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The Illusions Behind Illustrations: Including Original Illustrations in Young Adult and New Adult Horror Novels

Updated: Jun 26

As an author of young adult and new adult fiction, the inclusion of artwork can be a powerful tool to elevate your storytelling. While illustrations are often associated with children's literature, they can also play a vital role in captivating readers of more mature genres.


An illustrator sketching out a drawing for a book.
Original hand-made illustrations are one of the best ways to add some creative flair to your story and make your books stand out.

1. Illustrations Closely capture the essence of the author's vision

One of the key advantages of incorporating hand-drawn illustrations in your YA or NA novel is that the artwork is a direct reflection of the author's vision. When you create the illustrations yourself or work closely with an artist, you can ensure that the images perfectly capture the essence of your characters, settings, and pivotal moments in the story. This level of creative control is simply not possible with AI-generated images, which may lack the nuance and emotional resonance that hand-drawn illustrations can provide.

2. Time and Effort into Illustrations immerses the author even deeper into the narrative

Moreover, the process of creating hand-drawn illustrations can actually deepen the author's connection to the narrative. Crafting these visual elements requires a significant investment of time and effort, pushing the writer to delve deeper into the story's details and truly inhabit the world they've created. This heightened level of engagement can translate into a more cohesive and immersive reading experience for your audience.

3. illustrations make your story more unique

Another advantage of hand-drawn illustrations is their unique style and originality. Each artist's distinctive technique and approach to the artwork can become a hallmark of your novel, setting it apart from other works in the genre. This sense of uniqueness can be a powerful draw for readers, who are often seeking fresh and authentic storytelling experiences.


One of the illustrations from the book "I'd Rather Have a Green Christmas."
Many of my illustrations don't end up making it into the book. Rather, they are drawn to get a feel for my characters and how I would like to portray them.

A Procreate illustration from "I'd Rather Have a Green Christmas" that did not make it into the book.
Recently, I have been practicing using Procreate rather than graphite to create the illustrations for my books.

4. Hand-drawn illustrations help readers connect with the characters and world

Furthermore, hand-drawn illustrations using graphite or Procreate can serve as a powerful tool for character development and world-building. By presenting your readers with vivid, tangible representations of the characters and settings they're encountering, you can help them better visualize and connect with the narrative. This can be especially impactful in young adult and new adult fiction, where readers are often seeking to immerse themselves in rich, fully-realized worlds.


ready to enhance your reading or writing experience with hand-drawn illustrations?

The inclusion of hand-drawn illustrations in your young adult or new adult novel can be a transformative addition to your storytelling toolkit. By tapping into the author's personal vision, deepening the writer's engagement with the narrative, and offering a unique and captivating visual experience, these artistic elements can elevate your work and leave a lasting impression on your readers. If you're ready to enhance your books with a unique illustrative flair, don't hesitate to contact us for commissioned cover design and book art. You can also get inspiration for your own books by checking out the Phantom Features gallery or picking up one of the books and giving it a read!

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