Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mr. Popper’s Penguins/ Spencer Ockwell


I was surprised after watching Mr.Popper’s Penguins as I wasn’t expecting the animated end credit sequence, but I really loved it. It was fun and creative and I really liked the way the Typography was brought together with the illustrations.

Animated End Credit Sequence Performed at the Picture Mill.    Worked under the Art Direction of Grant Nelleson at Picture Mill.  I was in charge of the master build and sequence.  The talented Spencer Ockwell executed the wonderful Flash Animations.

Spencer Ockwell talks to  in november last year, and explains about himself and his work,

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? I’m proud to have directed a few music videos and be signed with The Masses on their Masses Lab roster of directors. I’m also proud to be a Writer/Producer on a promising TV pilot for a kid’s puppet show, called Imaginus Zoo. You can get a taste of it . The pilot is now represented by William Morris Endeavor, sponsored by Panasonic and is currently being pitched to networks.”


Tony Ross/ Horrid Henry


As a personal project I have been taking note of some of the antics my son delivers throughout his life, his childhood. I feel fascinated by his many ways, his imagination and the way he thinks not only from a child’s perspective but also from his very own unique personality, he never fails to amaze me. For some time now I have jotted down and sketched things that I have found amusing from my son and in time i hope to bring these notions to life, particularly within books. While brainstorming my idea’s I realised there was some kind of connection with this general idea to that of Horrid Henry, and so my next step is to take a closer look at Henry and his creators.

Illustrator:  Tony Ross

Tony Ross is one of the most popular and  successful of all children’s illustrators. Born in London in 1938, he never  thought he’d be an artist, but he says he ‘fell in to it’ when his dreams of  being a cowboy fell through after John Wayne failed to answer his letter of  application!  Tony trained at the  Liverpool School of Art, and worked as a graphic designer, as the Art Director  of an advertising agency, and as Senior Lecturer in Art at Manchester  Polytechnic. During this time he  drew cartoons for magazines such as Punch.

His first book was published in 1976. Tony  has illustrated more than 800 books, and as well as drawing all of the  fantastic pictures for the Horrid Henry story books, he has illustrated books  for many other authors, including Roald Dahl, Michael Palin and Paula Danziger.  He also finds time to write and illustrate his own books.!

Author:  Francesca Simon

Francesca Simon was born in St Louis,  Missouri, grew up in California, and attended both Yale and Oxford  Universities, where she specialised in Medieval Studies. How this prepared her  to write children’s books she cannot imagine, but it did give her a thorough  grounding in alliteration.

She then threw away a lucrative career as a  medievalist and worked as a freelance journalist, writing for the Sunday Times,  Guardian, Mail on Sunday, Telegraph, and Vogue (US). After her son Joshua was  born in 1989, she started writing children’s books full time. One of the UK’s  bestselling children’s writers, Francesca has published over 50 books,  including the immensely popular Horrid Henry series, which has now sold over  fourteen million copies.

Francesca won the Children’s Book of the  Year Award at the British Book Awards in 2008 for HORRID HENRY AND THE  ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN. The Horrid Henry books are published in 24 countries and  have been made into an animated CiTV series. She lives in London with her  husband, son, and Tibetan spaniel, Shanti.

I was browsing through Rhyl’s B&M’s store last week when I came across a Horrid Henry book for just £1.

 On this cover I love the contrasting media combining water-colour with digital. The water-colour here reminds me of work bu Quentin Blake as does the following illustration from inside this book.

 In fact, in this illustration, if I didn’t already know that it was by Tony Ross I’m sure I would mistake it for work by Quentin Blake. The features of the characters have simularites but still very unique to the illustrators.

Poets & Prephets Evaluation


Reflecting over the research and blog in general, I can see that I have gained a considerable amount of knowledge within the many industries such as illustration and Graphic design if I just note a few. I have also acquired an insight to the modern artists of today and how they embrace their work, and what they have to offer individually to particular industries.

I have enjoyed being engaged out of my own subject area and I am sure that by doing so, it has strengthened my perception of critical values, for my future at least.

I have come to find that the evaluating and reflecting of my work is a very important process, to enable myself to move forward within my own working area.

Researching has contributed to my ideas and has enabled me to conceive ideas for my given assignments in a way of feeding my imagination and allowing me to absorb what the industry has to offer today.

The most significant learning experience with this assignments would have to be the communication with other artists and within my group. Contacting people who I did not know, to find out about their work was bordering out of my comfort zone, but having done so I feel I have removed that particular barrier which will indeed contribute to my future assignments. I have enjoyed communicating via the blog with my group and also taking an interest within their blogs as this has enabled me to observe their views and visual language.

I don’t think I would actually change anything about the assignment itself, and I but I would have expanded my researching techniques earlier on with this brief if I could. For example, making far more contact with the art and design industry and taking the time to research out of the books and internet areas.

Quentin Blake


While studying illustrators for blogging, I came across Quentin Blake. I decided to blog Quentin as not only am I fascinated by his beautiful illustrations, but the stories hold memories from my childhood books.

