Tag Archives: Illustrations

I Like Books with Pictures

1 Aug

There, I said it. One of the few things that I brought with me from Bulgaria and that I still keep, despite periodic, merciless purges, are two of my favorite childhood books—The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen and La Fontaine’s Fables. You can find both books in any bookstore, even in the bestseller emporium that is Barnes&Noble. But I keep them because of the pictures by Libico Maraja and Cremonini. They are rich, detailed, perhaps a bit too old fashioned by today’s standards, but they still make me want to read the stories again and again, so I can get to the points that each illustration makes unforgettable.

Books

I am a grown up now, but I still can’t help myself when I see a book with beautiful illustrations. Sometimes the illustrations do the book justice. Sometimes they actually are better than the book itself. Either way, I end up buying them (for the kids, of course):

Anything by Paul or Josh Kidby

Luckily they mostly illustrated Terry Pratchett, so that is a no-brainer. Josh’s are manic, crazy, busy, chaotic as the Discworld itself. Paul’s have this self-mocking quality, as if Havelock Vetinari himself drew them.

josh_kirby_discworld_017

Chris Riddle

446muddleearth

All of Chris Riddle’s characters have the curious expression of a little kid. While some books are brilliant (Muddle Earth and Something Else need to be read by every parent to every kid; The Emperor of Absurdia is just plain fun), others do not make much sense (the Ottoline series). He also made Gulliver’s Travels look really good. Unfortunately, the story is still the same.

Illustrated books for adults

Sacre Bleu002These are few and far between. Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu, Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery and Hasek’s The Good Soldier Svejk are on my bookshelves because of the illustrations. They are all better because of the illustrations, too.

Then there are those books that beg for illustrations but which for whatever reasons – something as trivial as cost, or as self-conscious as fear that they would not be taken seriously – lack them. Think about it – wouldn’t My Name is Red, Wolf Hall or The Passage be better with pictures that show the obsession, intrigue and horror?

A picture is worth a hundred words, after all…

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