Quentin Blake was born in 1932 and has drawn ever since he can remember. His first drawing was published in Punch when he was just 16. He went to Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School before reading English at Downing College, Cambridge. After National Service he did a postgraduate teaching diploma at the University of London, followed by life-classes at Chelsea Art School.
He has always made his living as an illustrator, as well as teaching for over twenty years at the Royal College of Art, where he was head of the Illustration department from 1978 to 1986. His first drawings were published in Punch while he was still at school. He continued to draw for Punch, The Spectator and other magazines over many years, while at the same time entering the world of children's books with A Drink of Water by John Yeoman in 1960.
He is known for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen, John Yeoman and, most famously, Roald Dahl. He has also illustrated classic children's books, and created much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.
His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. Most recently he won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children's books. He is now recognised, according to The Guardian, as 'a national institution'. In 1999 he was appointed the first ever Children's Laureate, a post designed to raise the profile of children's literature. In 2002 Laureate's Progress recorded many of his activities and the illustrations he produced during his two-year tenure. In 1988 he was awarded an OBE for services to children’s literature and in 2005 he was made a CBE. In all Quentin Blake has collected over 12 honorary degrees which recognise his outstanding contribution to the worlds of illustration, children’s literature and now also exhibition curating. 2006/7 has brought him another clutch including Honorary Doctorates and in 2007, at the magnificent age of 75, France paid a special tribute to Quentin by creating him Officer de l’Ordre des Artes et des Lettres.
Quentin’s vision for a Museum of Illustration is currently being turned into a reality. It will be the first official home in the UK dedicated solely to the art of illustration, based in the Kings Cross regeneration area of London. It will be the place to see past and present illustration both British and International. The permanent collection will begin with the complete works of Quentin Blake which consists of the entire collection of finished illustrations to over 250 books as well as freelance commissions over the past 60 years..
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