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Summer 2005
Blake's heaven!
Quentin Blake illustration showing rider on horse
Quentin Blake has been called the illustrator's illustrator
If you know why Mister Magnolia has only one boot or you can put a face to Roald Dahl's Matilda then the chances are you are familiar with the art work of Quentin Blake. An exhibition of his art work promises to be one of the highlights of this year's Hebden Bridge Festival.

Entry to the exhibition is free. The gallery is open 11am to 5pm Wednesday to Sunday.

For further information contact ArtsMill Gallery, Linden Mill, Linden Road, Hebden Bridge HX7 7DN, Tel: 01422 843413.

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Children's book illustrators do not come more famous than Quentin Blake. In a career going back 35 years he has teamed up with some of the best-known children's writers of the day, most famously Roald Dahl, to help create some of our favourite books.

Now an exhibition of 70 original illustrations, including new work never exhibited before, is coming to the ArtsMill Gallery in Hebden Bridge.

Quentin Blake
Quentin Blake, the first Children's Laureate

Forget J.K.Rowling, Roald Dahl was THE children's author of the 20th century. The BFG, The Witches, James And The Giant Peach, Danny and many more - Quentin Blake brought many of Dahl's most famous creations to life.

Dahl died in 1990 but Blake has continued to be associated with his friend's legacy - his illustrations can be found all around the two main Dahl websites and he is President of the Roald Dahl Foundation, a charity providing support for "children with brain, blood and literacy problems."

But Quentin Blake has created many characters of his own. Mister Magnolia, who, among other things, "has an old trumpet that goes rooty-toot," was a hit not only for its drawings but its unforgettable words.

Quentin Blake illustration
Quentin Blake, the first Children's Laureate

Blake's books have won numerous prizes and awards and a Berlin school has even been named after him (the Quentin-Blake-Grundschule). Most recently he was awarded the English Association's Exceptional Award for the Best Children's Illustrated Books of 2004 for 'Michael Rosen's Sad Book.' When in France he is a Chevalier de L'Order des Artes et des Lettres and he has even been voted "the illustrators' illustrator."

In 2002 Quentin Blake was appointed the UK's first ever Children's Laureate. In his book The Laureate's Progress he comments: "It's quite extraordinary... to get up one morning and to be told that you have become the Children's Laureate; even more extraordinary to be the first."

The Hebden Bridge Festival will also feature the work of illustrator, Charlotte Voake, winner of the Smarties Book Prize for her book Ginger. While Quentin Blake is famous for his rapid ink line and watercolour washes Voake's work is noticeable for its draughtmanship. She says: "I don't use any pencil under-drawing. I just draw with ink, over and over again - doodle doodle doodle - until suddenly it's right and I think 'Aha, that's how it should be.'"

Quentin Blake illustration
Gorse, one of Charlotte Voake's illustrations from A Children's Guide to Wild Flowers.

Despite the fame of artists such as Hogarth and Doré, cartoons and book illustrations have often been viewed as a lower art form but now such work is being celebrated in its own right. Festival organiser Enid Stephenson says: "Britain has a long tradition of innovative book design and illustration and these two linked exhibitions by Quentin Blake and Charlotte Voake show how their work contributes to what is undoubtably a second golden age of British illustration. The Hebden Bridge Arts Festival is delighted to host these two stunning exhibitions."

Anyone who fancies trying their hand at illustration should get along to the ArtsMill because a series of workshops accompany the exhibition.

The Hebden Bridge Arts Festival runs from June 25th to July 10th. The Quentin Blake exhibition at the ArtsMill is from June 22nd to July 24th and Charlotte Voake's work is on show until July 10th 2005.

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