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My time as Children's Laureate


Angel Pavement
Quentin Blake Artist
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So I… you know, I had a sort of sequence of the picture books got into more of a sequence, and the latest one is called Angel Pavement, which is a title which I stole or borrowed from JB Priestley, from a book that was published in 1932, I think, the year I was born, but… which is a completely different kind of book, needless to say. But that is about… it's about the pleasures of drawing, really, and it's about two girls who are… you don't know, but they are angels, or at least we know, because we can see it, because it's a picture book we can see their wings, but normal people can't. And they produce a sort of magic pencil, and in fact those drawings done with the magic pencil, which draws in the air, are just done with a pencil that's got four different colours in it… which we had a lot of when I did an exhibition called Magic Pencils, so I got a lot in the studio already. And so it really is about a drawing competition and a pavement artist, who can't put paving stones into the exhibition, so he's enabled, by the use of this pencil, to draw in the sky, because the little girls who are angels can carry him into the air. But it was really… the idea of a drawing competition, plus the idea of the drawings you could do with this pencil. And it's about the pleasures and purposes of drawing, really, in a simple way, and it ends up saying but when you start drawing, you can never be quite sure what is going to happen next. So it's supposed to encourage people to draw, apart from anything else. But that was... really also partly came out of a number of activities that came about with… from being Children's Laureate.

Quentin Blake, well loved British writer and illustrator, is perhaps best known for bringing Roald Dahl's characters to life with his vibrant illustrations, and for becoming the first ever UK Children's Laureate. He has also written and illustrated his own books including Mr Magnolia which won the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Listeners: Ghislaine Kenyon

Ghislaine Kenyon is a freelance arts education consultant. She previously worked in gallery education including as Head of Learning at the Joint Education Department at Somerset House and Deputy Head of Education at the National Gallery’s Education Department. As well as directing the programme for schools there, she curated exhibitions such as the highly successful Tell Me a Picture with Quentin Blake, with whom she also co-curated an exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris in 2005. At the National Gallery she was responsible for many initiatives such as Take Art, a programme working with 14 London hospitals, and the national Take One Picture scheme with primary schools. She has also put on several series of exhibition-related concerts. Ghislaine writes, broadcasts and lectures on the arts, arts education and the movement for arts in health. She is also a Board Member of the Museum of Illustration, the Handel House Museum and the Britten-Pears Foundation.

Tags: Angel Pavement, 1932, Magic Pencils, Children's Laureate, John Boynton Priestley

Duration: 1 minute, 58 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008