I first " discovered" Quentin Blake and his unique illustrations when he would draw pictures to go with stories on the BBC childrens television programme Jackanory. His pictures would come alive on the screen without the need for animation. The characters all danced before your eyes. The style of drawing looks fast and has a kind of scruffy unorganised feel which I love. It creates a fluid illustration, you also completely fall in love with the characters who are not conventionally pretty or dainty but who have an enchanting quality. I used to stare transfixed at the screen, drinking in every line.
He has created such delightful characters such as Mr Magnolia and Mrs Armitage and the witch Wizzel. They do have words to go with the pictures but really the are almost incidental as the pictures tell the story themselves.
Quentin Blake often uses colour but he has a fine repertoire in black and white as well. The drawings are in pen and ink but he also has a prolific use of watercolour and uses shades of grey to colour in as opposed to the cross hatch method used by Norman Thelwell.
I have had the privilege of meeting Quentin Blake when I took one of my sons to an exhibition of his where he was signing his books. I was so excited and so nervous. I was so in awe and bizarrely terrified of meeting this man who had "drawn the illustrations of my life", ( even though I had heard from a friend who lives near him that he is incredibly unassuming and gentle).
We queued up clutching our books, Henrys eyes shining. " Fancy that Mums, you are going to MEET your hero, what are you going to say??" Henry chirruped away in the queue.
As it turns out when we reached the front I meekly handed over the books, "Hello." That was Quentin Blake.
" Would you like me to sign this to anyone?". Him again, I just stood rooted to the spot the colour of aubergine.
Me - beetroot coloured now, very meek. " To Henry please, he loves drawing."
What was this? He does love drawing, but was that really the pathetic sum total of what I was going to say to this lovely man whose illustrations have inspired so much of the way I create and " live life" today, (yes, my life often feels as if it moves at the pace of a Quentin Blake drawing with the same style characters, slightly eccentric, slightly dishevelled!) And that was that. Henry was askance and I was kicking myself for being so ridiculous. Hopefully one day I will have another chance to meet him, or perhaps I should simply do as he does and let the illustrations do the talking!
Location:Quentin Blake module 2:2