What illustrations are best for Y/A books?

redzwritez

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I've been thinking of incorporating illustrations or drawings into a novel I'm writing and I was wondering if anyone else has done that. It likely falls into a young adults genre and I'm not sure what illustration styles are commonly used within that genre. I've been looking at different ways to include illustrations but if you were to buy or read a young adult book with illustrations what would you want the illustrations to be like? Would you want there to be a few or a lot, detailed or more cartoonish, colourful or black and white like the text etc. There are so many ways illustrations can be used in books so I'm interested to hear what different people prefer.
 

Astro Pen

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The problems with any illustrations are that they remove imagination from the equation. This is a fundamental difference between novels and movies. Movies are presentation based and novels are imagination based.
Every viewer sees the same movie but every reader 'visualises' a different book.
If you illustrate your protagonist it will inevitably differ from what people imagined them to look like. How this impacts is grounds for a thesis but it will inevitably change the dynamic.
Internal illustrations are at least a distraction and at worst a bubble burtster.
So I would focus on making stunning cover art and keep it generic, avoiding the MC.

Just my 2 cents :)
 

redzwritez

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The problems with any illustrations are that they remove imagination from the equation. This is a fundamental difference between novels and movies. Movies are presentation based and novels are imagination based.
Every viewer sees the same movie but every reader 'visualises' a different book.
If you illustrate your protagonist it will inevitably differ from what people imagined them to look like. How this impacts is grounds for a thesis but it will inevitably change the dynamic.
Internal illustrations are at least a distraction and at worst a bubble burtster.
So I would focus on making stunning cover art and keep it generic, avoiding the MC.

Just my 2 cents :)
Yeah, that's one of the reasons I'm hesitant to put in a lot of illustrations. I wouldn't want to take away from the actual story. There are some books I l love with illustrations but many of them aren't heavily illustrated. I think this might be why.
 

Jo Zebedee

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Yeah, that's one of the reasons I'm hesitant to put in a lot of illustrations. I wouldn't want to take away from the actual story. There are some books I l love with illustrations but many of them aren't heavily illustrated. I think this might be why.
I don’t think it’s a problem. There are loads of illustrated versions of books out there - look at the likes of Neil Gaiman - that don’t detract from the story but add to it. Develop your own style and enjoy
 

Wayne Mack

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Perhaps it might be best to browse a local bookstore and look at what is popular target age range (YA is pretty broad). The Harry Potter books lacked any illustrations, except for the covers (and some of those were in a more juvenile style). Maps are common in many fantasy novels and some open every chapter with a drawing. This is largely a creative choice; if you feel the illustrations add to the story, add them. If you are unsure, leave them out.
 

therapist

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I've been thinking of incorporating illustrations or drawings into a novel I'm writing and I was wondering if anyone else has done that.
I agree to some extent with Astro Pen. An illustration of the MC could be problematic and jarring with the reader's vision. The only book i've read with illustrations is stormlight archive, and i've always enjoyed them. It is mainly sketches of the fantasy flora/fauna. And for me they definitely enhanced the world building.
 

Elentarri

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I enjoy illustrations so long as they are true to the description in the novel and of the realistic style, rather than cartoon or "modern" style. That said, I don't think it's necessary as such. You could always do a black and white illustration for the beginning of each chapter or as part of the chapter heading and a beautiful colour illustration for the cover, instead of these bland, boring generic covers the publishers have been inflicting on us for the past several years. Once upon a time, I had a hard cover omnibus of the Neverending Story, with red and green text. Each chapter title had its own page with a line illustration in either red or green. I thought that was rather neat. There is also the matter of cost. I suspect colour illustrations within the book requires more effort and different equipment/processes and drives up the cost.
 

Please Be Nice

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The problems with any illustrations are that they remove imagination from the equation. This is a fundamental difference between novels and movies. Movies are presentation based and novels are imagination based.
Every viewer sees the same movie but every reader 'visualises' a different book.
If you illustrate your protagonist it will inevitably differ from what people imagined them to look like. How this impacts is grounds for a thesis but it will inevitably change the dynamic.
Internal illustrations are at least a distraction and at worst a bubble burtster.
So I would focus on making stunning cover art and keep it generic, avoiding the MC.

