Monday, November 1, 2010

Decorating with Quentin Blake

As a child, my primary passion was drawing; in fact, I spent the first ten to twelve years of my life convinced I was going to be a children's book illustrator or Disney animator. Little wonder then that two of my leading role models were Walt Disney and Quentin Blake, an English illustrator and author who is probably most famous for illustrating the works of Roald Dahl. Dahl's fantastical, decidedly English and just a little bit dark tales were perfectly suited to Blake's quirky cartoon drawings. And oh how I loved both the stories and the drawings as a child.

As a soon-to-be mom, I appreciate Blake's illustrations (and Dahl's stories, actually) as both child-appropriate and adult-friendly. There's nothing saccharin sweet about these drawings, nothing overtly childish and their appeal (at least in my opinion) is cross-generational. In fact, I've been knocking around the idea of doing large-scale color copies of several of my favorite Dahl book covers and using them as inexpensive art in my son's nursery.

Blake's new collection of fabrics and wallpapers for Osborne & Little, dubbed Zagazoo, are unmistakably Blake and exhibit his trademark whimsy and wit as his illustrations have for decades. And now that I've seen these, I just know I'll have to incorporate at least one of these charming patterns into my nursery design. While I'm still debating which, I'm thinking of having the crib bedding made out of Alphabet Tales, which includes miniature illustrations for each letter of the alphabet. But there are plenty of other fantastic prints to choose from:

I love the typography of Quentin's ABCs wallpaper, which comes in a wide range of colorways that work with just about every fabric in the collection. My favorites though include a couple of very cool black backgrounds, which impart a fun chalkboard look without the mess of the real thing.

Darling for a girl's room and would pair beautifully with the Alphabet Tales print.

I like the larger scale of this print, and the wonderful color stories. This would be a great print to design a room around, pulling out specific colors in different accessories and other fabrics.

Animals are a classic motif in children's rooms, but what I love about this print is that it lacks the cutesy-pooness usually accompanying them. Another great thing about this print is how gender neutral it is.

Perfect for your little skateboarding dude or dudette!


Concrete Jungle said...

They are quite fabulous I have some pictures from the Paris windows of Osbourne and Little that are so cute have inspired me to post!

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

ACK!!! What a great find, Averill! I love the idea of incorporating the book covers into the nursery's decor - Roald Dahl's books are some of my all-time favorites. And Blake's cockatoo print is fabulous!

Kathysue said...

I love childrens books so this is really appealing to me. What a fun idea. I love to read to my grand kids and I think I enjoy a great childrens book sometimes more than they do. I love wonderful illustrations. I noticed you said, My son's room. Doesn't that feel wonderful to be able to say that!!! How exciting a son is pretty special, Happy Monday,Kathysue

Sarah said...

Too funny, I grew up wanting to be a Disney animator too!!! I didn't make it to Disney, but I did eventually become an animator (but a 3d one instead of 2d). How in the world did you get into the law then, Averill?!

Anonymous said...

Those illustrations are joyfully wonderful. I'd have trouble selecting just one favorite.

Rene said...

This does it. I am officially calling for a do-over with having kids. Everything is so much better now.

We love Dahl's stories and adore the illustrations. Even now, we (teenager included) can enjoy his books on tape during long car rides.

I hope you are well Averill.


Bethany Dirksen said...

That's a fantastic idea to blow up the book covers as artwork in the baby's room! I love it so much that I might just tuck that little idea in the back of my mind for when I need it :)

I just stumbled across your blog for the first time and thought I would say hello! I looked through a few of your posts and love your style.

I'm a blogger as well, about the world of art, but my history is in interior design and fashion. I love to hear what people are saying! Hope we get to see more of each other in the future.


Laura@JourneyChic said...

I think I read "Fantastic Mr. Fox" ten times, and my mom and I loved reading "BFG". Remember whistlepops? :-) The illustrations are fantastic - what a cool way to incorporate something you enjoyed in your childhood into the room.

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