Artist of the Week: Quentin Blake

Artist of the Week: Quentin Blake

PopUp Painting’s ‘artist of the week’ is Quentin Blake.

Quentin Blake is a British illustrator who was born in the suburbs of London in 1932. The artist is best known for his illustrations of Roald Dahl’s books. 

Blake started his career at Cambridge, studying a diploma in English, but soon became more interested in the illustrations that he had been obsessively making since his childhood. His first drawings were published in ‘Punch’ magazine while he was 16 and still at school. He continued to draw for ‘Punch’, ‘The Spectator’ and other magazines which lead Blake into the world of children’s books with ‘A Drink of Water’ by John Yeoman in 1960. Quentin Blake has collaborated with an array of writers which have included; Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen and, most famously, Roald Dahl. He has also illustrated classic books, including A Christmas Carol and Candide and created much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.

Blake’s illustrations are highly expressive. Blake has mastered the art of telling story and setting a scene without being heavy handed with details. His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. He won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children’s books.

Blake has had a varied career having taught illustration at the Royal College of Art for over twenty years as well as being the occasional presenter of the BBC children’s story-telling programme ‘Jackanory’ in the 70’s. Quentin Blake is also a well regarded exhibition curator, curating shows in, among other places, the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris. The artist is also the designer of ‘Ben’, the ‘logo’ of the shop chain Ben’s Cookies.

We will be featuring Quentin Blake all week on our Facebook and Twitter pages, but in the meantime here is a selection of our favourite works by the artist:


Leave a comment