Just my 2 cents :)
Every viewer DOES not see the same movie. That is not at all how that works. Everything anyone percieves goes through their own filter and different meanings are interpreted by each viewer. Not just that, but qulaity of eyesight, distance to screen, whether they are hungry or tired when watching-there are numerous factors that go into watching a film. Every viewer sees a different movie.

Mass media storytelling tries to make something so that many viewers can have similar perceptions, but each is still unique.

Same for all forms of storytelling in every medium. Its part of the magic of it all.
 

Please Be Nice

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I've been thinking of incorporating illustrations or drawings into a novel I'm writing and I was wondering if anyone else has done that. It likely falls into a young adults genre and I'm not sure what illustration styles are commonly used within that genre. I've been looking at different ways to include illustrations but if you were to buy or read a young adult book with illustrations what would you want the illustrations to be like? Would you want there to be a few or a lot, detailed or more cartoonish, colourful or black and white like the text etc. There are so many ways illustrations can be used in books so I'm interested to hear what different people prefer.
DO IT!!!!

Japanese Light Novels are a great example of this.
 

Laura R Hepworth

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I've been thinking of incorporating illustrations or drawings into a novel I'm writing and I was wondering if anyone else has done that. It likely falls into a young adults genre and I'm not sure what illustration styles are commonly used within that genre. I've been looking at different ways to include illustrations but if you were to buy or read a young adult book with illustrations what would you want the illustrations to be like? Would you want there to be a few or a lot, detailed or more cartoonish, colourful or black and white like the text etc. There are so many ways illustrations can be used in books so I'm interested to hear what different people prefer.

I would be careful to not make them too cartoony as it may come off as too juvenile for your intended audience. The exception being perhaps a more manga inspired illustration. Also, if you're releasing the book in ebook form and using KDP, keep in mind that the illustrations will increase the size of your book's file and increase any delivery fees that Amazon will charge (assuming you pick their 70% royalty option).

The problems with any illustrations are that they remove imagination from the equation. This is a fundamental difference between novels and movies. Movies are presentation based and novels are imagination based.
Every viewer sees the same movie but every reader 'visualises' a different book.
If you illustrate your protagonist it will inevitably differ from what people imagined them to look like. How this impacts is grounds for a thesis but it will inevitably change the dynamic.
Internal illustrations are at least a distraction and at worst a bubble burtster.
So I would focus on making stunning cover art and keep it generic, avoiding the MC.

Just my 2 cents :)

Not necessarily, there are people out there that when they read/write aren't able to visualize what they're reading/writing so, for them, illustrations might actually be helpful.
 

redzwritez

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DO IT!!!!

Japanese Light Novels are a great example of this.
That's good. I should really try and find some Japanese Light Novels or have a look at how they incorporate illustrations. I was generally trying to see how different books incorporated them. You've just reminded me of another genre that does that :)
I would be careful to not make them too cartoony as it may come off as too juvenile for your intended audience. The exception being perhaps a more manga inspired illustration. Also, if you're releasing the book in ebook form and using KDP, keep in mind that the illustrations will increase the size of your book's file and increase any delivery fees that Amazon will charge (assuming you pick their 70% royalty option).



Not necessarily, there are people out there that when they read/write aren't able to visualize what they're reading/writing so, for them, illustrations might actually be helpful.
Thanks as well. I haven't even got to properly thinking about how illustrations would effect where the book would be available etc. I've only just started looking into it.
 

Overread

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Personally I'm always shocked that we have so little illustration in fantasy and sci-fi books. We get covers and that's about it and even they can change quite a lot edition to edition.


I think that they can enhance a story in ways people don't realise. They can add colour to a setting; vibrancy and they can describe a scene in far more depth than the writer can achieve. You can say a bustling street, but if you can show one you can add in so many more layers of detail into one image to enhance the mental image the reader is generating in their mind.

As for what style I would say a style that fits the story.
Take Discworld - the original illustrations are charming, quirky, chock full of action and events and characters. They are a crazy vibrant experience.
Then they went through a dark phase of almost black and white minimalist covers.

The first felt like they fit with Discworld. They captured the buzz and fantasy and charm of the setting and fit with the imagination. The latter looked like something off a crime novel or a noire drama. They didn't fit with the fantasy, the buzz or the setting. They clashed.



So the style that fits is the style that fits your writing; accepting that there's no single style that will actually fit so you have to make a choice and go with it.
 

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