Sunday October 21, 2018

sir quentin blake

illustrator and children's author 


Sir Quentin Blake was born in 1932 and has drawn ever since he can remember. He went to Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School before studying English at Downing College, Cambridge. After National Service he did a postgraduate teaching diploma at the University of London, followed by life-classes at Chelsea Art School.

Quentin has always made his living as an illustrator, as well as teaching for over twenty years at the Royal College of Art, where he was head of the Illustration department from 1978 to 1986. His first drawings were published in Punch while he was 16 and still at school. He continued to draw for Punch, The Spectator and other magazines over many years, while at the same time entering the world of children's books with A Drink of Water by John Yeoman in 1960.

He has illustrated nearly 300 books, and is known for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen, John Yeoman and, most famously, Roald Dahl including The BFG, The Witches, Matilda and Esio Trot, all of which have won major prizes. He has also illustrated classic children's books, and written and illustrated his own books, for which he has also won awards, starting with Patrick which was published in 1968, and including Angelo (1970), which was later used as the basis for a children's opera. He is the creator of much-loved characters such as Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.

Since the 1990s Quentin Blake has had an additional career as exhibition curator, curating shows in, among other places, the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris. Recently he has also started an illustration project for hospitals and his work can be seen in the wards and public spaces of several London hospitals and mental health units.

His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. He won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children's books. In 2004 Quentin Blake was awarded the 'Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres' by the French Government for services to literature and in 2007 he was made Officier in the same order. In 2012, Quentin also received the Eleanor Farjeon Award for his services to children's literature.


In 1999 he was appointed the first Childrens Laureate, a post designed to raise the profile of children's literature. In 2002 his book Laureate's Progress recorded many of his activities and the illustrations he produced during his two-year tenure.


Quentin Blake was appointed an OBE in 1988, and subsequently was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005. In the New Year's Honours list for 2013, Quentin Blake received a knighthood and was honoured for 'services to illustration', recognising a lifetime's dedication to the artform, and his support for the House of Illustration which is due to open in the Kings Cross area in 2014. 


Quentin lives in West London but spends part of each year in France.

Quentin Blake's website