'The Art of the Ballpoint' - Quentin's new hand-crafted book

Saturday 3rd February 2024


 Over the last couple of years Quentin has favoured one mark-maker over all others: the ballpoint pen. He has become so attached to it that he has penned over 6000 imaginary portraits, some in tiny notebooks and others on sheets of paper over a metre tall. 
 
These drawings were created purely for his own pleasure, but he has chosen to select some of his favourite portraits and present them in an extremely special book, 'The Art of the Ballpoint’ 
 

‘For a long time I have been exploring the possibilities of the ballpoint pen as an art implement and I have to say it really is extraordinary. I am delighted with how the 50 portraits have been reproduced in my new book 'The Art of the Ballpoint’ - Quentin Blake 
 
The book is a signed, limited edition of just 100 copies. The delicate screen-printed trail of one of Quentin’s more distilled portraits traces its way across the hand-bound cloth cover towards the contrasting tangle of colourful ballpoint swirls that adorn the bespoke hand-drawn book edging, making each copy unique. Inside is a collection of 50 imagined portraits all drawn with individual character of line. 
 
‘I may have some general idea before I begin a drawing, but the main principle is to draw the top of a head or a nose, see what that suggests, and go on from there and it’s fascinating to me that, with the fluency of the ballpoint one gradually discovers the character of the person you are drawing'. - Quentin Blake 
 
 The paper has been chosen to reflect the same feel as Quentin’s favoured sketchbooks, so that you can imagine you are flicking through a book picked up from a shelf or a drawer in his studio.  The title pages were printed by Glasgow Press on their Heidelberg printing press and have been signed by Quentin, in - what else? - a ballpoint pen.   Each section of the book has been handsewn in linen thread and bound by award-winning bookbinder Gillian Stewart of JuJu Books (photo credit for pictured image: Ieva Jaskunaite).  Full design credits for the book are: 
 
Written and illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake 
Handbound by Gillian Stewart     
Editing & design by Erica Read 
Cover screen printed by Parallel Prints   
Letterpress signed title page printed by Glasgow Press   
Internal Pages printed by Exactaprint    
 
 
The book was officially launched at Quentin's exhibition 'NOW' at Cromwell Place.  Visitors to the exhibition can see a copy on display, which can be handled to truly appreciate the quality and craftsmanship of its manufacture.  
 
The first batch of 25 books sold out in two days, so the next batch of books are currently being bound. You can pre-order a copy from the second binding online from Quentin’s studio shop, priced £350 each. Please note that delivery is restricted to the UK and Ireland only.

 Over the coming weeks, the team at QBHQ will be sharing  on Quentin’s Instagram channel and the QBHQ blog some insights into the skilled artistry that has gone into the making of these unique books.