Turning Epic Adventure Photography into Whimsical Art
Chris Burkard is writing a children’s book for young explorers, complete with unreal illustrations inspired by some of his most famous shots
Here’s what happens when a star adventure photographer joins forces with a Disney illustrator and a start-up publisher: pure visual magic. Or, in more concrete terms, a brand new children’s book that aims to create the next generation of explorers. Photographer Chris Burkard wrote The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth, but he didn’t create the images. Instead, illustrator David McClellan used Burkard’s photos as the starting point for stunning digitally-drawn landscapes discovered by the book’s young protagonist. The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth will ship in July after an overwhelming reception on Kickstarter—until then, see how Burkard’s famous shots translate to children’s book illustrations.
Photo: McClellan, an illustrator and environmental artist for Disney Interactive, interpreted Burkard’s photos to create unique digital drawings for The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth.
Burkard’s shot of a surfer in the Aleutian Islands graced the cover of Surfer magazine’s April 2014 issue and served as inspiration for McClellan’s seaside landscape.
A travel shot taken along the Oregon coast. Burkard has spent 10 years as a professional photographer, but this will be his first children’s book.
McClellan didn’t illustrate carbon copies of Burkard’s photos. Instead he used the style and settings as inspiration for each landscape that the book’s young explorer visits.
Taken along Alberta’s coast in 2014. Burkard’s images feature high-adrenaline activities and landscapes, and the look translates to The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth. The hope is to inspire readers to get outside and explore.
Both McClellan and Burkard have young children. “Inspiration is paramount to me, especially now as a father of two kids,” says Burkard. “I would love to inspire them to ask those tough questions: Where can I find happiness? What does it mean to feel joy?”