Words on the page give the reader a map. Pictures leave an impression- and artist’s impression- that become part of the book experience. Fabulous artwork can bring great things to a story. Art can have a life of its own in a book. Those two things can sometimes have very different effects on the reader.
Mary Grace Corpus and Jason Wiliford were the artists who did the illustrations in The Young Inventors Guild books. (Jason Wiliford did the chapter head sketches for The Atomic Weight of Secrets… and Mary Grace did the chapter head illustrations, as well as the blueprints for the inventions, in The Ravens of Solemano...) Each sketch has so much power, hinting at what will come in the pages ahead. The blueprints are crafted beautifully and offer a living schematic, something that only adds to whatever images are already dancing in the heads of readers.
Sometimes, though, the art breaks the spell and interferes. Sometimes, the artwork and the story are out of sync. We’ve all read books that are vastly different from whatever the illustrator (who clearly did not read the book manuscript) provided.
In Egypt, the artwork for locally produced kids’ books is due for an overhaul. Retro is one thing. Out-of-date design is another. Some of the art used in children’s books hasn’t changed for decades and was never attended to seriously. It feels like there may be only one or two working illustrators in the country and they learned their craft in the 50s. Many modern booksellers are in pursuit of some fresh and fabulous local art- of which there is plenty!
One of my favorite things about MG is the amount of illustration that goes into it. If I could have one talent in addition to writing it would be being able to draw.ReplyDelete
I hear you, Matt! There are lucky and talented authors out there who work with great illustrators for some of their books and do their own art for others (ex. Jonathan Scott Fuqua)Delete
Those sketches are amazing! I love it when MG books have illustrations for chapter headings or throughout the pages. And maps! Love maps!ReplyDelete
Me too! And pardon my gush for a moment -- my pretty BLUE BIRDS has one. :)Delete
Absolutely, Marissa! And YES, Caroline! I love maps and plan to indulge in maps for YIG book 3.Delete
I'm with Marissa, love maps. If they aren't in a book that can really use it, I'm often left a little dissatisfied. And the illustrations add just the right touches to some stories. I can't imagine them not in a book like The Hero's Guide.ReplyDelete
I agree, Brenda!Delete
Great sketches! I love illustrations in Middle Grade books. It's a good transition from picture books into adult reading.ReplyDelete
I love illustrations in ANY books, Shannon! And I feel so lucky to work with such talented people (both here at PMGM and with illustrators of my books!)Delete