One thing that can get me excited about a book like nothing else is artwork. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all. Any time I find a book that’s got illustrations or other artwork in it, I find it boosts my interest in the text considerably. It’s interesting to see a visualization of the characters and places they may be visiting. It helps intensify the mental images the book gives me, helps immerse me in the world the author has created.
Maps count for a lot too, as I’ve mentioned before, but nothing compares to portraits of the characters you’re reading about.
For a long time, I’ve planned to have drawings of various characters appear in my fantasy novels, but I’m not sure who will be drawing them. I’m a little bit artistic, myself, and I’ll share some of my drawings here in the future, but my husband is even more talented than I and there’s always the possibility of keeping him on tap for doing character illustrations to go with my work.
Sometimes, his drawings even end up being a bit help when it comes to fleshing out characters I haven’t devoted a lot of time or attention to yet. It’s really interesting to see how he can take a description given by me and help it grow into a more solid idea. There have been a couple characters I’ve had him sketch when he’s asking for ideas to help him warm up, and I’ve been delighted with the results each time. One of them is the quick concept art he put together for Sera, a character from a story still going through outline development.
Though she’s been in my head as a character for some time, I had never taken the time to work much of her appearance out in my head. Now that there’s art existing, though, it’s easier for me to picture her actions, reactions and personality.
I’m not sure if he or I will be doing the final artwork for the book, or if we might collaborate on it together, but I definitely plan for complete pieces to appear in the book Sera is a part of.
Do any of your favorite books include illustrations?