To describe the parts or the whole of an illustration, use callouts and captions. You do not have to include both in an illustration.
Callouts are brief (one to five words) labels or descriptions of each part of an illustration that you want to emphasize, or “call out,” to readers. You can place callout text close to the part of the illustration it describes (connected by a callout line), like this:
Or you can place the callout text in a table, and refer to corresponding numbers that you place in the illustration. A table is useful when the callouts are longer than five words, or when the callout text will be localized or translated for international audiences. (If the text is part of the graphic, the illustration will have to be recreated to display the translated callout text.)
A caption is a sentence or phrase that appears above or below an illustration to describe or label the art as a whole, like this:
Tire with a puncture
Note: Use an accepted or consistent style for capitalization and punctuation in callouts and captions throughout your manuscript.
Tips for using art
Take a few pages from a manuscript you’re working on. How and where you could enhance the text with art? What types would work best? As you begin to incorporate art into your text, keep the following points in mind:
- Place the art in your text where it will help readers best. For example, place a photo of the Tour d’Eiffel directly below or beside the paragraph that mentions it.
- For conceptual art that uses icons or symbols, include a key (either in the illustration or as part of the caption).
- To identify people in a photograph, use either of these standard directions: front row first, left to right; or clockwise, left to right.
- You do not have to draw the art or take the photographs. Find an illustrator or photographer to do that work. Most often, the publisher hires an illustrator, so be sure to describe the illustrations accurately, or provide sketches of your ideas.
- If you’re working with a publication, publishing house, or printer, ask how you should deliver art files with your manuscript.
- If you’re designing, authoring, and publishing the piece yourself, read the user guides or online Help of your software programs to learn how to create and incorporate graphics files into the manuscript.
Copyright ©2011 by Marilyn C. Hilton