The colourful world of Roald Dahl as never seen before Artists work their magic on colourful world of Roald Dahl
Now fans will be able to compare contrasting interpretations of the writer's work. Blake has asked 26 other artists, including Gerald Scarfe, Posy Simmonds and The Gruffalo illustrator, Axel Scheffler, to contribute to a new Dahl book. It illustrates songs and verse from across Dahl's catalogue as well as previously unpublished pieces found in the archives of the new Roald Dahl museum at his old home in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.
They include a poem, "Miranda Mary Piker", which he left out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because he had already created too many dreadful children, "The Shark" which, forlornly, begs a young boy not to swim in the sea, and a ballad against cricket umpires written when Dahl was still at school.
"Most of the Dahl books in the shops have pictures which I drew specially for them; and many of them which I had discussed with Roald Dahl himself," Blake explains in a foreword. But several Dahl books had previously been illustrated by other people. "It's interesting to compare different versions," says Blake. "So we thought - what about getting a whole assortment of talented artists to join in on the book?"
Helen Mackenzie Smith, who edited the volume, said the illustrations for Dahl were, in many ways, as important as the words. "Quentin's illustrations, for example, always bought another level to Roald's work. They're humorous and light but when you read some of the words they illustrate they can seem a bit dark."
Mini Grey, whose book Biscuit Bear won a Nestlé Children's Book Prize last year, said the best bit of producing a new image of Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was researching chocolates. "The chocolates kept getting 'liberated' by other members of my household," she said.
But she admitted that Blake's long-standing working partnership with Dahl, who died in 1990, was a tough act to follow. One of the pieces she illustrated, the "Giraffe's Song" from The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me, had already been tackled "perfectly" by Blake.
Emma Chichester Clark, who was taught by Blake at the Royal College of Art, said: "It is hard to read Dahl without imagining how Quentin would do it. But it is great to have a challenge and be stretched by having to draw things that don't exist or that are tricky - like the 49 heads ["for There's No Knowing What We Shall See" from James and the Giant Peach]."
Other artists involved are Lane Smith, who has previously illustrated James and the Giant Peach, Lauren Child, award-winning creator of Clarice Bean, and Babette Cole, whose works include Mummy Laid an Egg.
The book, Roald Dahl Songs and Verse, is published by Jonathan Cape next month.
Arts & Ents blogs
'The Full Monty' stage play to close in West End after only a month - despite Olivier Awards nomination
Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your endless scrolling
Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on acting one-handed and why Jaime Lannister is really not so bad
Halle Berry's role in X-Men: Days of Future Past cut down to one scene
Game of Thrones star Sibel Kekilli says she wants to see more male nudity in the show
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
- 4 Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers