Don’t know where to start with the wealth of wonderful works in Quentin Blake: New Drawings 2021? Here’s our pick of some of the most delightful drawings under the virtual hammer until 14 December. Time to get bidding!
Alternative Artwork for ‘Rainbow’ Charity T-Shirt
Back in the dark days of spring 2020, Blake took inspiration from the DIY rainbows stuck up in people’s windows and created a series of his own. A set of e-cards with these joyous and colourful designs were a runaway hit, and now you bid on an original pen, ink and watercolour version.
Alternative for Foundling Museum Christmas Card
This might quite literally be the perfect Christmas present, with its adorable dog, magical snowy landscape and pops of Christmassy colours.
Arms & Legs #1
This drawing is from a series demonstrating the numerous ways in which an extra pair of hands could prove, well, handy.
As Blake says: “Arms and Legs are tremendously interesting and useful, which has led me to think that you just can’t have too many of them; though now I begin to wonder if there might be something to be said for two or three – or perhaps four – of each.”
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza Silhouetted
Blake has spent the majority of his long career illustrating books – and not just children’s books. This understated watercolour is an alternative version for the 17th century Spanish literary classic Don Quixote, published in a new edition by The Folio Society in 2005.
Dragon Companions #1
From Godzilla to Game of Thrones, dragons have made frequent appearances in pop culture – but they’ve never looked quite as charming, kooky and, well, companionable as Blake’s ‘Dragon Companions’ series.
Elizabethans in Nature 2021 #1
This watercolour serves as an important reminder to always take time to smell the roses, even if you’re wearing an oversized Elizabeth ruff and, probably, a codpiece. You don’t get whimsy like this in earnest bodice-busting period dramas.
People in Trees #1 and #8
These two watercolours encapsulate many of Blake’s most persistent preoccupations. Among them are trees that call out to be climbed, the uncanny nature of birds, and the urge to get stuck into a good book anywhere and anytime.
Rencontres Inattendues Alternative Version #1
These winged acquaintances are from a series of works about unexpected meetings for French newspaper Le Monde. They follow on from the Chance Encounters volume of the QB Papers series. “The spectator is very welcome to imagine what it is these people are saying to each other,” says Blake.
Bird Companions #12 and #21
Blake has always been fascinated by birds, unusual scenarios and chance encounters, and this series combines those interests in typically eccentric fashion.
Christmas Card Design
This is the Three Kings, Quentin Blake-style, with scratchy reindeer in twinkly twilit scene.
Hastings Flagship School Poster Artwork #5
Blake does a lot of work for schools, hospitals and charities, including the Hastings Flagship School for neurodiverse students. You can find out more about this side of Blake’s work when the documentary Quentin Blake: The Drawing of My Life is broadcast on the BBC this Christmas!
No Way Tightrope
Scientists on a tightrope: no explanation needed.
Paint-Splattered Artist at Work
Could this be a self-portrait?
Scenes at Twilight: Tennis
This atmospheric watercolour is from the Scenes at Twilight edition of the QB Papers. Another work from the series was one of the bestsellers from last year’s Quentin Blake: 200 Drawings auction.
Sunshine Travellers Alternative Version
In 2018, Blake created the Moonlight Travellers series; in spring 2020 he created a spin-off series of Sunshine Travellers to cheer us all up in the gloomy early days of the pandemic. These were shared on his social media accounts, tagged #IsolationArtwork. Another work from the series was one of the bestsellers from last year’s Quentin Blake: 200 Drawings auction.
The Only Way to Travel 2021 #6 and #8
“I chose the title because it gives me the opportunity of doing a number of different kinds of pictures on related themes,” explains Blake. “Many are comic fantasy, some are more decorative and others have a suggestion of metaphorical significance, which allows me to explore human situations and feelings. I thought also that the idea of ways of travelling was something that almost anyone of any age might relate to, and help to lead them into the pictures.”
The Vapours series show Blake experimenting with paint, colour and composition in a range of contexts, from a steaming pot to spraying perfume.
Wayward Locks Under Coloured Suns #2
This smiling lass sporting an astonishingly elaborate hairdo (complete with accompanying bird, of course) can’t fail to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Check out the Quentin Blake: New Drawings 2021 online viewing room and bid on your favourites now. Bidding closes 14 December.