Like most people, I imagine, I was introduced to Quentin Blake’s lively, stylised illustrations via the works of Roald Dahl. We had a massive Roald Dahl collection, and each of the gruesome and humorous stories was perfectly complemented by Blake’s artwork.
I loved the scribbly quality of the drawings, and how they seemed to capture the essence and the energy of Dahl’s storytelling so perfectly. Whenever I saw a Dahl book that didn’t come with Blake’s illustrations, it didn’t feel right somehow.
It makes me very glad that the new reprints of the books still keep the original illustrations. They’re so intricately intertwined in my memory, it’s impossible to think of one without the other.
Of course, Blake does illustrate other work, and his own work, and in these instances his illustrations are still fantastic, still full of fizz and energy, and still unlike any other illustrator’s work. But without the Dahl connection they lose a little bit of that particular blend of magic.