Art in Writing: Illustrating a Point

Last week I interviewed author Amanda K. Taylor about her YA fantasy, Neiko’s Five Land Adventure, which she wrote at the young age of 16. Amazing. It’s even more amazing if you know the extent of her plans and the layers in her novel.


I asked Amanda for more illustrations from Neiko’s Five Land Adventure because I wanted to post about art in writing. You may have heard the cliche, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, it’s true. All of Amanda’s pictures make a point about some aspect of her story. 

 Here’s an example of the heroine’s journey.


Illustrations also make the most important point in writing: visualizing the story helps readers connect with it on a more personal level. Look at the interesting location shot below. First you might wonder, what kind of strange creature is that beside the heroine (Neiko), and why is a scorpion with her? But then don’t you ask yourself, now where is that? If you tried to put yourself in the picture, that means you connected on a personal level.

If you didn’t connect, you’re in the minority. Amanda already mentioned her readers’ responses to these very illustrations. One of her top three reasons she decided to become an indie author is Control, which includes her illustrations. That personal connection a reader makes with the pictures means he or she will want to read more, even when they have to buy the next book to do so. Of course getting readers to buy the first book is a different matter. I hope this post will help.

Here’s another illustration that makes Amanda’s point about readers responding well to her pictures. How can you not want to read more about these guys?

I saved Amanda’s last interview question for this post because it concerns this picturesque subject. So here you go, my question in red, and Amanda’s answer to be read.
Sorry, but I had to play with words at least once this week.

Who designed your cover and illustrations, Amanda? How? 
I get asked this A LOT, especially at physical events. I had a reviewer wonder how the illustrations matched so well with the descriptions and it was PERFECT and that the characters seemed to jump off the page. ANSWER: I did. I did all the drawings of the characters. I provided an illustrator with a skeletal design that included: scene, who was there, where they were, and what they were doing, and I knew exactly where the illustration would be placed in the book and where the scene was. All the illustrator did was put it all together, but they did have a little room for their own creativity. That’s how the cover came to be too. I worked with a different publisher who let their illustrators do this with Neiko’s Five Land Adventure and the illustrations with book #2 that I am redoing since my first publishing run stank, but I will be working with someone else for book #3 and beyond, and I will be doing them the exact same way. Reader tested and reader approved.
Thank you, Amanda!  I loved having you here and getting to know you. And here’s an great example of a reader tested and reader approved illustration. I do not want to meet this guy on a dark and stormy night. You’ve made your point!

Okay, one last picture, maybe not the most exciting, but this is the one I connected with most because it reminds me of a lodge I visited in Alaska when my husband was stationed at Elemendorf AFB. I also imagine there’s quite an interesting debate taking place in this picture. What do you think? 
All good things must end, but not quite yet. There’s a book giveaway in the post with Amanda’s interview, and a chance to blog hop until you drop to other book giveaways.
This blog hop is hosted by  by Kathy of I Am a Reader Not a Writer and co-hosted by Jinky of Jinky is Reading. If you don’t see the post with the Rafflecopter form right below this one, please click here. Amanda and I would both love to hear your thoughts before you leave. Thank you for visiting!

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Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Wow…the art is fantastic. I love books that have this much detail in them.

  2. Aloha Sher,

    Thanks for the follow, and am doing the same:)

    (This was a really interesting post… I’m a bit of a heathen when it comes to art and illustration, but Amanda is certainly passionate about what she does – and good for her!)

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