Sunday 30 May 2010

Quentin Blake at the Hay Festival 2010

There is no question that Quentin Blake is a prolific illustrator, his work can now be seen virtually everywhere not just in books but on mugs, bags, greetings cards, wrapping paper, hospital murals and now even the sides of  buses! However despite him being one of Britain's most prolific illustrators, and certainly the most recognised and respected, the quality and charm of his work remains in each and every one of his drawings. That effortless sketch like quality his illustrations have is a style that is often copied but has yet never been matched.
We have met Quentin a few times and he is the most pleasant modest person you could ever wish to meet, quintessentially British, just like his illustrations, he is without doubt a national treasure. We had the good fortune to see him again yesterday at the Hay Festival (for which he designed many of their logo's see above). 
He gave a short talk about his work in front of hundreds but the highlight of the event was that Quentin just basically sat and chatted while he drew selections of the characters he has drawn throughout the years, (shown on screen via a camera above his drawing board) at times taking requests from the audience. Below is his replicating one of the first character designs for the BFG.
His wonderful 'free' style of drawing was demonstrated quite naturally as he moved from calligraphy pen, to dip pen, to quill and finally with a brush - at one point demonstrating the ability to create smoke (that was drifting from a hot pan of George's marvellous medicine) by scribbling with a watercolour pencil and then dipping his finger in water to smudge the pencil lines into clouds of bellowing steam. 
It was a delight to watch a true master at work and a real gentleman who quite clearly loves what he is doing; "I draw each and every day" - long may he continue!

To see more of Quentin's work go to his website; and choose the "Fossicking" link where you can look through some of his archived illustrations.

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