In 1970, my husband and I took a copy of the book Turn Right at the Fountain, by George Oakes, along with us on a trip to Europe. The walking tours in that book were the highlight of our trip, and inspired me to produce a book of walking tours for San Diego, my home town. The success of that book led me to develop a variety of other products about San Diego, including the San Diego Visitor's Map, which featured pictorial maps of the San Diego area.
I discovered that I loved working on illustrated maps, and eventually I concentrated my energies on making maps. I expanded from maps of the San Diego area to producing similar maps for other areas.
I first met Gaston in 1973, when I was looking for illustrations for my book of walking tours. Born in 1912 and a native of Denmark, he began his career at some of the largest printing companies in Copenhagen. Soon he was working for one of Denmark's leading magazines, illustrating children's books, and drawing film posters for major movie studios. In 1959, Gaston and his family moved to Southern California. His love of pen-and-ink illustrations led him to make dozens of drawings of San Diego landmarks. Many of those drawings were perfect for the San Diego-focused products I published.
Gaston eventually retired, and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He passed away in 2009, at age 96. His charming illustrations can still be seen in the illustrated maps of the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County areas.
Janetmarie is the illustrator for my maps of the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Portland, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Washington, D.C., and the states of California, Oregon, and Utah.
When my husband and I moved to San Diego in 1965, Janetmarie was one of the first friends we made here. Our friendship has now lasted for more than 40 years. Over the years, she has worked for advertising agencies and publishing companies, created illustrations for San Diego's major newspaper, worked freelance, and taught art to children's classes. In 1990, we decided to combine business with our friendship, as she took on the project of illustrating my maps of the San Francisco Bay Area. The collaboration worked well, and led to her creating the illustrations for the maps of many other areas.