Quentin Blake has been a great influence to me before and during the project. I knew he was very active in many different areas, widely in the art world and society as a whole. He has illustrated for children, adults and especially for people who are in need of cheer and support in their life. He has work on the walls of hospitals, retirement homes and his illustration been used to cover buildings being renovated on the inside. He is also prominent in galleries with his illustrations being transfered to the walls of galleries meters high. The Royal Academy summer shows have featured his framed work in their open shows for public display.
Following this exhibition I was in contact with a PHD student from the Royal College of Art who was interested in hearing about the project with an emphasis on the concerns and considerations children are given in publishing. Jessica Jenkins has hosted seminars, published work and consulted product designers and other creative practicioners for their opinions on the subject. I wrote a piece for her website giving mention to Quentin Blake, childrens’ illustration and how children can be involved and considered more. This can be found at: http://nosmallmatter.wordpress.com
The opening night for the DRAW show coincided with the opening of the Oberon Illustration Awards. There was a really nice atmosphere especially as Quentin Blake was there to judge and present at the awards as well as open the DRAW show. He was actually the head of Illustration at the RCA for many years and taught many of the current tutors. I discovered at the opening that he had personally funded much of the exhibition and was clearly very passionate about conserving the role of illustration and increasing people’s awareness of it. As well as writing many books such a ‘The magic pencil’ on the subject he is putting much effort into setting up the worlds first museum of illustration, due to be opened in 2012: www.houseofillustration.org.uk . This experience has been greatly valuable in many ways to me, I have learnt much from a high profile and prolific illustrator, also about curating and exhibiting Illustration and collaborating and presenting work. All of this has informed and influenced my dissertation and I’m looking forward to putting what I have learnt and seen into my practice.