BTT: Illustrious

Illustrious March 11, 2010

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How do you feel about illustrations in your books? Graphs? Photos? Sketches?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

For me, it depends on what I’m reading.  I’m not crazy about illustrations when it comes to fiction.  Maps are pretty standard at the beginning of fantasy books and I always appreciate genealogy charts that I can refer to when reading historical fiction (especially when dealing with monarchies), but other than that, I don’t really feel the need for visual aids (especially charts and graphs, bleh!).  Having said that, if it’s something that’s pertinent to the story (like a symbol that a character discovers in an ancient text or something), then by all means, sketch away.

Non-fiction, however, is a different story and I would expect not only illustrations but photographs as well – especially in travel or cook books. 

I think illustrations are best left to children’s books or graphic novels.

What do you think?



  1. I tend to like a lot of visual aids, even in fiction. I like something to break up the text now and then. But I think I’m in the minority on that.

    • Jamye Said:

      True, breaking up the text is good. I guess I can’t really think of any examples in the books I’ve read except for maps and charts.

  2. Jody Said:

    I’m a fan of graphics in books! Or mostly anyways. I really love when a fantasy novel provides you with a map, I need those to keep track of where everyone is.

    I’ve been reading the Fablehaven series, which has small pictures on the first page of each chapter that indicates where the chapter takes place, and I found I really liked those. But, I did NOT like the picture that illustrated a scene that happened on the next page! I don’t want to see that before I’ve read what it is. Of course if they had just put it a page later I probably would have been fine with it.

    On the flip-side I’m not a fan of the same graphics in e-books. It slows them down and they should be removed.

  3. Alyce Said:

    I love illustrations in fiction and nonfiction as long as they are well done. I’m sure we’ve all seen books with ridiculously bad illustrations before (I’m thinking 70’s how-to guides and text books here).

  4. Jamye Said:

    Jody – Fantasy maps are a necessity. I can’t wait to make one myself someday! What’s Fablehaven? I’m intrigued! I’ve only read one ebook so far and I definitely wouldn’t want any illustrations to slow down the loading time.

    Alyce – True, I’d be open to any well done illustrations that contribute to the story.

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