Second round from the ‘Illustrators from my childhood’ series.
Whilst up in the Lake District a couple of weeks ago, we popped along to Beatrix Potter’s House ‘Hilltop’ and her gallery in Hawkshead.
The house itself is well-sized and sits proudly up a pebble path.
The gardens are beautiful – exactly like in the books. Write about what you know and all that.
Inside, the interiors have been preserved from Beatrix’ time at Hilltop.
Again, it was great to see creative spaces; desks and pens and sketches. There’s got to be a book idea in there somewhere.
Over at the gallery, they were displaying Beatrix’ cabinet – full of butterflies, beetles, shells, eggs and fossils. Beatrix and her brother Bertram were both passionate collectors – and Beatrix sharpened her craft by drawing and documenting them.
The detail and accuracy that Beatrix developed drawing from her insect and geological collections shows in the intricate illustrations from her books.
It’s a great little gallery and well worth the trip if you grew up reading Beatrix Potter at bedtime story time.
Last month I popped along to the Quentin Blake exhibition ‘What does an illustrator think about?’ at the new House of Illustration.
The exhibition is an absolute delight – a parade through some of my favourite books from childhood.
It’s amazing how Quentin’s illustration style hasn’t aged – it still feels as fresh and magical as it did back when I was a child.
These two have stuck in my mind from when i read the books. They’re as great up close as an adult as they were during bedtime reading as a child.
I seem to find myself perpetually drawn to the components of creative peoples spaces; their tools, their desks etc. Where I go, I generally end up hunting them down. So it was nice to see some of Quentin’s materials and instruments on display – no searching required.
One of the fascinating parts of being an illustrator must be choosing which part of the text to illustrate, and then laying it out into book form. There’s a couple of examples from the exhibition below that really give a window onto Quentin’s process.
The development of each image is equally fascinating. Seeing how the Twit’s house was refined throughout creative development was one of my favourite parts of the exhibition. If you can go, do – its fantastic to see it up close.
Quentin’s mastery of illustration really shows when you see him tackling tricky shots, with complex lighting. The below images appears effortless – but it takes incredible talent to create anything like that.
Incredible craft, by an incredible illustrator.
Please do go and support the House of Illustration and see the exhibition for yourself – it’s totally worth it.