Questions and Answers | Quentin Blake
Quentin Blake: 'Roald Dahl took my drawings into account when he wrote the BFG' Sir Quentin, is the nicest, most unassuming man you could meet. When I did the drawings for the BFG I gave him an apron, like Dahl said. 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. Following the release of 'Quentin Blake: In the Theatre of the Imagination' by because it's a kind of caricature, and that's where Roald and I met very much. Blake did however manage to mitigate Dahl's graphic verse with.
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.
Behind the scenes: Quentin Blake's revelations of Roald
One overriding natural advantage that he had was that of temperament. From his earliest experiments as a schoolboy, submitting cartoons to Punch, he has delighted in comedy. That visual presence comes about also through his confessed search for spontaneity in the creation of illustration. The format may indeed be set by the publisher, or fall within only moderately flexible limits, but within those limits the illustrator needs freedom to judge how to exploit the potential of his original design.
Blake has given a detailed account of significant moments in the collaboration on The BFG and Matilda in his book Words and Pictures pp. In all the books from The Enormous Crocodile to Esio Trot Blake triumphs through bringing us into the lives of the characters, and not only does he do this through an exact imagination: He may be given more to line-drawing than colouring but that has not precluded him from judging the contrasting values of his favoured watercolours in Dirty Beasts and Revolting Rhymes and the stronger inks in The Enormous Crocodile.
And it is also noteworthy that the media which he uses in the sequence of storybooks illustrated in monochrome are subtly varied to catch the nuances or mood of the narrative: The universal success of the collaboration both in artistic and commercial terms was hardly likely to see its abandonment through the sad loss of one of the two dynamic participants.
The first, The Vicar of Nibbleswicke, carries an afterword by Quentin printed as a Foreword in the Penguin edition in which he recalls something of his happy relationship with Dahl with whom he was working on this book when Dahl died. And the third was perhaps the most beautiful book in the whole partnership: The examples from the book to be seen in the exhibition stand in notable contrast to the more manic drawings for the stories.
Unsurprisingly the process was begun by Jonathan Cape for whom in Blake re-illustrated Danny the Champion of the World. In however several rapid changes in ownership occurred which need to be described. 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. 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.
BBC - Quentin Blake on working with a big friendly giant
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. When did you start writing the words as well?
- Roald Dahl and his illustrator Quentin Blake
- Quentin Blake on working with a big friendly giant
- Quentin Blake
It was inwith Patrick. 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. What is your favourite book ever? It is impossible to say which is my favourite, because I have read hundreds and possibly thousands of books, both in English and in French. What was it like working with Roald Dahl?
To begin with, I was a bit nervous. He was quite a powerful figure. 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.