1. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    Illustrating my own novel- what do you think?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by General Daedalus, Jul 28, 2015.

    Hi,

    So, as some of you may know, I'm writing a pretty deep piece of literary fiction based in the sixties. I think that one of the aversions many people have when it comes to reading books is that they can seem... well, rather dull. Tens of thousands of words can seem a little overwhelming to some. So I've decided to actually produce an illustrated adult novel. More importantly, I've decided to do it myself. I'd love to know what you all think of what I've drawn so far. Here is a little preview of my art.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sorry about the orientation, my scanner is playing up until my new ink cartridges arrive (Canon locks you out of the scanning features when there is no ink in the printer) so I just snapped them on my phone. Anyhow, I'd like some opinion- do you think that they look good? I'll be importing them into Photoshop once I can scan them and I'll make their backgrounds transparent, that way they'll blend perfectly with the page. I'm also going to be drawing some nice graphics for the chapter introductions so everything looks as professional, and as interesting as possible.
     
  2. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Better than I could do. Not good enough for a book I would publish.

    At work, do you do the graphic design / art for your games? Or do you get specialists to do it? I'd apply the same strategy to your novel, if it's what you want to do.
     
  3. AgentBen
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    AgentBen Member

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    The drawings are really good, but if I was reading a book, I would prefer the drawings to be done on computer.
     
  4. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    I oversee everything, mainly I program but I do create our logos and important graphics as well. Unfortunately it's very different from illustrating- I'm after a very specific, hand-drawn style for my book. And as for my graphic design team, they're working anywhere from 8-12 hours a day right now on our models and textures, since we're doing a huge graphical overhaul this month. For now, I think I'll be sticking to doing it myself (don't forget that the images are very bad quality, they're my first try, and I'll be practicing and producing better quality images before I edit and format).
     
  5. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    Thanks :) What do you mean by computer-based; are you thinking of a specific style like modern clip art, or do you just not think that hand-drawn sketches look good in a book?
     
  6. AgentBen
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    AgentBen Member

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    You would have to make it perfect, without any of them lines you have around your pictures. You would also have use a black ink pen. Anyways, you might as well use the computer. One way of another your book is going to processed on a computer, whether it be for normal printing, kindle or e-book. Carry on with your art though, it's nice. I like the pistol, reminds me of Call of Duty: World at War
     
  7. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, once I get my scanner working (hopefully tomorrow) I'm going to import it into Photoshop and remove all of the lines, I'll also remove all of the white background and make it transparent so the images blend perfectly with whatever paper they're printed on. I actually drew them with a biro pen I had lying around, just one of those generic Bics. I agree that it would look better with an ink pen, like a fineliner.
     
  8. AgentBen
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    AgentBen Member

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    If you want some ideas on what it could look like, I believe Rick Riordans Kane Chronicles books have pictures in them, so people know what the hieroglyphs are. I would look a a chapter preview online to get a taste.
     
  9. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your drawings are good; keep at it and they'll be great. You've got a very interesting style.

    Do you have drawings of any characters?
     
  10. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'm going to have to agree with Aaron. They are way better than I could do but I wouldn't want them in a book I would publish.

    The thing is that if you publish a book you want it to look professional. So you hire editors and format and hire cover designers etc. But these don't feel professional to me.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  11. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I don't see any problem with putting your drawings into your work, regardless of the quality. Vonnegut could draw for shit and do you hear anyone complaining about his drawings in Slaughterhouse Five? And why in hell would they need to be done on a computer? What possible reason could there be for that?

    That aside, your biggest problem is with perspective. You're masking it with detail, but that's not going to hold up to scrutiny. There are not a lot of good tutorials for perspective online that don't involve some kind of setting or background and that's not really what you're drawing here. But it's a good place to start:


    There's really nothing wrong with drawing with a straight edge, at pretty much any point in your career. If you're embarrassed you can draw supporting lines against a ruler and then fill them in freehand.
     
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  12. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    I have read many short stories with self produced illustrations but it is rare in a full length novel. If you are not self publishing, it will be up to your publisher as to whether or not you will be allowed to do your own illustrating.
     
  13. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    No, unless you're a damn good artist. From what you've shown you're not at the level required. The drawings demonstrate an inability to handle perspective.

    Honestly, not yet. You need far more practice.
     
  14. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    What!?
     
  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe I'm out of step here, but I think these are fine drawings. Yes, they are primitive to an extent, but that's not bad at all. What I like is that they are all done in a consistent style. Of course they can go into your book—although these particular drawings don't scream Sixties at me. They seem more suited to turn-of-the-last-century settings, particularly the first two. Those are late Victorian objects, aren't they? The sixties preferred simpler, more streamlined designs.

