Why did I choose Quentin Blake and Selected Works (video #1)
I was first introduced to the illustrations of Quentin Blake in grade 5 when my teacher, Mr Faris read The BGF by Roald Dahl aloud to my class. I remember thinking how perfectly the pictures represented the story and how there seemed to be a picture in all the right spots in the book and how the BFG looked exactly like my grandfather, which is how I had imagined he would look! It is only now, as an adult, that I realize it is a bit unusual for a novel to be illustrated in way that The BFG was.
I suppose then I chose Quentin Blake out of a sense of nostalgia having grown up with Roald Dahl’s strange stories always accompanied by Blake’s unique illustrations. Whether it was when the BFG and Sophie spluttered while eating a snozzcumber, the close up of Mr. Twit’s beard, the Prince cutting off the evil stepsister’s head or Little Red Riding Hood walking off in a wolf-skin coat, Quentin Blake’s distinct style just seems to naturally suit Dahl’s sarcastic, witty dark sense of humour.
Other selected works of Quentin Blake’s that I have come to love from my years reading Roald Dahl books are The Magic Finger, Esio Trot, The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me, George’s Marvelous Medicine, Boy, The Vicar of Nibbleswicke and of course there are many others. Recently I have come to know Loveykins and Mrs. Armitage: Queen of the Road both of which are written and illustrated by Quentin Blake and Tell Me a Picture and Magic Pencil which are both non-fiction books to which Quentin Blake selected and/or contributed artwork. These last two are really about the importance of art and of children’s book illustrations as a form of art.
This assignment has been very entertaining for me, since I hadn’t previously known that Quentin Blake both illustrated for authors other than Roald Dahl and was himself a writer/illustrator. I have been able to once again enjoy Blake’s work as I did as a child and I have gotten to know (and love) his greater body of work. The one thing I learned about Quentin Blake that I especially love is his tireless advocacy for the inclusion of art in a child’s life. Not only is this evident in the books Tell Me a Picture and Magic Pencil but it is especially evident in his work during and after being named the first Children’s Laureate in 1999. He discusses much of this work on his website in the “Meet Quentin Blake” section.
Blake has also done some unexpected illustrations including an illustrated version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, an illustrated version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and a book by Dr. Seuss called Great Day for Up.
That concludes the selected works portion of the assignment. Next please proceed to the video below for my critical review where you will get to glimpse some of Blake’s illustrations in The BFG.