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Inspiring Artist of the day - Quentin Blake

Illustrator of over three hundred books including such well known ones as Willi Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG and James and the Giant Peach written by Roald Dahl, and writer and illustrator of Mister Magnolia and Fantastic Daisy Artichoke among others.

Blake's work is so free, open and frank... he draws life as it is or could be in his or someone else's imaginary world.

His work shows great consistency, his early books are obviously illustrated by exactly the same person as his latest book ...that's called style!

Interestingly I have just discovered that my technique and his are not so different, we both gather piles of reference around us and scribble furiously until we get what we want. We both use pen and ink, Blake uses it with watercolour and I use it with either watercolour or gouache, I like the bright fluidity of watercolour, but also the pastel solidity of gouache and tend to sway between the two.

We both put our roughs onto a light box and redraw the artwork on another sheet of paper – placed over the top – in pen and ink. When using watercolour we'll wait for the ink to dry and colour it up.

When using gouache I'll use one of several methods -

draw up in ink and then add colour;

I might paint the blocks of colour then ink up the line work;

or paint the gouache colour on one sheet of paper, remove the rough, then put the colour sheet back on the light box with another sheet on top and add the line work to that. Both elements are then scanned and layered... this can be quite advantageous if the line work is tricky and full of detail that I don't want to accidentally obscure or mess it up with the colour!

Click on this wonderful image above to launch yourself in the World of Quentin Blake!

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