Penguin Collectors Society

Penguin by Illustrators

Penguin by Illustrators [940]

In 2005, as a contribution to Penguin Books’ 70th anniversary, the Society organised a study day at the V&A to which some of the great names in Penguin design were invited to speak. The day’s events were published in book form, Penguin by Designers, in 2007, and copies arrived on the very day that we held our second study day at the V&A, this time featuring Penguin illustrators.

Five main speakers attended on the day, and two more initially planned to, but were forced by other commitments to pull out. Several other illustrators were persuaded to attend, on the condition that they were not obliged to make speeches, but would bring along portfolios and discuss their work informally at the end of the day.

Penguin by Illustrators is a celebration of that event, featuring in Part One the five presentations of Dennis Bailey, Romek Marber, Jan Pieńkowski, Tony Lyons and Jon Gray, and supplemented by Phil Baines’s introduction, and two further chapters by Quentin Blake and David Gentleman. In Part Two a further 27 artists were invited to write short essays about particular books or short series that they had illustrated for Penguin.

This is not a definitive or comprehensive history of the use of illustration on and within Penguin Books; but it does cover virtually the entire period from Penguin’s tentative, and then formal abandonment of purely typographic covers in the mid 1950s – right up until the present time.

Penguin by Illustrators is in landscape format, 19.5 × 26cms, has 200 pages and over 600 illustrations, the great majority of which are in colour. It is designed by Ipek Altunmaral, a final-year student at Central Saint Martins, and has a cover designed by David Pearson.

Penguin by Illustrators is only available from the Society. To buy Penguin by Illustrators click here.