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TheEarCollector
January 7th, 2005, 06:27 PM
The vast majority of all novels are just words on a page... I don't say this in a negative way, because those words can conjure up images, but sometimes I end up wondering if the picture matches what the other had in his or her head.
Books with pictures are nice. There, I said it! In a historical book, I will always flip through all the pictures before reading it (I don't know why). I do the same with normal books, but as I already mentioned and I am sure you have noticed, they have few pictures.

Where did all the illustrations and photographs go? Is it really so bad to use them?
Lord of the Rings used illustrations to a very limited extent (maps mostly).

What are all of your opinions on the use of illustrations? Do they in some way, shape or form actually detract from the story in your opinions?

The second part of this post is about technical drawings. I come up with sketches of vehicles/outfits/maps that I use just as a reference for myself... Is putting an illustration of this sort into your work some form of blasphemy to you?

Discuss.

MrBF1V3
January 8th, 2005, 02:36 AM
Sure, why not.

You are right. Very few of my fiction books have illustrations, though it is a time honored practice. I have Alice in Wonderland with drawings copied from the origonal.

I do not object to the use of drawings, but I wonder if there are many books that need them. Sometimes the images I conjure up in my own mind are way better than any drawing could have been.

About the more technical drawings, perhaps as an appendix . . ?

B5

Solaar
January 8th, 2005, 04:15 AM
The Lemony Snicket books have got some good illustrations in them. Quite diverse really.

Solaar
will read them soon

KatG
January 8th, 2005, 05:20 PM
Illustrations are very expensive and take more time to produce, so on your average book they aren't going to use them. Illustrations in the text are more common in children's works where they are traditional and built into the price of the work. There are some authors who have written special works that are purposefully meant to be illustrated. There are also graphic novels which are mostly illustration, but with significant amounts of text to them.

Abby
January 8th, 2005, 06:25 PM
I was always pleased by the little drawings and symbols that sometimes appear in Stephen King's novels. I think illustrations can enhance a novel geared for mature audiences . . . as long as the drawings are good. I'm rereading King's Eyes of the Dragon right now, and the illustrations in it are just terrible.

I'm not a huge fan of comic books and graphic novels because I think the drawings overwhelm their stories. Some of them are good, but a lot of those stories are pulpy, and many of their drawings are stiff and formulaic.

Yeah, the Lemony Snicket illustrations are great!

TheEarCollector
January 8th, 2005, 11:17 PM
I am referring to a text, just as the text would be normally, but on some pages having illustrations... And by illustrations I meant more maps and vehicle schematic types of things.
I realize that there is definately a cost associated with it, and that even if you do your own artwork a publisher would most likely try to have an artist re-render your work, but I was just trying to get an idea on your feelings for the subject.

Graphic novels are too much like comics, the story becomes too picture driven...
Children's stories rely heavily on pictures of some sort to keep interest...

I am talking about the occassional map or schematic, any opinions?

Abby
January 8th, 2005, 11:41 PM
Yeah. I think maps and schemetic drawings in a novel would be great. I'm not sure publishers would agree, though, judging by how few novels we see with those things in them.

KatG
January 9th, 2005, 05:29 PM
Maps and schematics, like glossaries and indexes, are considered supplementary matter. If the publisher and the author mutually agree on having a map or maps -- and the publisher has to agree -- the author is responsible for supplying the map, either by producing the artwork himself or paying someone to do it. Which is why there often isn't a map, as the author doesn't feel like having the expense eat into his advance monies. In epic fantasy, a map or two is fairly common and not too expensive, so publishers are willing to put them in and sometimes even paying for them, though it's more common in a book that is first put out in a hardcover than a paperback original edition. Likewise reasonably sized glossaries or information indexes. It's considered a marketing/publicity design advantage because fantasy fans like maps and stuff like that. So a few maps would probably not be a problem in a fantasy or horror work, and might not be a problem in a sf work. If you're talking about a lot of maps and diagrams, then you'd probably have to supply them from your own pocket and talk the publisher into using them all, which is not impossible to do.

Interior design flourishes like little fleur de lis and such are the art and production departments' responsibility -- the author does not have to supply or pay for them. They're used to give the work a distinctive, more posh look. For instance, Diane Mott Davidson's culinary mysteries used to have recipies set on seperate pages within the narrative presented in illustrated boxes. But the publisher has to have a marketing reason for doing such flourishes as they do make the production of the work slightly more expensive, and may or may not be influenced by the author concerning them.

Line drawings -- interior sketches -- are up in the air. Usually they are supplied and paid for by the author, though not always, and are used only for specifc projects where the sales are expected to justify the extra cost.

TheEarCollector
January 9th, 2005, 11:18 PM
You seem to know a lot on the subject of SF Kat, but how do sf readers tend to react to maps and schematics?
I do concept art and maps to help myself maintain consistency in my current large sf work. If the illustrations are something that just never really get added because an author doesn't want to pay an artist to do, or do himself, then does already having some form as a kind of perk, or is it just a waste of funding in the eyes of a publisher?

KatG
January 10th, 2005, 09:31 PM
You seem to know a lot on the subject of SF Kat, but how do sf readers tend to react to maps and schematics?
I do concept art and maps to help myself maintain consistency in my current large sf work. If the illustrations are something that just never really get added because an author doesn't want to pay an artist to do, or do himself, then does already having some form as a kind of perk, or is it just a waste of funding in the eyes of a publisher?

Overall, but not completely, sf readers are not as interested in illustrations. You see a lot less maps and schematic diagrams in sf because since they're usually doing alien planets and space travel instead of imaginary realms, the maps aren't needed. However, timelines are common for some stories. Asimov, for instance, did one for his predictive history series. Things like family trees and that sort of thing may be useful. Maps tend to show up for things like science fantasy (sf that has a fantasy-like setting but no actual fantasy elements such as McCaffrey's Pern books,) and post-apocalyptic sf where they show where all the new after the world crashed stuff is located, but may be used for other stories. David Brin had some maps and diagrams for his Uplift War series, for instance.

If you have maps and schematics prepared, there will be two questions about it:

1) Does the publisher think the book will sell well enough to be worth the slight extra printing costs and extra work of including that illustrative material?

2) Is the artwork that you have of suitable quality and clarity for the production department to actually use?

If you've got a book contract with a publisher, it's certainly something you can discuss with them, preferrably early on, and they may do it. For ms. submissions, you can include copies of maps for information purposes, but obviously don't want to send original artwork that can't be replaced. If you're talking about a lot of maps and schematics, though, I'd wait on it, as the inclusion in the submission of so much illustrative material would just make everyone nervous.