Endangered Plant Observations Map – Central States $25
  • Steady Hand Maps Reviews

    See what clients think about my work

    Over the Moon

    December 7, 2023

    Jen did a fantastic job with the map she created for my daughter’s wedding gift.

    I reached out to her to help tell the story of how my daughter and son-in-law met and how the two families ended up at their destination wedding.

    The process from start to finish was fun and easy.

    The amount of detail she was able to put into the map was so impressive, and once she added the color to the initial proof, the whole story of the relationship and two families came to life.

    The result was stunning, whimsical, and a piece of art that brings a smile to your face.

    We will provide her with job security for a bit while she makes maps for the rest of our family 🙂


    Exceeded my already high expectations!

    November 28, 2023

    I ordered a mini-map for my girlfriend for Christmas to commemorate our first date! We had a unique story and locations and after chatting with Jen I received a sketch for the perfect map! She was so attentive to the details and incorporated them perfectly! Was also such a quick process after our zoom call. Could not recommend her maps more!


    Far Exceeded Expectations!

    October 18, 2023

    Jen was amazing to work with and created more than a colorful map- she created a work of art that will be cherished by our family for years to come.

    Her illustrations and personal touches made the map come alive. Jen is an artist and a map maker, but more importantly- she is a storyteller. Her maps are the stuff of memories. The streets and alleyways of her maps help you find your way back to a place and time that hold meaning and bring joy. I feel so lucky to have discovered Steady Hand Maps and look forward to working with Jen again in the future. It was a fantastic experience!!

    John D.

    Absolutely Splendid

    September 20, 2023

    I came across Jen via the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article about hand drawn maps. Everything about her style and artistic choices instantly resonated with me. I’d been looking to buy or commission a piece of art for my husband for his birthday or our anniversary and I knew right away this was it.

    I reached out to Jen via her website. I was delighted when she responded and we set up a time to discuss the process, price, size, and timeline. After that initial conversation, which was fabulous, I went to work detailing all the things I wanted to include on the map. I chose major events starting with the first date through the birth and first two years with our son. Jen and I talked through the events and imagery in detail to make sure we were aligned. I think we connected via phone three times and the rest we did via detailed email (which worked well for me). The process took a while but only because I needed to pause briefly, which was totally ok with Jen. I liked how she listened to what I wanted and the story behind each choice. If there was any ambiguity, she brought it up so we could discuss it. I appreciated the care she took in asking questions and getting the details right.

    The initial proof blew me away. It was all there. After my first review, the edits and suggestions I had Jen quickly incorporated. The colored proof stopped me in my tracks and I’m glad I opted for that addition – Jen had captured nuances and brought everything to life. This truly was an amazing experience. My husband was left speechless by the finished piece. I love the fact our son will be able to see and know our story through this piece of exceptional art.


    Personal and Perfect

    August 1, 2023

    Jen made a map celebrating my mother’s 70th birthday. The detail and thoughtful design were a beautiful representation of my mom’s life. It has become a staple piece in her house and brings back so many wonderful memories.

    Monica Sauer

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    Let's talk about what you have in mind for your custom map project