There can’t be a more cherished art form than illustration. Before we could read, or went through the process of learning to read as children, we put our hopes and faith in illustrated books to not only grab our attention but relay stories to us beyond written narratives slightly out of grasp. Illustrations have the ability to transform our world into another as if by magic.
This is exactly what it feels like visiting the latest Folio Society and Quentin Blake exhibition collaboration at the House of Illustration in London. Be prepared to catapult your senses back to childhood with captivating illustrations from Voyages to the Moon and Sun by Cyrano de Bergerac, the fourteenth book that The Folio Society and Quentin have worked on together.
Speaking on his decision to take on the commission from The Folio Society, Quentin said, “I initially found a paperback of the French version of the text and was immediately interested due to the illustration on the front cover of a man covered in canisters of air and floating upwards. I wanted to read it straight away – that’s what illustration can do, you see.”
He continued, “It was full of things to draw. When The Folio Society suggest ideas for books to me, they usually ask me to do ten drawings, but the nature of the text was so vast with so much opportunity to draw, I demanded that I do as many illustrations as I like.”
“It’s wonderful that the book has now come out and the pages are much larger in this particular edition, which allows for a lot of space in the book, which is ideal as there are many different types of creatures moving and falling through the air.”
“It’s been a great privilege for me to find this book and have it published not once but twice and I’d like to say thank you to the House of Illustration and to The Folio Society.”
During the exhibition preview, Quentin told me he has 45,000 illustrations in his archive and still draws every single day. Much like some people go to the gym to keep their bodies fit, Quentin keeps on top of his illustration game with constant exploration and exercising of his artistic talents and imagination.
The House of Illustration is the UK’s only public gallery founded by Quentin himself in 2014. The renowned illustrator’s gallery aims to champion, explore and celebrate illustration in all its forms and elevate the art form to the heart of contemporary visual culture. It also showcases new talent from around the world.
The Folio Society edition of Voyages to the Moon and the Sun by Cyrano de Bergerac, illustrated by Quentin Blake, translated by Richard Aldington and introduced by John Wells is available exclusively from www.thefoliosociety.com.
Quentin Blake: Voyages to the Moon and the Sun runs from 5 May – 30 September 2018. To book tickets visit https://houseofillustration.org.uk/whats-on/current-future-events/quentin-blake-voyages-to-the-moon-and-the-sun