Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ranger in Time: Journey Through Ash and Smoke Interior Illustrations


Ranger in Time #5: Journey Through Ash and Smoke takes place in Iceland, and the main character is a Viking girl. It features storms, landslides and a volcanic eruption. This meant that the environments called for lots of dramatic, rocky landscapes.

In order to help myself get the action poses right, I took some reference photos. I look at lots of photos of girls the same age as the character in the book, and try to combine my pose with the proportions and face of a child. It would be more efficient if I could get a child to pose for me in the first place. But sometimes you just need a quick reference, and you don't have time to try and figure out how you can ask a mom if her child can pose for pictures without sounding creepy.



The scene of Ranger being swept downstream was a tricky one. I wanted a foreshortened perspective, and a specific pose for Helga. So I used my nightstand as a boulder and took several photos to get some options for the arm and hand.



Although the author, Kate Messner, doesn't take reference photos like the ones above, she does graciously send me any photos she takes as part of her research into the history behind each book. For this book, she went on a research trip to Iceland. She took this photo of someone (I believe it's her daughter?) climbing out of a hole on the trip.


One of the illustrations called for Helga to climb out of a similar hole, so...yeah. I figured, why make this harder than it needs to be? This would be a very difficult pose for me to recreate anyway.


So there's your little dose of inspiration for 2017, blog readers.

Why make this harder than it needs to be?
- Kelley McMorris

Good stuff, right?

Ranger in Time #5 is filled with many more exciting and perilous situations, as well as 16 interior illustrations by yours truly. It's available January 31st!

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