Why Book Illustrations Are Important

an illustration of two people sat in chairs reading illustrated books

In this post I will discuss:

Table of Contents

Why Illustrations are so important in children’s books

For younger readers, illustrations are key to holding the child’s attention. If you have read a book with a child, you will see how they engage with the illustrations. They will point to them or even interact with the drawings. It provides a much needed extra dimension to the story for children. It is hard to hold a child’s attention at the best of times, and particularly for young children, they need this additional layer of stimulation to stay excited about the contents of the story.

The illustrations also assist with learning. Viewing the images while hearing the words helps children to understand the meaning of the words by seeing the actions and objects depicted in front of them. It makes comprehension much easier and is going to build upon their development and love for literature.

Why illustrations are important in books designed for adults

Illustrations are not just for children’s books. They have a huge role to play in business books, technical manuals, educational texts and many other genres. When the subject matter is complex, visual information is often much easier to digest and to recall as needed. It can help to convey these difficult elements within a text which is going to ensure the reader has a better experience. It will often allow you to communicate the subject matter more succinctly.

How to balance cost of printing and volume of illustrations

This question is asked a few different ways by authors.

How many illustrations should I include?
How much will it cost to print my book if I have X illustrations?

The first point to consider is this: Are you focused on making a profit from your book, or is this more of a passion project?

 The reason this question should be asked first is your goal will determine the answer I give you.

If your goal is profit and maintaining a good margin, then I would advise minimising the volume of illustrations. The more colour illustrations you put inside your book, the more expensive the printing costs will become, especially if you use premium colour printing.

If your publishing endeavour is a passion project then I would advise more illustrations and you can use premium colour printing. There is always a happy medium to be reached, but your publishing goals will make a lot of these decisions much easier. 

How to balance cost of illustrations and volume of illustrations

The same train of thought needs to be deployed when you are thinking about how many illustrations to include. It will depend on your goal, BUT the extra elements to consider are the age your book is written for and what the story needs.

The age range of your book is important.

The younger the audience of your book, the more important illustrations will be to hold their attention. In order for your book to be successful, more illustrations will be advised for your book. If you are aiming at a slightly older demographic, then the volume of illustrations can be much less depending on your genre of course.

What does the story need?

Primarily this decision will come down to what the story requires. You want readers to enjoy the story, and you want to do it justice. Which characters and scenes need to be illustrated to make your book the very best it can be? This question will help you make those difficult decisions when weighing up the number of illustrations compared to the cost.

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