By Its Cover: Original Art for Children's Books

Adrienne Adams, Illustration for Thumbelina, 1961
Sep 01, 2006 - Feb 04, 2007
Duvoisin Gallery

Despite the adage that warns against judging a book by its cover, readers rightfully expect the cover of an illustrated children’s book to herald its contents.

Illustrators, editors, and book designers collaborate to produce appealing book covers. Cover art must make a strong impression yet allow plenty of space for the book’s title and other text. Ideally the text design should complement the art; sometimes the artist creates the title as part of the cover illustration. 

Works of art by outstanding illustrators such as Adrienne Adams, Roger Duvoisin, Catherine Stock, and Jean and Mou-sien Tseng explore the art of creating the introductory image for a children’s book. Selected preparatory work reveals aspects of the artist’s creative process and highlights elements of book design.

Adrienne Adams, Illustration for Thumbelina
Watercolor and graphite on illustration board
Gift of the artist
©1961 by Adrienne Adams
Reprinted by permission of the estate of Adrienne Adams
Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University