These days, I find myself browsing the children’s shelves in bookstores just to check out the illustrations. But long before I even recognized book illustration as something exciting and separate from a book, or a whole career in itself that some lucky people actually have, I’d noticed Quentin Blake’s ‘art’. And much before I thought to notice his name. I’m sure that’s probably true of lots of people.
My first run in with him was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. A brilliant story even without the illustrations, but doubly so with! In the last few years, since discovering my interest in book illustration, I’ve trawled the internet for Quentin Blake’s work and of course the best site for it is his own. Don’t miss the 10 minute Quentin in Action.
Biography in short, apart from various other awards he’s won, he was appointed the first ever Children’s Laureate in 1999, a post designed to raise the profile of children’s literature. Now in his 70s he is recognized as ‘a national institution’. His work decorated a children’s hospital and various products and brands, and of course several books. That is not the reason why most kids and adults, me included, are crazy about his work. For me; he makes it all look so simple, – ‘I could do that’, only I haven’t managed yet!