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Illustration of a busy landscape full of trees, bushes, leaves, and vines, with two children standing on a tree trunk to the left of a circular opening in the vegetation. The child on the right is holding back some branches and they are both looking into the opening where you can see in the distance is a silhouette of a green ship.

Quentin Blake: Book Covers

Coming soon:

The Oxfordshire Museum
29 June to 8 September 2024

The Atkins Building in Hinckley
28 September to 25 October 2024

“Drawing book covers is one of the most difficult things.” Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake’s career illustrating books began over 60 years ago with his covers for paperback fiction. Since then he has created hundreds of designs for everything from literary classics to his own picture books.

Animation of the progression of a drawing to book cover.

Each cover is a new challenge. Blake has to capture the essence of a story without giving away too much of the plot. His illustrations need to be carefully balanced with the title and appealing to the changing tastes of different readers.

This exhibition features 60 of Blake’s book covers from the 1960s to the present: from mid-century Penguin paperbacks to finely-crafted special editions. First editions are shown alongside reproductions of original artwork from Blake’s archive that show how he combines typography, dynamic layouts and his unique way of drawing to create playful designs.

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Drawing of a woman in a red cape playing a flute walking at night in the snow

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