Quentin Blake: The Big Friendly Giant of Illustration

by Cass Art

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He's the Big Friendly Giant of Illustration. He made the pelly's mouth open wide, gave George's marvellous medicine the bubbling brew it needed, and dressed Fantastic Mr Fox in a blazer and neckerchief. Yes, Quentin Blake is one of the most well-loved illustrators around today, and he needs very little introduction. (But we couldn't really resist.)

Now into his ninth decade, Blake's charming sketches that brought Roald Dahl's children's books to life are still as popular as ever, and his distinctive style shows no sign of diminishing.

So who better to have opened one of London’s newest galleries - and, moreover, a home and charity dedicated solely to illustration?

A selection of Blake's Roald Dahl sketches, and more recently his illustrations for the David Walliams books, is on show at The House of Illustration with Inside Stories. The exhibition will be running until the start of November.

The displays offers an intriguing insight into the award-winning Kent-born illustrator's work, showcasing initial drafts, storyboards and completed pieces.

The exhibition gives a sumptuous overview of an illustration’s evolution from the start of his career to the present day, with his flourishing use of several art materials including watercolour, pastels and inks.

Illustrator Quentin Blake  

Quentin Blake in 30 seconds

Few children - or adults, who were once children - can claim that they have never enjoyed Blake’s illustrations. One of his most beloved creations is Roald Dahl’s seminal BFG - his giant ears and kind smile connote one of the most heart-warming, yet frightening children's stories of all time, and are not exempt from the exhibition. Other illustrations include Dahl’s Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The Twits.

It must not be overlooked, however, that Blake is an author in his own right, and Clown remains a favourite among children. He became Britain’s inaugural Children’s Laureate in 1999 and has a gift for making a character’s personality ooze out of the page with a few gestural lines.

What is House of Illustration?

It is a new home for the medium of illustration, showcasing the emerging and the established, both international and nearer to home. It opened last month in the hub of King’s Cross’s innovative regeneration region. Animation, adverts, picture books, scientific drawings, fashion designs and political cartoons all feature within its walls. It provides a great introduction for anyone wishing to learn about illustration.

Event details

Inside Stories runs until 2nd November. 

Read more about the exhibition here.  

Image credits:

Sean Dempsey/PA Wire


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