Quentin Blake’s Imagination 101013

I was thinking about sources of inspiration for artists and writers.

Here’s a top tip from Quentin Blake: draw from your imagination. I read his Words and Pictures book recently with delight , hanging onto his every word. In it he recommends drawing from memory. Having attended life drawing classes at Chelsea, for example, he’d return to his studio and redraw the set up using the extraordinary powers of his imagination to add in and take out the bits he fancied. Hhmm, I bet he did I hear you say. Seriously though, working like this is truly liberating and exercises the brain in a completely different way to straight, observational, real time drawing.

Working at an art college a couple of days a week I suddenly realise what a huge resource for my imagination the art students are: a veritable cocktail (or should I say cauldron) of shapes and sizes; from the tall and lanky to the short and broad, from the fair and spotty to the dark and broodingly gothic; they are a hotbed of characters from which to draw, each trying to outdo each other more creatively on a day by day basis.

I figure all I have to do now in my studio is grab aspects from each one, put them together like a game of “consequences,” and Bob’s your uncle I have a unique team of outlandish ghouls and grotesque beauties – pick’n’mix style – so much so that I fear I might start scaring myself to death.

So I’d better tread carefully, taking each one of the characters with a pinch of salt, constantly reminding myself that beneath those frightening exteriors lurk soppy interiors with (mostly) sensitive soft centres.

So thank you Quentin Blake for your liberating advice. Stuck for inspiration? Just dig deep, rummage around, and use your QB inspired imagination as a natural source of inspiration.


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