Illustrated Books

67EFE59B-1525-46AA-9A67-AD00D0C6B627_zpsiwcetemr When one speaks of illustrated books one often thinks about children books, picture books or graphic novels, comics and manga. But books with illustrations are not just for children or have to be a comic. Adults can appreciate this form as well. I certainly can.

One thing that draws me to illustrated books are the illustrations themselves. I am secretly envious of the talent of illustrators and other artists for their ability to create something so gorgeous.  I love looking at an illustration in a book, whether this is a map or a scene and to find the details there. Illustrations also don’t have to be an entire page. They can be a small square or even just the first letter of a word of a new scene or paragraph. It is a fine balance in illustrated books, and especially those for adults, to be able to weave the story and illustrations together. You can not just put an illustration in the middle of a book and be done with it. The text and illustrations have to become one to tell a story. I quite enjoyed seeing this in the combination of Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell’s works. Some of their combined efforts are visually stunning but also flow from text to illustrations really well.


Or a different take on the illustrated books is where letters and text become apart of the illustrations. Illuminae is a good example of this. It creates a very different experience to a story.

Illustrations have to be able to support the text. Be a suplement but not take over. Illustrated books are a great break between bigger novels as they tend to be quicker reads and convey the story in a different way to you without taking away text entirely.
And illustrations can be a great way to emphasize certain emotions. I felt that in A Monster Calls this was done rather well. The emotions the mc experienced that took form in something touchable. A shape. The style of illustration fitted this very well. A play with sharp or soft lines and color can give of a very different feeling to an illustration.


It is also very memorable. You will not easily forget a story that is told through text and illustrations. One can say that it does take away the possibility of people being able to visualize the story, but I think it still leaves plenty of space to visualize other aspects.

I also don’t think as an adult one should stick to just reading illustrated adult books. Even illustrated children’s books can give a new sensation to the story. Just see the illustrated editions of Harry Potter that are being released. It can give a different dimension to a favorite story.


Illustrated Books I Recommend

Illustrated Books I Still Want to Read

Which illustrated books would you recommend?

12 thoughts on “Illustrated Books

  1. I absolutely love illustrated books! I really loved I Am Princess X – the protagonist used to draw a comic with her best friend about Princess X, but then her best friend dies – or did she? The book is full with comic pages of Princess X, which parallels the protagonist’s story and I really loved that 🙂

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  2. I think I will just buy a physical copy of The Graveyard Book instead of waiting for an ebook special. I love my Fairyland books by Valente (I can never remember how to spell her first name, ha ha) and My Wrinkle In Time quartet bind up is somewhat illustrated. I have the illustrated hardcover of A Monster Calls. I hope the illustrations jazz up The Lie Tree because that story was as dry as a popcorn fart. XD

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