The art of Quentin Blake

To complete the Piccola Rassegna, this year devoted to films based on children’s books, we have the pleasure of exhibiting a number of drawings by Quentin Blake, the world’s most famous contemporary illustrator. The exhibit is held at the Sala Patriziale of Bellinzona’s city hall, from November 4th to November 24th.


Quentin Blake is one of those people you always imagine as young: an irreverent little kid who enjoys doodling whatever comes to mind. Instead, that little kid was just made a baronet by Prince Charles and in England is something of a national institution.

His sharp-edged, scratchy, exuberant and chaotic style is immediately recognizable. His long artistic partnership with the great Roald Dahl certainly served him well: who could forget Matilda and her tower of books, James and the giant peach or the BFG and his funny sandals.  

Quentin Blake is more than brilliant. He’s anarchic and moral, infinitely subversive, at times ferocious, socially acute, streamlined when it’s called for, exuberant and sumptuous in details when he feels like it. He can tell marvellous stories without a single word.

His team-up with Roald Dahl was made in Heaven. Or someplace else. Dahl’s devilish ingenuity blossomed when he started to write for children. With Blake he created a sort of alchemy.

I’ve never met a child who didn’t love Quentin Blake’s drawings.

(Melanie McDonagh, Daily Telegraph)


Quentin Blake was born in 1932 in the suburbs of London and has been drawing as long as he can remember. He studied at the Chelsea Art School. Punch first published his drawings when he was only sixteen. He taught at the Royal College of Art for 20 years and directed its illustration department from 1978 to 1986.

Famous above all for illustrating Roald Dahl’s books, since he began in 1960 Sir Quentin has done the artwork for more than 300! He is also a writer himself and in his books combines irony with imagination. A prime example is “Mr. Magnolia”.

In recent years he created large-scale works for rest homes and hospitals in Great Britain and France.

He has won numerous awards, including the Premio Internazionale Bologna Ragazzi and the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Prize.


In 2004 the French government named him a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. He was knighted in England for “services to illustration”.

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