The Marauder's Map v1-v4

Harry Potter

It's been a while since I finished this replica (2016), but I've decided to give you a little inside look into the making process. As you'll soon discover, it took me almost 12 years to actually finish the prop to my liking. The project went through several iterations and, to this day, I still like to sit down and go through my previous versions, test prints, sketches and all that development stages. I like to keep every version of every prop I make, including this one. The same goes for my visual effects, where I too keep all the stuff I make, it's just digital (so it takes a lot less space... well, real-life space, I'm running out of HDDs). From time to time, I get sentimental and re-discover all the work I put into my projects.

If you're wondering why I've decided to make this, there are several reasons. First and foremost, I love movie props and I love making them. There's also the official replica that you can buy, but you probably know my opinion about the matter - I own the replica, and it's bad. The funny thing is, I bought the official replica just days before finishing my own replica (this one), because I've just visited a Harry Potter expo in Belgium, they were selling it and I've been curious about it. Don't get me wrong, I knew the replica like the back of my hand, because I've studied tons of images, so I knew it was pretty inaccurate. The thing I was curious about, was the paper and the craftsmanship of the replica. I thought that when I get to hold it in my hands, it will feel more like 'the real deal'... but I was disappointed.


Anyway, since I've just finished my own replica (which I wanted to show to the world, because I was happy about it) and since I had this momentary anger about the official replica, I've decided to demonstrate the flaws of the official replica by comparing it to mine. Not a very good choice. I didn't realize that most of the fans have access to the official replica only, so the video turned out looking like a self-serving bragging. I took the sound off of the video, so it won't haunt me anymore, but people can still use it as a reference for building their own replicas. Maybe I just got a bad piece, but I still think that the official replica is a missed opportunity design-wise. I know that the pages they used were designed by the same people that designed the pages you can see in the movie, I just don't understand why not give the fans what they want - the map they can see in the movie. It's this decision that I'm criticising, not the design or designers.

But enough of that, let's get to the fun stuff! Here goes the full evolution of my replica, and a few images of making the final replica.

Version 0

This is going to get awkward, as I'm not very happy with the previous versions of the replica, haha. But that's exactly why I kept going and making it over and over again. I attempted to make the first replica when I was about 12 years old - that's when the Prisoner of Azkaban movie came out. I was immediately captivated by the look of the Marauder's Map.



From reading the book, I pictured the map as a boring piece of parchment. This is actually the whole deal of the map - that it's not meant to look suspicious, which the movie version most certainly does. But I get it. To display every corner of Hogwarts on a single piece of parchment is not very doable, and to make it look appealing for a movie on top of that is more or less impossible... and I just love the way they handled this thing. Beautiful design and idea behind the folding structure of the map, nice work.


As you can see, the first replica looks ridiculous - mainly from the inside, as I didn't look on any reference images, and the movie was not on a DVD yet, so I couldn't use it as a reference. But I have to cut my younger self some slack - I was just a kid, and I actually like the intro drawing. I guess I found an image of the closed map, so I used at least some reference.

Version 1

If you've seen the rest of my webpage, you know that I specialize mainly in visual effects and 3D graphics. As time went by, I became more skilled in 2D graphics, and some images of the official replica resurfaced on the internet. They were not nearly as good as you can find now. They were not meant to be printed as a replica of the replica, they were just some casual photos that people took. I was pondering the idea of creating the map digitally for some time now, so I took the opportunity that I finally had some reference images, and I started working on my v1 replica (that's what I call this one).



I had a lot of decision-making in front of me. Since this was the very first time I attempted to do something like this digitally, I was completely unprepared and most of the choices I made didn't make it into the final prop that you can see today. I've decided to make the map completely digital, that's about the only decision that stayed with me the whole time. I found a font that was the most similar to the one used in the map. I say 'the most similar', but the font is still very different, you just cannot mistake it for the original. Since I had to figure all the things out, I didn't care much about the font. I also decided to print the parchment texture on a white paper, but most importantly, the resolution of the individual pages was not enough for an HD print, as you can see below - the details are pixelated. As you can see on the image above, I've created two of the props - the one on the right is a prototype without the back sides. The other one had the back sides glued to the front sides, it was not printed on the same paper. This made the paper too thick for parchment.



Version 2

That's the first version. As you can see, there was a lot of room for improvement. For the second version, I tried to find a different paper. Something that would look more like a piece of parchment without the need of printing all of it. I tried different types of paper and even a wrapping paper, but none of it gave me what I was looking for, so the second version stayed unfinished.