Recently a kid in class asked me why I wasn't as famous as Quentin Blake. I'm not as good, was my initial reply, but then not wanting to squish the compliment I noted that Blake is a lot older than me so maybe I will be by the time I'm his age. If anyone overheard, I'm not as delusional as that sounds.
Of course, my style owes plenty to Blake, especially when drawing at speed or intuitively. Unsurprisingly, as I often copied his pictures from my Roald Dahl books growing up. Replicating them mark by mark with colouring pencils; perhaps missing the point of the lovely loose expressions of his squiggles and blots, but never mind, I'm sure those efforts helped me able to give simple expression to characters.
If you pop in to the British Library, you will find a corner currently given over to some new portraits of Dahl characters by the master illustrator. I never can resist the chance to see his work up close. Something about seeing the actual ink splats, marks and lines up close that I'll never tire of. The reminder of childhood. Looking at them with my 6 month old daughter made me eager for the day we can read the books together.
I couldn't tell you my favourite Dahl book any more than I could tell you my favourite song, but these new portraits bring them all to life again. As Blake says in his introduction, they have been treated here as if they are real people - which to many of us they are.