Quentin Blake has warned that colouring books can limit children’s imaginations, according to the Times.
The illustrator told the newspaper that he is “completely against” the use of colouring in as a way of teaching children to draw.
Speaking at an exhibition of his work in Hastings, he said he was taken aback when teachers say they encourage children to copy his drawings. “We do [have colouring-in outlines] on my website as a joke — it’s a small entertainment. I think you have to plunge in and do what you want to do. I think kids need to look at a lot of pictures and to find out what is exciting in them.”
Blake said drawing should be taken more seriously the people who organise education because “it is absolutely a discipline, and it involves a lot of the person doing it. The way I draw, you wouldn’t think it was a discipline, but I spend a lot of energy making it look that way.”
His words echo those of the new children’s laureate Chris Riddell, who plans to use his laureateship to highlight the importance of education. When taking up the role last month, Riddell said he wanted to champion creativity and the importance of visual literacy, and will called upon everyone to enjoy the “joy of doodling” by drawing every day.
He is now keeping a “laureate log”, which is a sketchbook filled with drawings of people he meets along the way.
Colouring books have gained a new market as stress-relievers for adults in recent months, with publishers joining the trend including Orion and Saltyard, Canongate, Penguin Random House, Templar, and Octopus.