I find books memorable for different reasons. These reasons range from characters, to plot, or to setting; however, one endearing reason a book can be memorable to me is because of its illustrations. Illustrations are not just for children’s books. Drawings can not only aid imagery but also create a deeper meaning. Which books are these? Well …
- Tales from the Inner City written and illustrated by Shaun Tan
Tan is an Australian artist who’s known for his book The Arrival. Tales from the Inner City, unlike The Arrival, is accompanied by text. Each page is filled with exquisite artwork that aids the extraordinary stories within. Tan’s artwork seamlessly mixes reality with his imagination; his drawings appears to be so bizarre—but also so realistic—that you cannot help but believe Tan has captured a rare and beautiful phenomenon.
- Likely stories written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Mark Buckingham
Buckingham captures the eeriness of Gaiman’s short stories in comic form. The graphic novel links the four short stories: “Foreign Parts,” “Feeders and Eaters,” “Looking for the Girl,” and “Closing Time”. Buckingham employs bold lines and full colour to bring the dark stories to life. Buckingham accentuates the obsession the protagonist feels towards a girl in the story “Looking for the Girl” by not only drawing full page spreads of the protagonist’s obsession, but showing the physical decline of the protagonist on his pursuit. Each story leaves you longing for more answers and more drawings.
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard written by JK Rowling and illustrated by Chris Riddell
At the end of 2018 Bloomsbury published the illustrated version of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Chris Riddell, an award-winning illustrator who has also illustrated for Neil Gaiman, brought JK Rowling’s fairy tales to life. Riddell’s delicate line work captures the various expressions of characters and brings the scenery to life. From the beautiful to the terrifying, each drawing is page-stopping. Riddell even left a little treat nestled within the book of a four page full colour image spread, but I won’t tell you where or what! Whilst I have read The Tales of Beedle the Bard before, the detailed illustrations made me slow down and take in the full story.
- The Little Prince written and illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Unlike the first three listed books, The Little Prince is not a new release, but the beautiful imagery meant it had to make the list! Whilst the drawings are not as detailed or as colourful as the others on this list, they are still beautiful. The simplicity of the drawings does not detract from the complex and moving text. The story itself is enchanting and quirky, and the drawings help tie in the constantly moving setting. The final image is a simple one of a shooting star that—for anyone who has read it—will find stirring.
All these illustrations range from the detailed to the simple, from the eerie to the beautiful, and from the horrific to the peaceful. Illustrations are not just for children to enjoy but also for adults. Let yourself be pulled into the illustrator’s world as you delve into the story.