How to Cite an Illustrated Book
By David Becker
Dear APA Style Experts,
I want to cite an illustrated book and give proper credit to the illustrator, but I can’t find an example of how to do that in the Publication Manual. Can you give me some guidance?
— Edward G.
Unfortunately, the Publication Manual doesn’t have the space to accommodate examples for every type of citation situation (cite-uation?). But, even though the manual doesn't specifically mention how to cite an illustrator, the basic book reference format described on pages 202–203 still applies to your cite-uation.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the goal of a reference is not necessarily to provide proper credit—it’s more about directing your readers to the right source. These two objectives generally go hand-in-hand, but not always. For instance, if you’re citing a book that includes illustrations that aren’t essential elements of the book, crediting the illustrator is probably not necessary—this information will likely not assist readers in finding the original source.
Take Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for example. The illustrations by Sir John Tenniel are very well-known, but the book can function perfectly fine without them, and your readers won’t need to know his name to find the source. With that in mind, here’s what the reference would look like:
Carroll, L. (2006). Alice’s adventures in Wonderland & through the looking-glass. New York, NY: Bantam Dell. (Original work published 1865)
Even if you were writing specifically about these illustrations, you would still use the same reference information, as well as the standard author–date format for parenthetical citations. You could simply refer to the illustrator and his work in your narrative: “Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations are excellent examples of surreal art from the 1800s (Carroll, 1865/2006).”
However, when citing a book where the illustrations are essential to understanding the content—a children’s picture book or a graphic novel, for example—it would be appropriate to cite both the author and the illustrator, especially if they are both given cover credit. But, you don't need to worry about their roles. Keep it simple and cite the book as you would cite a non-illustrated book with more than one author. Take Goodnight Moon for example:
Brown, M. W., & Hurd, C. (2007). Goodnight moon. New York, NY: HarperCollins. (Original work published 1947)
Although Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd are clearly identified on the book's front cover as the author and the illustrator, respectively, there's no need to indicate this in your reference entry.
One benefit of sticking with this basic citation format is that you can easily apply it to books where the author and illustrator roles are not clearly designated on the cover, which is the case with the graphic novel Watchmen:
Moore, A., & Gibbons, D. (1986). Watchmen. New York, NY: DC Comics.
Note that although John Higgins is credited as the colorist inside the book, he's not named on the front cover. Therefore, it's not necessary to cite him for retrievability purposes—just cite what you see on the front cover.
This simple citation format also works for wordless picture books where there is no author, only an illustrator:
Becker, A. (2013). Journey. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
If you’re trying to cite an illustrated book, I hope this information will help you resolve your cite-uation. If not, please leave a comment below or contact us.