Last night Mars was at oppostion. When a planet is at oppostion, it means that the Sun is opposite the planet in our sky. In other words, if one looked down at the solar system from above, one would see the Sun, Earth, and Mars in a straight line (with Earth in the middle). Interestingly, Mars comes to oppostion slightly after the time of Mars closest approach to Earth. Closest approach of Mars and Earth happened on January 27th when the planets were separated by .664 Astronomical Units, or 99.33 million km. This is due to the planets orbital geometry (specifically, the eccentric elliptical orbits and orbital inclination). Another less well known factor is the influence of the Moon which makes Earth move around a common center of mass. If this technical information is interesting to you and you would like to know more, I suggest you check out the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) website on Mars Oppositions.
Winjupos representing the time of my sketch. I brightened the image to simulate the effect of the cloud cover and resulting scattered light. Below is my sketch:
Finally, Ralph Aeschliman Planetary Cartography and Graphics provides excellent maps of Mars that are available for download.