Monday, November 23, 2009

flipside featured artist - quentin blake

Quentin Blake

In lieu of the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is coming out soon and based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl, this week's ffa is author/illustrator/children's laureate, Quentin Blake (b.1932). Blake illustrated 18 of Dahl’s books including, The BFG (1982), and Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970), among others.

Quentin Blake is one of Britain’s best loved and most successful illustrators and children’s authors”, as stated on his website. He has illustrated over 300 books! Wowzers – that’s a lot! And on top of that, he taught at the Royal College of Art for 8 years and he was appointed the first children’s laureate in 1999 - which is a job to promote children’s literature. He also works as an exhibition curator in galleries in London and Paris – busy, busy man!

Mr. Blake lives in South Kensington, and loves to cook fish. He says he spends his free time reading and will have upwards of 7 books on the nightstand near his bed, some of which he never finishes reading.

Blake started drawing at the age of 5, and did illustrations for the magazine Punch when he was 16. His interest in English, education and drawing, naturally progressed to illustrating children’s books, which he started doing in his 20’s. He worked with author Roald Dahl for 15 years.

On how he decides what to draw, Blake says; “If someone is asleep in bed dreaming, you don’t necessarily want to see them in bed, but you might want to look at the dreams. I try to get as close to what the writer intended as possible...

Blake says that he enjoys both illustrating his own books, Clown (1995), and other authors' books like The BFG by Roald Dahl, because they are both interesting in their own way.

All in all, I think Quentin Blake is pretty darn cool and a great contributor to children’s literature. His illustrations just scream childhood and I love their whimsical and airy feel. What is your favorite Quentin Blake or Roald Dahl book?

(all art work by Quentin Blake)

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