Quentin Blake was born in the suburbs of London in 1932 and has drawn ever since he can remember. He went to Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School before studying English at Downing College, Cambridge. After National Service he did a postgraduate teaching diploma at the University of London, followed by life-classes at Chelsea Art School.
He has always made his living as an illustrator, as well as teaching for over twenty years at the Royal College of Art, where he was head of the Illustration department from 1978 to 1986. His first drawings were published in Punch while he was 16 and still at school. He continued to draw for Punch, The Spectator and other magazines over many years, while at the same time entering the world of children’s books with A Drink of Water by John Yeoman in 1960.
He is known for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen, John Yeoman and, most famously, Roald Dahl. He has also illustrated classic children’s books, and created much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.
Since the 1990s Quentin Blake has had an additional career as exhibition curator, curating shows in, among other places, the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris.  In the last few years he has begun to make larger-scale work for hospitals and healthcare settings in the UK and France where his work can be seen in wards and public spaces. Most recently he has completed a scheme for the whole of a new maternity hospital in Angers.
His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award and the international Bologna Ragazzi Prize. He won the 2002 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children’s books. In 2004 Quentin Blake was awarded the ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ by the French Government for services to literature and in 2007 he was made Officier in the same order.  In 1999 he was appointed the first ever Children’s Laureate, a post designed to raise the profile of children’s literature. His book Laureate’s Progress (2002) recorded many of his activities and the illustrations he produced during his two-year tenure. Quentin Blake was created CBE in 2005, is an RDI and has numerous honorary degrees from universities throughout the UK.

‘Blake is beyond brilliant. He’s anarchic, moral, infinitely subversive, sometimes vicious, socially acute, sparse when he has to be, exuberantly lavish in the detail when he feels like it. He can tell wonderful stories without a single word, but his partnership with Roald Dahl was made in heaven. Or somewhere. The diabolic ingenuity of Dahl came into its own only when he wrote for children. In conjunction with Blake, there was a kind of alchemy. I’ve never met a child who didn’t love Quentin Blake.’  (Melanie McDonagh, Daily Telegraph)

So Quentin Blake illustrated books for Roald Dahl, books such as….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve chosen to show my childhood favourites here, especially Matilda as I remember spending a lot of time drawing that very illustration so many times. In fact as mothers like to collect theyre childs drawings im sure my mum still has mine of Matilda!! I was intrigued by the hair for some reason, of Matilda, and I have to laugh now looking back as the hair is simply basic lines but also the pile of books and boxes I found myself happy drawing too.

This book I have managed to sneak out of my son’s bedroom so we can take a look inside.

I think these two illustrations are the most interesting. Using no colour here I think adds character to the illustrations as well as the story and I also love the unusual imagination and how Quentin Blake has cleverly drawn basic images yet they look so detailed and instead of the use of colour he has painted areas in different shades.

While looking for more information about Blake, I realised that he was sat there, on my own book shelf the whole time on a book and a magazine I had bought off Ebay, ‘Meet the Authors &Illustrators’ by Stephanie Nettell and a ‘Artists & Illustrators’ Magazine the special 300th edition.

Stephanie Nettell quotes “Most picture book artists, in their hearts, prefer to illustrate their own stories. Rightly or Wrongly, the world sees it as a greater achievement; the artist need not worry about how to interpret someone else’s ideas; and it doubles the money. But Quentin Blake actually likes illustrating other people’s stories.” She also describes that “He works with the best because he too is the best.” From these quotes I understand that his work is very valuable and reputable.

Looking at the Artists & Illustrators magazine, they have dedicated their 300th issue to Quentin Blake. Steve Pill, the Editor of the magazine explains in the introduction; “To celebrate our anniversary, we are taking a look back at the last 25 years in the wonderful world of art” aswell as ‘Talking Techniques he also types “And finally, of course, we have the colourful cover, created especially for our 300th issue by the legendary illustrator, Quentin Blake. It is a privilege to have a origional of his on the front of the magazine, but it has also been fascinating getting an insight into how he approaches a project.”. On page 7 of the magazine, a section describes that a signed proof of the cover illustration would be held for auction with the money going to the ‘house of illustration’, and then further in, on pages 20-23 there is more information about Blake and the house of illustration.

“Don’t worry about being a great artist … just draw until you find your style”

Says illustrator Quentin Blake at The Sun, and he also quotes “Drawing is important because it is a way of expressing yourself. I think a lot  of the world’s problems are to do with people not being able to express  themselves properly. You shouldn’t worry about doing it right — just draw  until you find your style. I taught myself by just doing it all the time.”

According to The Daily Record there will be a ‘As Large As Life’ exhibition at Paisley Museum from April 27 to June 24. on Apr 29 2012, Maggie Barry  discusses children’s favourite illustrator Quentin Blake on classic partnership with writer Roald Dahl; Quentin Blake has a marvellous tale – on Roald Dahl Day, he got impressionist Alistair McGowan to read an excerpt from the best-selling author’s The Twits at the National Theatre.

“Work of Willy Wonka artist brings smiles to Sick Kids” The Evenning Times describes how some of Blake’s work, who created some of the most famous characters in children’s fiction, from Willy Wonka to the BFG – have gone on display in the hospital at Yorkhill, through a link-up with Renfrewshire Arts and Museums. “THE collection was created for patients across Europe and now youngsters at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children are getting a first glimpse of images by top children’s illustrator Quentin Blake.” Click the following link to see the full article