Michael Wood was a Senior Lecturer (now Emeritus) at the Department of Geography, Aberdeen University, Scotland. His enjoyment of drawing and painting complemented an interest in Geography and maps. John Keates, in Glasgow University, was his first mentor and from whom he learned basic relief shading techniques.
In summer 1967 Michael worked at Eduard Imhof’s Cartographic Institute in Zurich, where he further developed his own methods, using soft lead pencils and paper stubs. With this simple approach he accepted commissions to produce a range of relief maps e.g. for the American Samoan Government Coastal Management Atlas, the Automobile Association of America, state schools in Hawaii, a Mexican West Coast Cruise Tour Guide, Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guides, and special maps of mountains in South America and South Georgia.
Tutuila Island, American Samoa by Michael Wood, 1980
He eventually took over from John Keates as a part-time relief artist with Collins-Longman and, over 20 years, produced relief images for hundreds of maps in school and road atlases.
Michael Wood had also befriended and worked with Heinrich Berann in Austria and, from the late 1970s, began producing ‘Berann-style’ panoramas. These included Central Scotland (ca. 80 × 50 cm, for the Scottish Tourist board, 1980) and two further panoramas of the Scottish Whisky Trail. His most recent major project was creating all the relief base maps for a new ‘Atlas of Islamic History’, published November 2014.