Our focus here is on people, projects and art that might inspire!

The Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration
The House of Illustration UK is transforming a fascinating but forgotten heritage site at New River Head in central London into The Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration
which will be the UK’s new home for illustration. It will also be home for the organisation’s founder Quentin Blake’s archive of 40,000 works.
The House of illustration, currently situated in Granary Square in Camden, purchased the 1609 complex of buildings in 2019  and plans to transform the site into exhibition galleries, education studios and events spaces while preserving the unique features that make New River Head so special.
Uncovering Hidden Heritage at New River Head
House of Illustration, UK

Sydney Smith wins multiple awards for Small in the City
Sydney Smith is based in Toronto and has illustrated multiple children’s books.
He has been shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway three times, the first time was in 2016 for Footpath Flowers, which was also a New York Times Children’s Book of the Year. Small in the City marks Smith’s first shortlisting and first win for a book he not only illustrated but also authored.
Small in the City has also won the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Book of the Year

In Small in the City published by Walker books, we follow a little protagonist, who knows all about what it’s like to be small in the city, as he gives his best advice for surviving there.

More on these awards –
Kate Greenaway Medal
Ezra Jack Keats Award
New York Times

Sydney Smith on Small in the City

“We are living in a moment in history that requires us to keep at a safe distance from one another. Around the world we are self-isolating, social distancing, quarantining, and taking measures to ensure that we will get through this. It is a difficult journey, but we are on this journey together though it requires many of us to be alone or separated from friends and loved ones. It is during this time that these stories we share are more important than ever. They reach past the necessary barriers we may have in place and offer a connection. Our stories have the power to reach out to all ages and keep us grounded and connected to one another; or to provide a magical escape, or a cathartic laugh. Like a friend keeping in touch, stories offer the necessary sentiment: You are not alone. You will be alright. Small in the City is a story of a child’s journey through an urban landscape, and an emotional journey, processing the loss of a friend.

Mark Hearld
Ann Haddon and Ann James share an inspirational York adventure:
Our first introduction to Mark Hearld’s art and illustration was through a short video. Then we ordered Mark Hearld’s Work Book. In April 2014 we knew we’d be briefly in northern England so we gingerly got in touch. Miraculously, generously, Mark and his partner, illustrator Emily Sutton, invited us to visit their home in York. On a very small footprint of land, with five levels and, in the cellar, a heritage listed ancient Roman tomb below ground. We had a fascinating, inspiring and unforgettable time spent with them. Our photos here speak for us – walls papered with Mark’s own design and every surface, vertical or horizontal, holding brilliant things collected and created by them both. Emily’s studio is at the top of the stairs and Mark’s on the ground floor. Both artists work so differently and their home reflects them perfectly.

Quentin Blake’s official website:

A fascinating and moving short video of one of Quentin Blake’s recent projects:

Quentin Blake
Illustrator Ann James shares an important source of inspiration:
‘I loved Quentin Blake’s illustrations first when I came across McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm by Sid Fleischman in The Little Bookroom in maybe 1972-ish. Jess introduced me to many more in the library she created from scratch at Yarra Valley School in Ringwood. Quentin is very well represented on my studio shelves. In 2003 we met Quentin at a conference in Cambridge. Since then have visited The House of Illustration at Kings Cross whenever in London – Quentin’s archive is the foundation of this vibrant gallery. His generosity and passion at its heart. Throughout his long life, he’s been creating surprising stories through drawings – this video is one moving example. He’s a great writer too… Here are just some of the books he’s created that inspire me. If you can’t find them, I’m happy to share mine!!’