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10 terrifying illustrations tell tales of extreme survival situations

If the most dangerous thing you've done today has been to put some slightly out-of-date milk on your cornflakes, these amazing illustrations by Kerry Hyndman (opens in new tab) might inspire you to spice up your life with a little more risk.

They come from Survivors: Extraordinary Tales from the Wild and Beyond (opens in new tab), a book Hyndman worked on with writer David Long. It's a collection of 23 real-life stories of survival from around the world, in which the protagonists have fought for their lives against the elements – and lived to tell the tale.

Some of the stories will be familiar to you, such as Ernest Shackleton's death-defying South Pole expedition, and the close shave with a grizzly bear that inspired the film The Revenant. Others are less well-known, including the tale of a teenage girl who survived a plane crash and trekked through the Amazon rainforest to safety.

The aim of the collection is to inspire children and help them understand how far self-belief and bravery took these adventurers, and how far it could take them too. It's just been unveiled as the winner of the 2017 Blue Peter Book Award (opens in new tab) for 'best book with facts'.

Hyndman, a keen snowboarder who's no stranger to adventure herself, has brought these inspiring tales to life with a series of dramatic illustrations that focus on the scale and intensity of the book's various landscapes. She's also worked with her brother, filmmaker/animator Alex Hyndman (opens in new tab), to create an animation based on one of her illustrations (you can watch it above).

Kerry Hyndman talks us through her 10 favourite illustrations...

The hardest thing about the commission was keeping it exciting while ensuring it was still suitable for children. "I found the main challenge was to create enough variety in the illustrations while finding angles to draw that didn't show too much blood and gore, as some of the tales are pretty gritty!" she says.

Hyndman created all of her illustrations digitally, using Illustrator to draw out the compositions and then finishing them off in Photoshop with a combination of photographs, scans and hand-drawn textures.

"This was such a dream commission for me," she says. "I got to research and draw some awe-inspiring scenes in epic mountain ranges and snowy tundra, which are some of my favourite things to draw!"

'Survivors: Extraordinary Tales from the Wild and Beyond' is available now from Faber & Faber (opens in new tab).

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Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.

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