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Big News About my Illustrations!

I have some exciting news about my illustrations!

But more on that later.

I know, I’m making you wait. Delayed gratification. It will make it that much better when I tell you!

So quick question: what do you think of illustrations in novels? 

It used to be the norm, until the turn of the 20th century. At which point illustrations became thought of as a hindrance. A distraction that muddled up the elegant prose of novels. 

Some worried illustrations would be overshadowed by flashier forms of entertainment and thought writers should focus on the writing

An article in The New Yorker from 2013 addressed just this topic. Here’s a quote, referring to author Henry James’ opinions on the matter…

“This is one of the earliest articulations of the existential anxiety that still preys on novelists today. Basically, James was worried about movies. If prose was going to lean on the crutch of pictures, however charming, it was going to quickly find itself surpassed by far more dazzling mediums of visual entertainment. Literature needed to apply itself to doing the things that photography and film could not—it needed to evoke a scene’s inner workings.”

It should come as no surprise that I don’t agree with Henry James. Actually, I fall into the category of folks who think illustrations are GREAT! 

I think they add to the story, when done well, rather than diminish it. 


Yet illustrations are a bit of an anomaly. Aside from graphic novels, which my grandkids adore, you don’t see many novels with illustrations these days. At least not in novels for adults. (Note: my book is for everyone.)

And I’d wager that most modern people don’t agree with Henry James either. I’d say they side with the author of the New Yorker article, who ends the piece with this…

“Literature illustrations are fun. Giving up on them sacrifices real pleasures for a needlessly narrow conception of literary purity.”

Absolutely. They’re fun. And, often, the books wouldn’t be the same without those images.

Ok, so now for the exciting news I’ve been waiting to share….

My original artwork – meaning the original drawings I made of the illustrations in the book, often out in the woods on hikes with my dogs – are now on display, and for sale, at Prairie Hills Art Gallery at 843 Massachusetts Street

J.R. Hooge Original Illustrations On Display

More on how that came about in my next post. But for now just know that the drawings await you, ready for a visit anytime.

And, of course, there are always the printed versions in my book, which you can buy here.

To see more of my art prints for sale, click here.

And to see a step-by-step post about how I make my drawings, click here.

1 Comment

  1. Greg says:

    I agree with you. The drawings help me see what you have described in writing. Please don’t quit.

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