Sir Quentin Blake
Quentin Blake was born in London in 1932. He has drawn ever since he can remember but he attended Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School, he joined the National Service thereafter. He then studied English at Downing College in Cambridge and went on to do 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 when he was still at school and only 16 years old. He continued to draw for Punch, The Spectator and other magazines over many years, while entering the world of children's books at the same time with A Drink of Water by John Yeoman in 1960.
He is well known for his collaborations with renowned writers such as Joan Aiken ,John Yeoman, Russell Hoban, Michael Rosen, and, most famously, Roald Dahl. He has also illustrated classic books, such as A Christmas Carol and Candide as well as creating his own much-loved characters like Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.
Since the 1990s Quentin Blake has pursued career as exhibition curator of shows in the National Gallery, The British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris to name a few. Since then he has produced larger-scale work for healthcare settings and hospitals in the UK and France. He most recently created a scheme for the new maternity hospital in Angers.
In 1999 Quentin was appointed the first ever Children's Laureate, a post designed to raise the profile of children's literature. He recorded many of his activities and the illustrations he produced during his two-year tenure in the book Laureate's Progress.
His books have won multiple prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. He won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children's books. In 2004 he was awarded the 'Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres' by the French Government for services to literature and in 2007 he was made Officier in the same order. In 2005 Quentin Blake was created CBE, he is an RDI and has multiple honorary degrees from universities throughout the UK.In 2014 he was admitted to the Legion d'Honneur, a rare honour for people who are not French nationals.
Ultimately, he received a knighthood for 'services to illustration' in the New Year's Honours for 2013, and became an Honorary Freeman of the City of London in 2015.