Are Book Illustrations Essential ?

Book illustrations are drawings, pictures and images used in books to add value to the written content. Book illustrations are much more than just pretty pictures and usually enhance the comprehension of the text in some way. The most common use of illustrations is in children’s books where the images help in maintaining the narrative flow of the story.

Advantages Of Using Illustrations

Two most significant advantages of using illustrations are – enhanced clarity of the message to be conveyed and enhanced visual beauty of the book.

Using sketches, illustrations and flowcharts can be useful in conveying messages, especially for an audience which may comprise of those with hearing disabilities or learning disabilities. In general, use of illustrations helps to convey an idea which is difficult to explain because the human brain is able to understand visual information more quickly than written information.

Visual images add to the beauty and overall quality of the book. Illustrations can give a book the look required for getting an increased audience.  Great illustrations add to the fun factor of a book, making it more attractive and saleable. Many classics, especially in children’s literature, are loved as much for their illustrations as for the story.

Disadvantages Of Using Illustrations

Two of the greatest disadvantages of book illustrations are higher costs and increased time consumption. Using illustrations can significantly increase the cost of printing a book, especially if colour illustrations are being used. Printing paper, ink and the processes involved in printing illustrations are much more expensive than those involved in printing text.

The process of illustration in a book is a complex process when compared to written content. Creating and printing illustration is both expensive and time-consuming.  Illustrations also increase the number of pages required and the increase the difficulty of formatting the book. Trying to maintain the number of pages will result in decrease in the size of the printed matter.

Despite these disadvantages, the use of illustrations is becoming increasingly pervasive in the publishing and printing industry. This is because the use of book illustration increases the quality and saleability of a book, thus offsetting the increased cost of printing illustrations.

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