When some artists apply themselves to each project they face, they don’t seem to be able to put a foot wrong. Their creativity and vision take them from strength to strength and ensures their continued acclaim from art buffs and wins them legions of fans who love and admire their work.
This is what appears to be the case for Quentin Blake. This is an illustrator who takes artistic success to a whole new level. He has devoted his career not only creating his own illustrations but also to educating the next generations of artists in the very same skills that he himself possesses.
On top of the life-classes he studied at Chelsea Art School, Blake also obtained a postgraduate teaching diploma from the University Of London, enabling him to pursue a career in teaching at the Royal College of Art. It was here that he served as Head of Illustration from 1978 to 1986, demonstrating his importance in the world of illustration.
Blake has also established himself as an exhibition curator, having overseen shows at the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musee du Petit Palais.
At the beginning of his career, Blake published his artwork in magazines such as Punch (including his very first when he was still at school aged 16) and The Spectator. He then embarked on his most notable role, as a children’s illustrator, with John Yeoman’s work, A Drink of Water (1960). He has since gone on to collaborate with Russell Hoban, John Aiken, Michael Rosen, David Walliams and Roald Dahl- the latter being his most famous partnership of all.
Along with the creation of his own characters, such as Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage, Blake has also endeared himself to older readers with the illustration of classic works such as A Christmas Carol and Candide.
There are many reasons for which art lovers will take a particular shine to Mr Blake. But, for me, it will be as a children’s author that Blake will be predominantly special. His work with Roald Dahl has become embedded in the consciousness of many a child’s minds, and one would hope that this appreciation will continue for many generations to come.
– Luke Mayo, Correspondent (Art)