Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

He'll Prove to Be a Real Draw

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

He'll Prove to Be a Real Draw

Article excerpt

He's brought to life some of our best-loved book characters - and now Quentin Blake has helped in the creation of Seven Stories.

The man who helped us picture the BFG and Matilda has played a crucial role in the creation of the Centre for Children's Books.

He was one of the first big names to throw his weight behind the concept eight years ago and he's been a loyal supporter since.

He first got involved illustrating directors Mary Briggs and Elizabeth Hammill's bid for Arts Council funding trying to add an extra spark to their ideas.

And since then he's became one of the centre's seven patrons and visitors will be able to spot his magical touches - drawings created especially for Seven Stories - all over the converted Ouseburn mill.

Quentin, 73, said: "When Elizabeth first approached me about the ideas it was the richness of possibility which drew me in.

"I remember the first thing I did for Seven Stories was to produce some drawings for their first brochure, this was long before they had the Ouseburn site.

"The concept was radiant and magnetic, a centre to preserve unique and precious work, to form a focus for research and attract and inspire people to read and appreciate children's books.

"It was like all really good ideas - so simple I could hardly believe no-one had thought about it before but it was such a new concept it took a while for people to understand it, to see the need for it."

Quentin's career as an illustrator began when he was 16 and had a drawing published in Punch magazine.

Since then he has illustrated over 300 books by 80 different writers, notably John Yeoman, Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen and most famously, Roald Dahl.

He is also known for his own picture books such as Clown, which features in Seven Stories first exhibition.

Another formidable creation is Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong who is determined to stop her nephew Tom fooling around from Michael Rosen's How Tom beat Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen. …

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