SYTYC Week 2: Roald Dahl Paintings

10:00 AM

Previous Roald Dahl table leg paintings
Esio Trot
The Giraffe the Pelly and Me

I painted my table legs and stools inspired by Roald Dahl's books and Quentin Blake's illustrations.

My favorite children's author is Roald Dahl,  the World's Most Scrumiddlyumptious Storyteller.
He wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and more.
Most of his books were illustrated by Quentin Blake, who uses a sloppy sketch style of illustrations.
These books were really a big part of my childhood.   In 4th grade I loved Matilda so much I actually sat on my little sister so she couldn't run away as I read it out loud to her....she didn't fall in love with the book as I expected.
Now I've enjoyed reading them with my own kids.  Over the years I've been collecting his short stories, novels, and poems and have a few copies of each now.  I just can't pass them up in the thrift store when I see them.
For this week's challenge I chose to paint vignettes from my favorite Roald Dahl books on a children's sized table we use in our toy room.
Table Leg 1: James and the Giant Peach
Table Leg 2: The Twits
Stool 1: The BFG
Stool 2: Matilda

All my paintings are original compositions, but they're all based on Quentin Blake's illustrations.  So I look at his original characters in the novels, and use them to sketch and paint my own.  His has an easy style to mimic as it's sloppy and basically just sketches.  As an artist, it's actually amazing to me how much expression he can portray in characters that just have dots for eyes and scribbled hands.

Here's all the paintings together.

Painting the table legs pose a challenge, because they're so long, skinny, and faceted.  James and the Giant Peach portrays the peach high in the sky, with all the bugs hanging on a string.  This painting is composed to seem like you are getting closer as you go down the string, due to the size of the bugs getting larger as they near the base of the table leg.

 The other table leg I painted The Twits, which is a really funny, quick read.  Mr. Twit is trying to get rid of Mrs. Twit by sailing her away and out of his life with a bunch of balloons.  Above in the sky is the rolly-polly bird with the monkey. 

The tops of the stools had more room and were easier to compose the scenes.
The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is huge, so to include the main character Sophie, I painted her in the giant hand, with his head peeking into the scene above.  He's also holding a jar containing a dream.

The last piece was the other stool, and on it I painted my favorite parts from Matilda.  This was my absolute favorite childhood book.  Front and center stands Matilda.  To the right are her parents tugging on her father's hat Matilda glued on his head.  Opposite in the desks are her friends Lavendar and Bruce Bogtrotter (eating a huge piece of chocolate cake of course).  Behind Matilda is sweet Miss Honey and Miss Trunchbull freaking out over a newt on her chest.

The paintings are sketched in pencil, painted, then details added with a fine point Sharpie for the sketch feel. I'd hope they stay true to Quentin Blake's aesthetic.

To protect the paintings, I added 2 coats of polyurethane to for durability.  So far my son loves sitting on the stools.  We've only read James and the Giant Peach from these particular books, and he was excited to identify those characters.  Just a fun way to add art to our reading nook.

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  1. I love love love Roald Dahl. I have read three of his books to my kids last year. We read "The BFG", "James and the Giant Peach" and "The Witches". I think that last one scared them though. You did an awesome job on all your art work. I love all his illustrations.

  2. These are really neat Jessica, my kids love Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake's illustrations! Your paintings are spot on : )

    I've been really enjoying your entries for both this and Project Run and Play. I see you've won last week! Well done!!!

    I'm looking forward to this week's entry!

  3. I love the project and the inspiration! Roald Dahl was one of my faves as a kid too. I won James and the Giant Peach somehow in second grade and just ate it up.

  4. We love Roald Dahl at our house! Even my husband and I read them; he's especially partial to the autobiographical novels. Last summer I bought a set of the books on CD read by Roald himself and they are wonderful! My kids love them. (they're from Barnes and Noble, if your're interested :))

  5. I definitely need to check out these stories - I don't think we've read any of them! Your paintings are impressive - not everyone can paint you know, as we've discussed. :) My girls would go crazy if they got to sit down at a table every day with illustrations from their favorite stories!! You rock!

  6. Oh my goodness! I love, love this project. The BFG was one of my favorites growing up. I was also rather fond of Witches. :o)

  7. you continue to amaze me! Congrats on winning PR&P twice in a row!! I hope I can sew that good one day.

  8. These are fabulous! They definitely hold true to the originals. Great job!!

  9. Aaaaahhhhh I love these!! The BFG is still one of my favorite books! I am a giant Roald Dahl fan! I still think of cucumbers as snozzcumbers!

  10. i'm a little late to the party, here, but HOLY COW!!!! your paintings are incredible!!! i am such a roald dahl/quinten blake fan!! bravo!!!

  11. This is GREAT! I love these illustrations and would love to do something similar sometime! Where did the table and stools come from? They are wonderful too! :)


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