For many adults, Quentin Blake’s illustrations conjure up a sense of nostalgia, transporting us back to when we first opened a Roald Dahl book and lost ourselves in the imaginations of both men – writer and artist. Dahl’s wild tales and Blake’s vibrantly inked characters formed the perfect pairing and continue to inspire both young and old today.
An exhibition of Quentin Blake’s illustrations is currently running at the House of Illustration gallery near King’s Cross, London, and it follows the thought processes behind the distinctive artist’s work. More than 100 selected pieces from rough sketches and storyboards – some never seen before – through to finished works all line the gallery’s walls and display cases, and reveal how Blake’s ideas evolved. The newly opened gallery and education space, of which Quentin Blake is a trustee, provides a home to ‘see, learn about, and enjoy illustration in all its forms’, and Quentin Blake: Inside Stories forms the inaugural exhibition.
The exhibition features illustrations from Roald Dahl’s The Twits and Danny the Champion of the World, as well as from his own titles and collaborations with authors such as David Walliams and Michael Rosen. Hand written notes by Quentin Blake explain the methods behind the creation of the much loved characters, as well as those we love to hate such as Mr and Mrs Twit – the latter inked in the ‘harder and scratchier’ pens. The exhibition is a great opportunity to view the colourful, scribbly and lively illustrations on their original sheets of paper and original inks rather than in the traditionally printed and uniform books we are used to seeing them in, and is enough to put a grin on the face of many a nostalgic grown up or captivated child alike.
If you’re feeling inspired after viewing Quentin Blake’s illustrations, why not open a fresh notebook and fill the blank pages with doodles, sketches or illustrations and create your very own artist’s sketchbook. Let your imagination run wild!
The Quentin Blake: Inside Stories exhibition runs until 2nd November 2014, 10.00am – 6.00pm.