Maps: Exploring LA & OC Neighborhoods By Hand

Sometimes to get a handle on Los Angeles' geographic sprawl, you have to draw it yourself. That's exactly what Amoeba employee and blogger Eric Brightwell has done with his colorful, Sharpie-drawn maps of LA and Orange County neighborhoods and cities.

Brightwell explained that he started on the map project a few years ago. "My now ex-girlfriend lived in the San Gabriel Valley and we frequently made long trips all around the Southland," he told LAist via email. "I quickly realized that I barely had a grasp of the massive sprawl at all. I grew up in rural Missouri but fell in love with the vastness, variety, underrated and hidden charms of southern California."

The maps are done on standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper, usually in Sharpie, and are posted on the Amoeba blog. They're also assembled in an album on Facebook, where Brightwell makes them available for people to get a hold of, in a manner pretty much as primitive as the maps themselves: "Since all y'ins like these so much, whyonchoo make copies and turn 'em into shirts and purses and wallpaper and stuff... and I'll make you custom ones if you want," reads the album caption.

How the next map project is determined is a matter of vox populi. Brightwell runs three online polls where people can vote for the next map—Los Angeles neighborhoods, Los Angeles County communities, and Orange County communities/neighborhoods.

What areas got the most votes? Brightwell says the voting goes as follows: "Compton, Covina, Diamond Bar, East Pasadena, Elysian Park, Little India, Little Saigon, Long Beach, Pasadena, Terminal Island and West Covina are all in a tie behind South Pasadena." Have your say next, and keep an eye out for your map.