Quentin blake crocodile

One of my favourite illustrators of all time is Quentin Blake. The liveliness of his work, and the wonderful characters and scenes are so amazing! Last year I visited an exhibition at museum Meermanno in The Hague, dedicated to his work. It was such an inspiring visit, and I’d like to share some insights!

Let’s start with a look at his Winsor & Newton water colour palette.

Wonderful colours of course, grouped into families! And such a good idea, to stick the water colour pans on a large piece of white cardboard, which leaves space for adding the names. In a standard pan box, the darker colours are sometimes difficult to distinguish.
However, before adding colour, the drawing process begins with a pencil and lots of sketches, like this…

Quentin Blake sketch

… which eventually turns into beauties like these!

Quentin Blake drawing tips

But how to get from A to B?

Things I learned from my visit to the exhibition:

  • Draw, draw and draw! By practicing every day, your drawing will improve, and become just as fluent and personal as a sort of handwriting.
  • Use lots of paper… keep the things you like, and use a lightpad to draw these in the final image.
  • Regarding the use of the lightpad (and very important): do not trace your images, and only use the underlying sketch as a faint guideline. Use the nib pen just like you’re sketching, and keep the drawing quick and vibrant!
  • When starting on the final image in ink: start with the most difficult part, for example the facial expression, so when that’s not to your satisfaction, you can easily start over again on a new piece of paper. And when you’re happy with it, the most difficult part is done!

Have lots of fun, and keep creating!

https://www.quentinblake.com/

Want to read more tips and inspiration? Check out these books:

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