Loose inky scrawls, bright splashes of watercolour and occasionally a large dollop of magic. Sir Quentin Blake is the most recognisable British illustrator of all time. His drawings have been giving life to children’s stories since 1960.
It's little wonder, then, that the House of Illustration - the UK's only public space dedicated solely to illustration - has opened a brand new gallery reserved for their favourite examples of Blake’s work and curated by the artist himself.
From 'Rosie's Magic Horse' by Russell Hoban (Walker Books, 2012)
This intimate space will go on to host continuous series of exhibitions that highlight different aspects of the illustrator's work and life. But from April until August 2016, the gallery’s inaugural exhibition Seven Kinds of Magic explores Blake’s varied depictions of magic inspired by both his own books and those of other writers including Russell Hoban, John Yeoman and - most famously - beloved children's author Roald Dahl.
From 'Patrick' by Quentin Blake (Jonathan Cape, 1968)
Visitors are offered a collection of early sketches and semi-completed works smeared with Tip-ex, right up to finished sketches from his many books. The exhibition begins with works from Sir Quentin Blake's first children's book Patrick and culminates with images from Roald Dahl's sinister story book The Witches, who burst from the watercolour paper with their pealing nostrils, long fingers and shiny bald heads.
From 'My Friend Mr Leakey' by JBS Haldane (Penguin Books, 1971)
Eagle-eyed parents will spot the evolution of Blake's style from the sharp lines of his early work into something softer, fluid and recognisably 'Quentin Blake'. Children can dip in and out of the various stories and marvel at the different magical incarnations before their eyes, from the boy who produces a river of water in John Yeoman's books, to the flying carpets of JBS Haldane's books My Friend Mr Leakey.
From 'Quentin Blake's Magical Tales' by John Yeoman (Pavilion Books, 2010)
This charming exhibition is ideal for families with youngsters interested in stories and art. Discover Blake's technique and vast range of work before enjoying the rest of the museum's exhibitions, including 100 Women Making Comics in the main gallery, and prepare to come back in force next September when his new illustrations for Beatrix Potter's recently discovered unpublished manuscript, The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, descend on the House of Illustration.
Suitable for children aged 8+
|What||The Quentin Blake Gallery: Seven Kinds of Magic, House of Illustration|
|Where||House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, London, N1C 4BH | MAP|
|Nearest tube||King's Cross St. Pancras (underground)|
29 Apr 16 – 24 Aug 16, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Price||£7 (£4 child)|
|Website||Click here for more information and to book via the House of Illustration|