Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

spotted: Quentin Blake in Cambridge

June 16, 2013

Quentin Blake is most definitely one of my alltime favourite illustrators. As a child I devoured all Roald Dahl’s books. I feel this is not only Dahl’s merit. Blake’s drawings are essential to Roald Dahl’s colourful stories. I truly admire how he is able to grasp a character with only a few strokes.

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A few years back I watched a documentary about him. I wish I hadn’t… It ruined the magic in a way. (If you’re a big Quentin Blake fan too and you don’t want to risk ruining the magic then don’t watch the video below and stop reading.)

I’d always loved the spontaneousness of his drawings, little did I know … Blake says to do ‘a freewheeling sort of drawing that looks as though it is done on the spur of the moment. However even a single drawing needs a certain amount of preparation and planning’. I have to admit his lightbox technique is really genius, and actually I often use a similar technique. In a way, I’m also glad he shared his working method. In my magic fairytale-version of reality I assumed that this genius drew his drawings with his eyes closed. Now I’ve learned that also a genius has to put time and effort into his illustrations for them to excel, which is a comfort to a hobbyist like me.


Anyway, I was in Cambridge in April and I couldn’t believe my luck. There was an exhibition titled ‘Drawn by Hand’ that looked at individual works he had produced in the past decade: book illustrations, etchings, lithographs, drawings and works done for hospitals in various and contrasting media. The work was accompanied by a display of pens, brochures, inks, watercolours, quills and other materials from the artists studio. Nele accompanied me, and I don’t know about her, but I had a field day.





A new year = a new sketchbook

January 27, 2013

I have a weird set of beliefs when it comes to sketchbooks.

1. A new year = a new sketchbook.
Whether it’s September or January; a new year equals a new book. Even if the last one would not be filled from cover to cover. (Luckily, I managed to do that this year, my last sketchbook was an expensive Moleskine, it would have been such a waste).


2. The first drawing is vital.
I will only feel comfortable with my new sketchbook when the first drawing turns out OK (Luckily, I was quite satisfied with this dog). If I mess up that first drawing, I tend to dislike my new sketchbook and will chuck it out eventually.


3. A sketchbook determines the look and feel of all the sketches in it.
I have the feeling that a sketchbook can determine a ‘mood’ and that drawings that were created within the same book will have a similar feel or atmosphere to them.

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4. Handmade sketchbooks are the best
I made this one in December. I used Marpa Jansen brown paper (24x34cm, 100g/m2) and I’ve hand sewn it. It’s easier than you think. Maybe next time I’ll do a post on how to sew your own booklet.