“I highly recommend John Wyatt Greenlee and Surprised Eel Maps. I approached JW with couple of ideas and a compressed timeline. Within a week he had produced high-quality, superb versions from which I could choose and modify. The result is excellent maps for my book, promptly and affordably. Highly recommended!!”

—  Raymond Craib, Professor of History, Cornell University, Adventure Capitalism (PM Press)

“JW was a consummate professional. He insisted that we meet to understand the nature of my academic book and how the requested map would relate to the larger work. He was communicative throughout the research and production process and responded quickly to requested revisions (which were minor because his initial work was so good). The completed map is loaded with information but visually clear, and does more than illustrate my book; it proves its core argument.”

—  Andrew Denning, Associate Professor of History, Kansas University, Automotive Empire: How Cars and Roads Made European Colonialism in Africa (Cornell University Press)

“JW was a delight to work with. I was looking for a unique and special gift for someone setting off on a new phase of life. He took my vague specification (“like the map at the beginning of a fantasy novel that hasn’t been written yet…” and “kind of Edwardian?”) and ran with it, producing a result better than I could have imagined. A map has to be technically accurate, usable, and yet have some soul. His experience and aesthetic shone. I love the mix of top-down mapping and street-level views. JW was responsive throughout, eager to iterate and co-design, and did a great job of figuring out what I wanted before even I knew. I can’t recommend SEM enough!”

—  client requested anonymity. The map in question is a decorative map of New York City (here)

“I had high expectations about Surprised Eel Mapping, but somehow John Wyatt managed to exceed them. His attention to detail, artistic flair, and customer service is unsurpassed. I was particularly impressed at his willingness to work with me through four drafts of four different maps. No minor correction or requested change was deemed too small. He creates beautiful maps and does so through a collaborative process that is a genuine pleasure.”

— David Parnell, Associate Professor of History, Indiana University Northwest, Belisarius and Anotonina: Love and War in the Age of Justinian (Oxford University Press)

“I was exceptionally pleased with the work. In fact, it well exceeded expectations. John was great about ensuring he knew precisely what we wanted and then even surprised me with some amazing little details that made the maps he’s done for me really shine. They feel special, intimate, and real. I’ll be working with him exclusively in the future.”

— Matt Gabriel, Professor of Religion and Culture, Virginia Tech University, The Bright Ages (Harper)

“We hired John because we needed a custom map. He delivered high quality work on time, responded quickly to requests for changes, and I’m thrilled to have his map at the front of our book.”


— David M. Perry, The Bright Ages (Harper)

“John Wyatt came highly recommended and I fully understand why.  The maps he produced were so much better than anything I had imagined for my book.  He worked quickly and amiably accommodated the production team’s requests.  I will happily work with him again.”

–Maria Cristina Garcia, Professor of History and Latino Studies, Cornell University, State of Disaster: The Failure of US Migration Policy in an Age of Climate Change (University of North Carolina Press)

“I had the pleasure of commissioning Surprised Eel Mapping and I couldn’t be happier with the results. John was fantastic to work with, and I couldn’t believe how much time, effort, and thought he put into making sure the maps were exactly what I wanted. The whole process was very efficient and I will be sure to turn to him in the future when I need more custom maps.”

— Jack Bourchard, Assistant Professor of History, Rutgers University

“This was a really great experience! The hand-drawn quality of John Wyatt Greenlee’s maps are increasingly rare, and lent my historical fiction novel a more authentic air than a template or computer rendered map ever could. It also helped that, as a medievalist, he could brainstorm ways to incorporate historical details that add character to the reading experience. On top of all that, it’s just a really beautiful map!”

— Elizabeth R. Anderson, author. The Alewives. https://www.elizabethrandersen.com/

“It was a real pleasure working with John. I came with a few vague ideas to get us started, but he gave me plenty of opportunities along the way to make any adjustments that I or my publisher needed. I ended up with three gorgeous maps that I can’t wait to see in print, and I will be recommending John to any colleagues who might need maps of their own!”

— Mary Flannery, Professor of English, University of Bern. Geoffrey Chaucer: Unveiling the Merry Bard (Reaktion Books)

“I highly recommend John. Communication was very smooth. And the map he made for my book on Chocó (Colombia) is beautiful.”

— Jesse Jonkman, Research Associate in Anthropology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Underground Politics: Gold Mining and State-Making in Chocó, Colombia (Penn Press)

“I hired John Wyatt of Surprised Eel Maps in order to revamp the medieval maps for four books and I am extremely pleased with the results. Throughout the process, John was very accommodating and friendly, and the maps he produced are exactly what I wanted. Working with John was a pleasure and I look forward to collaborating with him again in the future. Highly recommended!”

— Birgit Constant, author of The Northumbria Trilogy. www.birgitconstant.com 

“John created four maps for my book, Inland from Mombasa: East Africa and the Making of the Indian Ocean World. As a decidedly non-visual person, John’s iterative approach was exactly what I needed. Before we started working together, I had only a general sense of what I wanted the maps to convey. John patiently and quickly worked through many drafts of each map, adapting to my feedback and questions. In the course of our back-and-forth, John was able to transform my vague ideas about what the book needed into beautiful maps that perfectly captured my arguments.”

— David Bresnahan, Assistant Professor of History, University of Utah. Inland from Mombasa: East Africa and the Making of the Indian Ocean World (forthcoming, University of California Press)

“John was exceedingly easy to work with: prompt, professional, and pleasant. His maps are personalized and informative. I cannot recommend him more enthusiastically.”

— Marc Herman, Assistant Professor of Humanities, York University. After Revelation: The Rabbinic Past in the Medieval Islamic World (forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press)