Providing a visual interpretation of a story is a tried and true way of responding to a book. I did it as a kid and so do kids today. Now when I was a kid in the 1960s there was no Internet and so no easy way to publish my art. And so I did it pretty much for myself alone. But now there are so many places to publish your art — now better described, I suppose, as book fan art. I’ve just come across this one at the Guardian via Jonathan Stroud’s terrific article on why he likes the art so much. He notes:
Written reviews give you some idea about whether you’ve succeeded, naturally, but it’s not healthy to pay too much attention to reviews, either good or bad. And even if they’re brilliantly written (which they often are), they are intrinsically anecho of the writer’s reaction to the text. Yes, you get a good idea of what they liked or didn’t like, but you don’t experience their response first-hand – as something fresh, vibrant and living. Fan art provides precisely this effect. As its name implies, it’s both an enthusiastic reaction to your book, and an independent creative act in its own right. For the author, that makes it doubly thrilling.
And the art is indeed fabulous!
And for anyone interested in my fan art (though I’d probably have bristled at that term as I aspired to be a professional illustrator), here’s a drawing of Meg from A Wrinkle in Time I did at age eleven. As an adult I also did illustrations for Alice in Wonderland — you can see them here and Kipling’s The Elephant’s Child — you can see some of those here.