Stuke Sowle AKA "Sir Vertical"

I was introduced to Stuke Sowle through a Facebook group with an interest in mountain adventures.  He was referred to me via my blog video and GPS posting of a adventure route connecting two alpine river drainages via 17 lakes and a mountain pass.  The route is over a marathon in length with 10,000k + vertical.  We had mapped it as a "fast-packing" overnight trip.  It is typically a 3-4 day backpacking trip.  When he shrugged off my suggestion to bring overnight gear I thought - this guy must be crazy.

He is crazy. 

Crazy fit, crazy prolific, crazy committed to long full days in the mountains. 
It isn't uncommon for Stuke to log 30+ miles a day in steep rugged terrain. 

He has climbed Glacier Peak (typically a 3-4 day climb) car-to-car in a day.

It has been a privilege to vicariously follow his inventive "ultraneering" mountain adventures on Instagram and Strava.  While I will never come close to Stuke's endurance he continues to inspire me and many others to get out on the trails and not sell yourselves short. 

We can handle a lot more than we think we can.

You can follow him in Instagram @stukesowle.

Production Process

This illustration was created in Adobe Illustrator. I drew the artwork as black and white vector line art with a Wacom Tablet. The shapes were colored with a reduced color pallet of mid-tones, shadows and highlights of each prominent color. The illustration was compositied for animation by separating out key layers like the head, body and background. The background was blurred and moved farther into the distance (z space) in Adobe After Effects to give the a photographic depth-of -field. Water color texture is applied with a blending mode to soften the vector artwork and give more of the feel of a paper cutout. The head layer is wrapped on to a 3d distortion mesh with focus on nose and eyes. This allows control of eyes tracking the camera and a depth matte to give volume to the head. The camera movement creates the parallax effect bringing out the 3d depth matte emphasized with the snow particles. Animating a still with these techniques provides options for bringing still photos or illustrations to life.

You can see more of my illustration and outdoor images on Instagram @bryanschaeffer.

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