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LTB: Illustrations

This week’s topic comes to us from Rayna @ Ray’s Realm who asks:

Do you read books with illustrations in them? Do you think illustrations are only for children’s books or graphic novels? Can illustrations work well in adult literature? What are some of your favourite illustrated books?

Sadly, most of the books I read are totally illustration-free, although I do occasionally see some in some of the lighter fantasy I read. When they are appropriate to the tone, I do think that they add to the story. I especially like maps which help orient me in the setting.

Not sure that drawings would be a good thing, though, in some of the darker thrillers I read. THOSE might keep me up at night!

One of the things I do want to do is read more graphic novels. I think that those are overlooked by a lot of us, so that’s one of the things I’m going to set a goal for next year. Any recommendations for a mystery/thriller/urban fantasy/rom-com girl?

The Let’s Talk Bookish meme is hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion.

6 thoughts on “LTB: Illustrations

  1. Graphic novels are just something I haven’t really been able to get into – I’ve read some, and even with characters or settings I loved the graphic novel just fell flat. It’s like I don’t really get their design language and so it just seems incomplete somehow.

    I tend to view maps as something separate from illustrations; but a good map can be quite useful if a story benefits from your understanding of the geography it is set in.

    Like you, very few of my books have illustrations in them; at least if I stick to the fiction side. I can think of a few fantasy books by Mercedes Lackey that had basically pencil shaded drawings of some of the major characters, and a few Sci-Fi series with things like ship, or weapon, design recognition drawings; but that all I can think of. Now some of my non-fiction books, especially some of the more reference style ones, have plenty of illustrations (not to mention actual photographs) to help you understand whatever topic or designs they’re describing. (Heck, I have a few naval ones that are literally X: “An Illustrated Design History”.

    I think illustrations, at least used in moderation, can work quite well in adult literature – as long as the author and artist are in sync on sharing the author’s vision. But I think they work best when they’re simply showing a person, or location, or key item; not when they’re trying to illustrate a major moment in the story. However, where they don’t work well is in ebooks, or at least in eink ebook readers — those screens — wonderful as they are for text — do an abysmal job on maps, illustrations, or pictures. And as more and more of my day to day reading has shifted to Kindle it’s less and less likely that I’ll actually get benefit from illustrations in novels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure how I will fell about graphic novels, but a couple of my best friends from back home write them, or things that are graphic-novel adjacent, so I am going to let them guide me. We’ll see. 🙂

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  2. I love maps and pretty much require them in my fantasy reads. lol okay not really but if I see a good map I’m like ooh.

    Graphic novels… I’ll recommend Alex and Ada even though it might not fit your categories, but I think it’s well done?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love graphic novels! I agree that they are overlooked and underappreciated. I really like illustrations and artwork in books. I wish there was more in adult and YA literature.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve tried reading graphic novels at work (we encourage the students to read and we read alongside them). They weren’t particularly for me but I do love how they open up reading to those who might otherwise not bother.

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