Meet the first Children's Laureate Quentin Blake | BookTrust
Roald Dahl and his illustrator Quentin Blake .. in a hasty recall of Blake after the illustrations to the first edition by Rosemary Fawcett met with the a competition) of Patrick Benson to illustrate The Minpins (which Dahl did not know was to be. Jul 15, The illustrator talks about his working relationship with author Roald Dahl Sir Quentin Blake's relationship with Roald Dahl began with a . Blake, who was Head of Illustration at London's Royal College of Art, did not himself. to know about the first Children's Laureate Quentin Blake, including what he did during his time in the role. Quentin Blake read English at Cambridge, before attending Chelsea Art College. Author: Roald Dahl Illustrator: Quentin Blake.
It is a journey, almost, from darkness to light and, as with The Twits, each book called upon a particular sensibility for his illustrator in the handling of the resources of a monochrome palette in making pictures which would match the progress of the story. This is not a question of sharing glimpses of odd events but of a full-scale illustrative accompaniment.
The Twits, George, and Esio Trot, being short books have illustrations on almost every page-opening, and the others — all over two hundred pages long — still carry a very full cargo of pictures.
In visiting the current exhibition it is therefore well to be aware that the pictures there chosen for display have something of the character of stills from a movie.
While Dahl never accommodated himself to the demands made by picture-book stories he nonetheless did give his artist and his publisher the opportunity for the expansive display of colour illustrations in the verse anthologies Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts Both of these volumes have little illustrative histories of their own: As it happens, Quentin was already working on illustrations for the book for a Dutch translation.
A successor to these rhyme books was Rhyme Stew which saw the transmogrification of sundry fables, folktales, and nursery rhymes into comic verses but was was illustrated only in monochrome.
Questions and Answers | Quentin Blake
The only other large-scale picture-story in colour was The Giraffe, and the Pelly, and Me The Crocodile book was converted from its original quarto format to a tall octavo of double the length sixty-four pages, including endpapers with the original colour illustrations chopped about and rearranged, which results in what proves to be a more dramatic page-turner although the gruesome picture of the crocodile as collapsed see-saw, shown in the exhibition, is unfortunately omitted.
The giant thirty-two page Giraffe book was given a dainty sibling when the artist was called upon to remodel select images from the coloured first edition for reproduction in pen-and-ink with a grey wash.
These were extended through some eighty pages of a new-set text in smaller format. But they have, at a conventional level, one mechanical virtue: To the illustrator that simple procedure may seem enviable, for the damned difficulty of his work — even if he is illustrating his own text — arises from its involvement in a multiplicity of variables. This is not just the demand that your pictures achieve a convincing reflection of what the text says, what also counts are such matters as your selection of subjects for your pictures, how those subjects are to be portrayed, what medium you may wish to use for your work, what constraints may be imposed upon you by the format, the text-layout, and other physical considerations arising from the editorial programme for the book and so on.
It was lucky for Dahl then that his companion-at-arms had had long experience of the business of conceiving and preparing illustrations and that the two of them were working for a congenial and enthusiastic publisher. For Blake the difficulties were less damnable than they might have been.
Quentin Blake on working with a big friendly giant
One overriding natural advantage that he had was that of temperament. A waistcoat was introduced instead, but footwear continued to be in question until one day Blake received a parcel in the post.
Roald Dahl in his writing hut, at the bottom of his garden in Buckinghamshire One day Blake received a parcel in the post. So, for instance, he found the serenity of Matilda on his own. Sir Quentin Blake I make it all up, and you do that by feeling that in yourself.
People in my drawings do energetic things I never do, but I can sort of imagine what it feels like to do them He draws daily, working alone and not wanting to be observed — although in public he draws for audiences with astonishing speed and skill.
He has been told — on the rare occasions that a spectator was present — that when he concentrates, he makes the faces of the characters he is drawing.
Children's Books - Articles - Roald Dahl and his illustrator Quentin Blake | BfK No.
I did get some little ones accepted when I was about sixteen or seventeen. That was a start. They paid me seven guineas each. I didn't know what to do with the cheque; I didn't have a bank account! I began doing small drawings for them until they decided that they were going to have an illustrated cover, and I started doing that too. I suppose the first proper book I ever illustrated was while I was on National Service, before university.
I spent three weeks illustrating a booklet - called English Parade - used in teaching those soldiers who hadn't yet mastered reading. There was no alteration to my weekly pay-packet, but I was able to live at home and I was allowed to wear shoes instead of boots.
From time to time I had to show my work to a lieutenant-colonel for his approval.
- Questions and Answers
- Quentin Blake
- Quentin Blake: Collaborating with Roald Dahl
A few moments of silence and then: I'll see to it, sir. But at least it was preparation for encounters with editors and worse committees, later on. How did you begin to do children's books? I was interested in education, drawing and English, so it seemed as if illustrating a children's book might be something I could do. I don't know whether they'll like it or not. I was something so I thought I'll just keep on with it for a bit and see where I've got to by the age of 30, and if it's no good I'll give up and if it's all right I'll go on.
By then it had begun to be all right so I kept on. I didn't really know how to start. I talked to author John Yeoman, who is a friend, and said "Could you write a book so I can illustrate it? It was called A Drink of Water. What was your favourite book as a child? My parents gave me a copy of 'Chicks' Own Annual' when I was four. I still have it and love looking at the drawings from time to time.How To Draw Like Quentin Blake - Roald Dahl Day
When did you start writing the words as well? It was inwith Patrick.
Roald Dahl and his illustrator Quentin Blake
Really it was a kind of protest because I was seen as a black-and-white illustrator, so I was never asked to do anything in colour. I retaliated by writing this story about a young man who made things change colour when he played the violin. So you see, it had to be illustrated in colour.