Birds, Beasts and Explorers

Quentin Blake: Birds, Beasts and Explorers

Exhibition at Compton Verney, Warwickshire 27th May – 1st October


I visited this exhibition with Karen Parker from intersilient and we had a lot of fun and conversation over the 70 plus illustrations that were included in this exhibition.


Quentin Blake’s distinctive style is instantly recognisable – he has collaborated with many writers including Roald Dahl as well as illustrating and writing his own books.

His work is quirky and fun but I was particularly struck by a series of monochrome works exploring various modes of travel that had been created specifically for an exhibition called ‘The Only Way to Travel’ at Hastings Contemporary Gallery in East Sussex in 2017.

Pen, ink and watercolour on paper, these drawings showed travelers moving through vast, shadowy landscapes. Some of them were extremely poignant as they referenced the perilous journeys of migrants crossing the sea in small, crowded boats.


There is also a short film in which he explains his process and it is a fascinating insight into how he goes about his work. It was so good we watched it twice!

The exhibition is at Compton Verney until Sunday October 1st 2023.