Chosen Artist Research: Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake was born on 16th December 1932. He attended several schools including Holy Trinity Lamorbey COFE Primary School, Chrislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School – Where his English Teacher J.H. Walsh influenced his love of Literature. Blake published his first piece at the age of 16 in punch magazine. Blake also studied English literature at Downing College , Cambridge from 1953 – 1956 and Received his Post Graduate Teaching Diploma from London University.

Blake later studied part time at the Chelsea School of Art and later Camberwell College of Art. He also gained another teaching degree from the Institute of education and worked at the Royal College of Art for twenty years as a member of illustrations and later the head of Illustrations for six years (1978 – 1986). One of his first illustrations was The Wonderful Button by Evan Hunter, although his first illustration was a children’s book called A Drink Of Water by John Yeoman in 1960. Blake gained a reputation for been a reliable illustrator for producing over 300 children’s books by various authors such as Roald Dahl and Doctor Seuss (Great Day for Up! 1964) also including himself.

Blake has written 35 books all which he has illustrated and was also a occasional presenter for the 1970’s BBC Story Telling Show Jackamory where he not only told stories but he also drew images to go with them. In 1993 Blake, designed five British Christmas issue Post Stamps featuring the Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. He is the Patron for several different organisations such as the Blake Society, Downing College’s Art and Humanities Society, The big Draw Society and The Nightingale Project. Blake also produced several art pieces for several hospitals across the globe mostly in France but some of the main locations these can be found in are London and Paris. Theses art pieces were also published in Blake’s 2012 book, Quentin Blake: Beyond the pages.

In 2007, he designed a Mural on fabric which is suspended above the Ramshackle building opposite the St Pancras Railway Station. Blake designed The Ben’s Cookies Logo and designed several illustrations for Scottish Tv series Squeak!. Blake is also a supporter and a Ambassador for The Indigenous Rights NGO, Survival International. He is also a trustee of The House of Illustrations, a center in London for Exhibitions, Educational Events and Activities related to Illustration. Blake has received The Biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award from the International Board on Books for Young People, due to his contribution to children’s literature in 1987.

Blake was later appointed Commander of The Order of The British Empire in 2005 by The New Years Honors due to his services to children’s literature. In 2002, he was made a Knight of The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and was later promoted to Officer in 2007. For his work on Mister Magnolia, Blake won the 1980 the Kate Greenway Medal from The Library Association. Blake was a highly commended Greenway runner-up because of his several illustrated works such as The Wild Washerwomen: A Folk Tale by John Yeoman. He also won the Kurt Maschler Award or The Emile for All Join In (Jonathan Cape, 1990) which he wrote himself as well as illustrated.

Blake was awarded the Prince Philip Designer’s Prize in 2011 and received The Eleanor Farjeon Award in November 2012. He was also knighted in the 2013 New Year Honors for his services to illustrations. In 2014 Blake was awarded the Insignia of Chevalier of The Legion D’honneur at a ceremony at the Institute Francais in London. In 1951, Blake began a two year course service in the Royal Army Education Corps and in 1983, he was awarded the Silver Paintbrush for his illustrations in Roald Dahl’s the BFG and was commissioned to illustrate Roald Dahl’s Works e.g. Fantastic Mr Fox and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. In 2003 a Exhibit in the Somerset House in London called Quentin Blake – Fifty Years of Illustrations and in 2005, he curated a exhibit called Les Demosiselles des Bords de Seine to celebrate the opening of the Petit Palais in Paris. Blake created a five story high wrap for a buiding in St Pancras in 2005 and in 2009, he Produced a Informal Panorama – a giant Frieze that is displayed in Adden Brodes Hospital about great historical figures from Cambridge University, for it’s 800th Anniversary

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