IMG_7143camp illustrated

Cool drawing, right!?!  Thanks to Instagrammer, artist, and outdoor adventurer Matt McAdow, I now have an awesome sketch of a photo I took during my recent bike trip through Canyonlands National Park.

In less than a few months, Matt McAdow’s new art project called Camp Illustrated has really taken off. And it’s easy to see why. Just comb through his Instagram feed, where you’ll find a ton of Matt’s artistic illustrations of some of the best camping and outdoor photos on Instagram. His quest with Camp Illustrated is to memorialize your favorite camp shots while giving them a fun, creative, and colorful spin.

When I found out that Matt posted a sketch of one of my Instagram photos to his feed, I was absolutely thrilled. So I decided to reach out to him in order to find out more about Camp Illustrated.  Here’s what I learned.

Where are you from?

Right now I am illustrating camp life from the Bay Area of California; however, I am originally from Oklahoma.


From your growing following, it seems like people are really stoked on your work. How did you come up with the great idea to turn people’s outdoor photos into drawings?

This past summer I took a prolonged road trip/move out to California. I spent several weeks, mainly in Colorado, camping out of my car. I had some of my art supplies with me and would do drawings and paintings of my surroundings and camp spots. At some point during my travels I ended up camping next to a couple in an empty ski parking lot because the GPS coordinates for the free campsite we were both looking for were a dud. We had dinner together, and I ended up doing a small painting of their camper for them while we talked. I liked the idea of being able to make a quick illustration for people to remember their camping trip. A month later, as I was on the long drive from Santa Fe, NM to Death Valley, CA, I thought up the idea of illustrating rad camp photos via Instagram. During a big traffic jam in Arizona I brainstormed the name and created the account. A few weeks later I started illustrating!


Original photo: @christian_adam_

Tell us what sparked your passion for the outdoors?

I went to a summer camp growing up that shaped me into favoring the outdoors over indoors. All of the counselors were “granola,” and we all wanted to be like them. Somewhere along the line, this led to a fascination with Colorado.  After spending a week one summer backpacking and mountain biking in Colorado and Utah, I was stoked on mountains and have taken every chance to be in the outdoors since.


Original photo: @alisontravels

Besides making art, how do you like to spend your time outside?

I like backpacking the most. The feeling of having everything you need to survive for some amount of time on your back is a good one. I’ve been starting to trail run too and hope to learn to surf now that I’m in California.

Where is your favorite place to get your camp on?

Previously it had been many places in Colorado; however, now that I’m in the Bay Area and discovering Yosemite I am just as stoked on it, especially during the weekdays and off season! I’m always looking to learn more local spots too.


Original photo: @kympham

Are there any new places you’ve been inspired to visit through Camp Illustrated?

Yeah! I now follow a lot of inspiring photographers who make some places look especially awesome! I’m currently thinking an extended road trip through Oregon, Washington, and Canada. Ending in the Alberta area would be awesome.

If someone wants a personalized Camp Illustrated drawing from one of their adventures, are you available for commissioned pieces?

Yeah I am. The stuff I do on the Instagram account are small sketches that I make as a surprise for folks. I also make stuff for a living though. These pieces are larger, more detailed, and take more time. Please send me a message via the contact tab on and we can start a conversation about it.


Original photo: @calsnape

Huge thanks to Matt for my sweet drawing and for taking the time to sit down with me!

For more of Matt’s work, make sure to follow him on Instagram and check out his Camp Illustrated website!