Rose BlakeRose Blake is a celebrated illustrator and a great hero of ours.  This month Rose has created a fabulous cover to represent the theme of the issue- art.

For many reasons Rose is someone we all felt would be able to create an image that gives a sense of what art can be, the sense of wonder, the beauty of lines and the importance of celebrating colour. We asked Rose a few questions and here is what she said…

What were your favourite things to do as a child?

Reading, roller blading, singing, writing stories and riding my bike.

How old were you when you realised you wanted to be an artist? 

Not until the end of my art foundation course, so I would have been about nineteen. When I was a child I wanted to be a waitress, and then a classical singer.

Can you tell us about an art project you can loved doing when you were in school?

I had two really great art teachers at primary school called Mr and Mrs McCrystal… they used to give us the most inspiring projects. I remember one where the whole class collaboratively built a rollercoaster that was taller than me at the time!

What is the main aspect about your work that you love?

Experimenting with colours.

What has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

I illustrated a book called A History of Pictures for Children that was written by David Hockney. That was a huge honour to work on. I learned lots about art history during the project, and was given lots of creative freedom by the editor.

Is there a particular message you aim to get across in your work?

It really varies on what I’m drawing, as I work on lots of different sorts of projects. When I work commercially (with a client) normally the whole point of the job is to convey a specific message or idea.  An illustration has done a good job if its message is conveyed clearly!

How do you think your work has changed over the course of your career?

I think it’s always changing… I cringe now when I look at the work I was making when I left  university. I suppose the main thing is that now I have a lot more confidence in myself, and I know when to push for an idea.  Also when I first graduated I used to wait for work to come in, but now I like to initiate projects myself too.

Out of all the exhibitions you’ve seen in your life, which do you think has had the biggest impact on you and your work?

I really loved the Matisse Cut Outs exhibition at the Tate Modern.

If you could collaborate with any artist in the world, who would it be and why?

I would love to work with the writer Ali Smith.

If you weren’t an illustrator, what do you think you’d be doing instead? 

Probably something within the arts still, like a Graphic Designer or a curator.

Why do you think making and creating is important?

I have a great postcard by Bob and Roberta Smith which sums it up perfectly: ‘Art is about finding your voice, and feeling confident to use your voice’

What advice would you give to young artists?

Keep drawing, all the time!


You can see more of our Art Issue here