Quentin Blake: Portraits in Ballpoint | Linda Kitson: From Sketch Pad to iPad

9 - 20 November 2022

For the first time in their careers, lifelong friends Sir Quentin Blake and Linda Kitson will be presenting a showcase of their recent work, side by side, at Bankside Gallery in London from 9 - 20 November 2022.


The two artists first met over 50 years ago at the Royal College of Art (RCA), and have been close friends ever since, but this is the first time they have ever exhibited together.


Read more about the exhibition on our blog.


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Quentin Blake:

Those who know Quentin Blake’s work will be familiar with his characteristic scratchy and expressive pen line. It was partly the contrast of the ballpoint pen which inspired him to wonder whether that humblest and most universal writing implement, might not also be an art implement. He soon found that, as such, it had its own techniques – very little change of pressure, for instance, invites instead the accumulation of line, and this can be conventionally academic shading or the most eccentric forms of cross hatching. Or, indeed, the most economical open-line drawing. Since that awakening he has produced thousands of drawings, many of them imaginary portraits; and although the ballpoint works most naturally on an average sheet of paper, there are some 40 by 30 inches or even 4 feet by 3 feet. The majority are drawn with the black Bic Soft Feel or with the Bic Crystal range of colours.


Linda Kitson:

Linda travelled widely during the 1980s and 1990s drawing mostly mountainous landscapes, working quite alone & for months at a time. Eventually domestic circumstances meant that she spent a number of years out of England, during which time she lost the continuity of her work for more than a decade. On her return she discovered the iPad, and - in embracing contemporary technology - reinvented her art. These images are remarkable in that they are on the one hand true to the architecture which is her subject but at the same time powerfully abstract in design and colour.