Backpacker Magazine Asks, "Are you Tough Enough?"

And I answer, "Most certainly not!" But, I'm happy to do some pretty exciting illustrations of these tough guys.

First, we have the smokejumper. These guys jump out of airplanes, into the middle of forest fires to put them out... OUT OF AIRPLANES, INTO FOREST FIRES! Simply unbelievable. Let's not forget they're carrying 110 lbs of gear and have to worry about getting caught in the 150 foot tall ponderosa trees on their way down...

Also, listed is the Sherpa or mountain guides of the Himalayas. They spend their days living at 13,000 feet helping whoever wants to climb Mt. Everest this day or next. Unfortunately, they end up climbing 10x the amount of their clients and have to organize the transport of the 8,000 lbs of gear throughout the hike. But I hear you can't beat the views.

This was a super fun job to work on, though. Totally felt like I was getting to draw superheroes for this project. And really, I think I was--these people save lives every day. I just wish I could have gotten to draw something for each of the other jobs which included Gurkha soldiers, wildlife biologists, river raft guides, outward bound instructors, and Navy SEALs.

Check out my illustrations and of course the rest of the article in the May 2011 issue of Backpacker Magazine, on shelves now.