A BRITISH artist and novelist has quit his day job to create Lord of the Rings-style maps of Britain - and where better to start than in The Shire itself?

Chris Birse, 35, used to be a store manager for Aldi, but while writing a fantasy novel, he was searching for the perfect cover.

Rather than getting someone else to do it, the artist decided to give it a go himself, starting with his home region, Teesside, and when it took off he knew it was time to leave his day job.

Chris said: "When I finished I posted it online, where it was very well received, so I decided to do it full time.

"It's a lot of hard work, and researching the areas is difficult, but the end result makes it worth it."

His latest work, that would make J. R. R. Tolkien proud, was a map of West Midlands, who took over 80 hours to complete.

Whitchurch Herald: The whole Shropshire mapThe whole Shropshire map

When he moved onto Shropshire, he had to 'infiltrate' himself in the community groups.

He said: "It's all a bit cheeky really.

"When joining community groups you are usually meant to live in the area, but I try to be as nice as I can about it and eventually I get let in."

Although 'cheeky' this is how Chris gets feedback from people from the local area and is able to add in all the hidden gems that tourists wouldn't know about.

He combs through thousands of comments and tries to include all the unique spots suggested by the residents.

"There is a lot of places in a community that are special to locals, and I try to make sure to include the most important ones."

After the business took off with his Teesside map, which besides feedback, also includes a lot of Photoshop work, Chris established a shop on Etsy, Fantasy World Maps, where people can purchase his art.

"I try to sell my work at a decent price, and I think that's another reason why people love it so much" he said "Besides with the cost of living at the moment I want people to be able to enjoy art."

He sells his Tolkien-style maps in different sizes, A1, A2, A2 limited edition (which is now sold out for Shropshire), and A3, with options for them to be signed and gift wrapped.

To purchase or have a look at the maps you can follow this link https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FantasyWorldMaps