March 11, 2010

The Illustrated

This week's Booking Through Thursday question: "How do you feel about illustrations in your books? Graphs? Photos? Sketches?"

I'm not sure I get the question. How could you not love any of those things? Clearly we love them or there wouldn't be so many wonderful examples. Oh sure, some are better than others but we're talking about a whole lot of books here. Walk into any big box bookstore. How many of the books don't have any kind of illustration in them? Most novels (but even many of those have maps, genealogy tables, etc.), and some of the basic nonfiction. That's about it. The great majority of books have drawings, icons, illustrations, photographs, tables, charts, and more.

This is one of the reasons I don't have an e-reader. Can you imagine the work of Allen Say in an e-book? Or pretty much anything from National Geographic? Or the intense magic of Shaun Tan? I can't.

Granted, those are highly illustrated examples. But it's hard not to love books illustrated by the likes of Maira Kalman, Lynda Barry, Marjane Satrapi, Gustave Dore, Arthur Rackham, and Edward Gorey. I mean I could write a whole book on just the work of Barry Moser.

So yes, I love the illustrations and photographs, wood-carvings, watercolors, technical schematics, full-color charts, tables, graphs, comics, maps and doodles in my books.

How can I not?

What are some of your favorites?


jlshall said...

I absolutely agree! And you've mentioned some of my favorite artists and illustrators, too. Good answer!
Here's mine.

Lori said...

I think that for adult fiction, I rather they didn't have pics. Non-fiction needs them. Here's mine.

Carina said...

I absolutely agree, in terms of non-fiction and of certain genres, like graphic novels, children's lit, etc. But I don't particularly like them in adult fiction, unless they serve a specific purpose (such as maps).

My full response is here.

Jim said...


Thanks! I have many more faves, but didn't want to go on and on.

Lori and Carina,

Which adult fiction books are you talking about? I've read a whole lot of them and rarely come across more than maps or genealogy tables.


Victoria said...

I love Kevin Henkes watercolors, Rob Scotton, Peter Ferguson (from The Sisters Grimm series, and Greg Call (from the Dave Barry/Ridley Pearson stories of Peter Pan).

Jim said...


Henkes is a master! Those others are great as well. Kids get all the best art these days! Good for them.