Quentin Blake: Book Covers

10 February to 11 May 2024

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 and family-friendly poetry books. 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.

Each cover is a new challenge for Blake. He has to capture the essence of a story without giving away too much of the plot or the ending. His illustrations need to be carefully balanced with the title and suitable for the printing process that will be used. At the same time, Blake’s designs must be eye-catching and appealing to the changing tastes of different readers.

This exhibition features reproduction illustrations courtesy of Quentin Blake’s archive.
Quentin Blake: Book Covers is a touring exhibition from Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration.

Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration website: www.qbcentre.org.uk
 Cover illustration for Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban © Quentin Blake 2017

Cover illustration for The Winter Sleepwalker by Joan Aiken © Quentin Blake 1994
Cover illustration for The Green Ship by Quentin Blake © Quentin Blake 1998
Selection of books published by Penguin. Cover illustrations © Quentin Blake 1961-1968 (photo by Justin Piperger)


To accompany the exhibition there is an exciting competition to design a book cover. Selected students will have their design displayed in our main Art Gallery.  

The competition is for children and young people aged 5-18, with an overall winner being selected for each key stage group from KS1-5. We encourage students to be creative and have fun with whatever materials or medium they choose.

The deadline is Friday 12th April. If you would like to participate, please get in touch with Phoebe Hilton on phoebe.hilton@rugby.gov.uk