Quentin Blake is one of Britain's best loved and most
successful illustrators and children’s authors. He was born in 1932 and has
drawn for as long as he can remember. He was educated at Chislehurst &
Sidcup Grammar School prior to reading English at Downing College Cambridge. He
then took a Postgraduate Teaching Diploma at the University of London. His
drawings were first published in 'Punch' when he was 16. He taught at the Royal
College of Art where he was head of the Illustration Department from 1978 -
Blake gained a reputation as a fantasy-like and humorous illustrator of numerous children's books for authors including Michael Rosen, John Yeoman and Joan Aikan. Meanwhile, his illustrations for the stories of Roald Dahl have brought him international fame. In addition to his collaborations with Dahl, Quentin Blake has also written numerous books of his own. His artistic style is very distinct, composed of fast and scribbly ink lines, but with a precise stroke. He colours in pen-and-ink drawings afterwards with watercolours. The spontaneity of his style is achieved by allowing himself a free hand at first, and then tracing elements from the first draft onto subsequent drafts.
He was appointed an OBE in 1988, and subsequently was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2005 New Year's Honours List for services to Children's Literature. In 1999 he was appointed the first Children’s Laureate, a post designed to raise the profile of children's literature.
Melanie McDonagh of the Daily Telegraph expresses 'Blake is beyond brilliant. He's anarchic, moral, infinitely subversive, sometimes vicious, socially acute, sparse when he has to be, exuberantly lavish in the detail when he feels like it. He can tell wonderful stories without a single word, but his partnership with Roald Dahl was made in heaven. Or somewhere. The diabolic ingenuity of Dahl came into its own only when he wrote for children. In conjunction with Blake, there was a kind of alchemy. I've never met a child who didn't love Quentin Blake.'