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Quentin Blake the Illustrator

In embarking on my creative journey, I have realized what contributed to these interests. I started off by copying images from coloring books and redrawing them almost perfectly to writing my own play for me and my siblings to play roles in just because I wanted to. I have realized that without the creativity that I experienced or was interested as a child, it would be more difficult to express my creative side. With that, there have also been illustrations from different children's books that have inspired me to look more into it.

This post will be centered around childhood and what better way to introduce that by looking at one artist that I remember growing up, was Quentin Blake.

Mr. Blake was born in London in 1932 and has always drawn his entire life. He is a cartoonist and illustrator for children’s books. Books that may sound familiar would be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Matilda, which are children’s books that were later turned into films.

Quentin Blake Creative Process

Often when I think of artists, I think of creating perfection, and carefully painting or coloring in between the lines. In essence, I think of following the norm. However, the process that Quentin goes through is the exact opposite which makes it refreshing. But my assumption is wrong.

While it seems like all of his drawings are freehanded, and simple, he actually puts a lot of effort into planning out his drawings. It is actually more complex than one might think. He has to figure out the placement of each character, the expressions on their faces or determining what drawing goes on what page. In order to figure out the placement of characters he focuses on the facial expressions and the gesture or stance of the character. He believes that this is the more challenging part in creating a character. If he does mess up on those particular parts it’s okay because he will not have to redo the entire character just specific body parts. In order to tackle these problems he uses the Lightbox Technique.

The Lightbox Technique is basically a hard surface that has light inside that allows for people to trace or guide them to create different figures or art. Through this process, Quentin uses this technique not to trace over rough sketches but to guide him to create different figures. The whole point of this is to increase his level of concentration as if he is trying to create a final draft. What I found most interesting about his process, is that at the end, he is usually unsure if his images are up to his own standards, making him question if it’s good enough. This to me, I believe is something all creators of anything may have, which is self-doubt. Even those that are known for their work, question their final product.

What I like about Quentin Blake’s illustrations & my experience with using his techniques

When looking at his illustrations, I like how playful and not in between the lines it is. When I think of the creative things that children like to do, I think of them drawing in coloring books. When children draw in coloring books they don’t usually color in the lines. I get the same vibe when looking at Quentin’s illustrations. I like how this is incorporated to represent the carefreeness of childhood.

In incorporating this method into my drawings I had to innovate a little bit since I didn’t own a light box. I used my iPad and a drawing I created on the GoodNotes app. From there I grabbed a blank sheet of paper so that I could do a blind trace of my drawing. I thought it was a bit difficult because when drawing on an ipad the image or drawing I was using would move around. But then I remembered that I was not trying to replicate the drawing but just in a sense freehanding the same drawing. This thought helped me and I felt more confident approaching the technique.

In addition, I used his method of focusing on the different expressions of the potential characters that I wanted to use. With that I focused on different facial expressions and body movements. I used the lips and eyes as the main focus for the facial expressions to embody different emotions, such as happiness or sadness. For the body movements I mainly focused on the legs and the elbows and arms. I had been struggling to create my characters and being somewhat consistent on the way the face looks and I found that this method helped me organize and see which doodles I liked the most to incorporate in a book that I would love to create in the future.

The End :)

To send a thanks to my childhood, I would love to create my own children’s books that inspire children all over the world. I find that what is written and illustrated in children’s books really has an impact on children. In the next few years, you will see my name on a few books,

so keep an eye out. ;)


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