    However, that aside, maybe put a drawing at the start of each chapter, above the chapter title, or whatever. I just (yesterday) finished reading a book that did that very thing. It contained small black and white woodcut (crude) at the beginning of each chapter, to 'illustrate' something about the chapter. Nothing wrong with that at all. It might be a bit old-fashioned, but some old fashions would be well worth reviving. Lots of older books (I've got a library full of them) used this very device.

    Illustrations have advantages, if the images are chosen carefully. Not only can they provide a clue (along with the chapter title) what each chapter will be about, but they can be an aide to skimming through the book at a later stage, if the reader needs to check something, or simply re-read a favourite bit. I don't see any disadvantage, provided the drawing style is consistent with what's contained in your story.

    You can do hand drawings with any media you choose, then simply photograph them and export the photos into a digital format. No problem. Problems would come if you wanted to use colour, though. That would make printing each page a helluva expensive proposition.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
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  16. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    Personally I would want better quality art in the book. We spend a lot of time getting the words right, we should apply the same standards to the art work. There are good programs out there. Daz 3D is free, Poser and Manga Studio are used a lot for graphic novels.
     
  17. TheClintHennesy
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    TheClintHennesy Member

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    To be honest- I would say go with it. :)
    Just get a scanner and learn how to adjust images.

    Drawings add a nice touch to novels- so yeah. :p

    Also- I wouldn't worry too much about "Drawing Quality" if it's your own novel.
    If it's your own novel- putting your own drawings inside adds more of your voice inside it.

    So yea- GO for it. :)

    Though- when it comes to publishing or whatever- I don't have any say on it.
    I mean- I've seen books published books with crazy drawings and all that (caricatures and all)

    Just gotta keep the art over the book consistent.
     
  18. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    Thanks for the honest replies, everyone. I still very much like the idea of having illustrations to simply split the chapters up and make it a lot more presentable. They'd simply be black and white sketches to give the novel the feel I'm going for. I know they're certainly nothing special, it's just my style and I'd love to showcase it. I enjoy it as well, so once I'm done and (hopefully) a publisher picks up my agent's offer, I'll discuss it with them then. For now, though, I'll be putting them in, it should actually make it look more professional and well-rounded when pitching my novel.
     
  19. ladybird
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    ladybird Contributing Member

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    I think it's a nice idea in theory but in practice I'm not so sure. If people want illustrated books it would not be with pen and ink drawings it would be with photographs of the different locations in which the story is set.

    I rather like the illustrations and although I can see no benefit including them I'm thinking why not providing they are relevant to the plot.

    I agree with Jack.

    Jack, the instruction video is brilliant! I've always struggled with perspective and I can't believe I've never thought about looking for tutorials online so thank you!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  20. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only adult novel I've ever read that had pictures was Thomson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and I was irritated by them, even in that.

    Aren't pictures in story books something we leave behind with our childhood?
     
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  21. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Jack,

    You mentioned SlaughterHouse Five. Could I just point out that while the drawings in it are indee primitive and almost childlike, they are exactly on target for the plot of the book and perhaps more importantly fit perfectly with the character drawing them. Remember the MC is a PTSD suffering soldier recovering from the bombing of Dresden. If they'd been highly professional images it would have seeme out of place.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  22. tanstaafl74
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    tanstaafl74 Member

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    I have to agree with OurJud. If people find thousands of words together without pictures boring, they just don't read. Throwing a few pictures between chapters isn't going to change that. I have nothing against the concept, but I disagree with your reasoning for them completely.
     
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  23. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    My copy of The Beach has little pictures with chapter headings. Conceptually it's fine.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I assumed that you were self-publishing. I'm sorry, but if you're seeking traditional publishing, everything I've read says that putting them in will definitely make the novel look much less professional, and be a large handicap. That's not a comment about the illustrations--I believe that even if you worked as a professional illustrator and the illustrations entirely looked the part, even if you are regularly hired to illustrate books, including illustrations in a novel is just not a normal part of a novel submission. A submission manuscript is a dead plain body of text pages in a very specific format, a format that is not intended to show creativity in any way other than the actual text itself.

    If you already have an agent, and the agent has had significant success in placing books with traditional publishers, and the agent encourages you to include the illustrations...well, frankly, I'm still worried, but I can't claim to know better than someone in the business. If not, I say again that everything that I have read makes it clear that illustrations are not appropriate.

    One web page that addresses manuscript formatting, and briefly touches on illustrations, is here:

    http://www.annemini.com/?p=18889
     
  25. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    And why is the top of the cigarette smoking in the ash tray?
     

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