Mikael Asikainen is a Finnish cartographer and map-artist with a master’s degree in geography
I drew my first fictional maps when I was eight years old and I have continued that as a hobby ever since. A turning point came in 2017, when I realised drawing maps is something I’d like to do for a living. I created the Orbigraphia Instagram account and started using better pens, trying new styles and testing how to make my maps look more realistic, detailed and professional. I started working as a self-employed mapmaker in October 2019.
A lifelong interest in geography led me to study it at university, and I graduated as MSc in 2020.
I have a lot of experience from digital cartography, but I’ve always liked to draw maps by hand as well. There’s a special feel to maps made with ink on paper. I’ve always liked maps of all styles and scales, and as a mapmaker I also want to be able to draw maps of all kinds – of different kinds of places, both fictional and real.
I live and work in Hämeenlinna, Finland. In addition of mapmaking, I work occasionally as a guide in the medieval Häme Castle, and coordinate the Finnish attendance to the International Geography Olympiad (iGeo).
The word Orbigraphia is a combination of two latin words – orbis (circle, sphere, the world) and graphia (art, technique, field of study). Put together, orbigraphia can be translated as “a study of circles”, or “the art of making worlds”.