First Look: Illustrations from ‘Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather’

Explorer Academy: The Falcon

Experience the groundbreaking international fiction series inspired by the real adventures of National Geographic Explorers. Written by Trudi Trueit, the seven-book middle-grade fiction series is inspired by the real-life science, exploration, and mission of National Geographic.

"Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather" is the second book in the thrilling new National Geographic Explorer Academy series. The book goes on sale March 19.

Watch the trailer for "The Falcon’s Feather" below.

Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather | National Geographic Kids

The Falcon’s Feather, the second book in the thrilling new Explorer Academy series, ups the stakes for 12-year-old Cruz Coronado and friends, who are training to become the next generation of great explorers. The team gets to experience amazing expeditions and cool technology while aboard their classroom at sea, but for Cruz, danger lurks around every corner as Nebula continues to track his every move.

The illustrations in "The Falcon’s Feather" were created by Scott Plumbe, Illolab, Inc. Eva Absher-Schantz, vice president of visual identity at National Geographic Kids and head of design for the seven-book Explorer Academy series, spoke to Collider about how the look of this series was crafted, and the design process behind choosing how much artwork to include in the books. Eva also provided insight into how the "Explorer Academy" idea first came about, and the importance of portraying characters who would represent the many different types of readers who would be enjoying the story. Eva’s full interview is available to read here: part 1 and part 2.

“Being an avid reader of fiction both as a kid and as an adult, I was keenly aware of not wanting to interrupt the reading experience with too many visuals or to take away from the key moments of the story. Instead, I see using illustrations as moments to help further the understanding of the place and to increase the moments of tension and emotion.”

Eva Absher-Schantz, vice president of visual identity, National Geographic Kids, to Collider

Below, you’ll see a small sample of some of the sketches created by Scott, who did all the interior art, and Antonio Javier Caparo, who produced the cover art. Over 65 illustrations can be found in "Explorer Academy: The Falcon’s Feather." These illustrations feature a map of the Orion Ship, Cruz’s epic encounter with a black whale, and many more.