To celebrate the 90th birthday of its founder, the UK’s Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration invited ninety illustrators to participate in the 90 Candles project, and it has quite the line-up. Each illustrator has produced a limited edition print whose sales will go towards the development of a new physical space for the Centre in London scheduled to open in 2024.

There are some big names in the bunch. From the kids book illustration world there is Cressida Cowell (How To Train Your Dragon), Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo), and Chris Riddell (Ottoline and Goth Girl). Among the names from the British comics scene we can spot – Hannah Berry, Isabel Greenberg, Tom Gauld, Karrie Fransman, and Sabba Khan, among so many more.

90 candles
Hannah Berry

According to the 90 Candles project website,

“This December, our founder, illustrator Quentin Blake turns 90. To celebrate, we’ve invited 90 illustrators to draw a candle inspired the original meaning of the word ‘illustration’ as “to light up, make light and illuminate”. 

“These illustrations are available to buy as limited edition prints. Every purchase you make will support our campaign to create the UK’s national centre for illustration in Clerkenwell, London. It will open in 2024 as a place to see inspiring exhibitions and create illustration.” 

Each print is limited to 30 pieces each, and is priced at £50 ($60) apiece. 70% of sales will go toward the restoration of an 18th century heritage building that will become the new permanent home for Quentin Blake’s archival material and become an exhibition, gallery and learning space to support British illustrated arts. (Note shipping will cost an extra £15.50 (~$20) to US and Canada). You can also ogle the website and donate without buying a print.

The website is full of gorgeous work by 90 illustrators of all stripes

Quentin Blake is probably most fondly recalled as the illustrator of Roald Dahl‘s children’s stories. Born December 1932, he is an illustrator, caricaturist, cartoonist and children’s writer. Quentin’s first published piece was in a 1949 issue of Punch magazine and his illustrations have since graced the pages of more than 500 books.

Isabel Greenberg

The Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration was called the House of Illustration from its founding in 2002 until this year, and was formerly based in a rented space in Kings Cross, London. The new space will be wholly owned by the charity. It is described as the UK’s only illustration charity and the old location held many comics presentations and exhibitions.

According to their website,  

“We are the UK’s only charity for illustration – the art we experience in our everyday lives. Our exhibitions and projects celebrate illustration, support illustrators and empower people of all ages to tell their stories.”

“…It was founded by illustrator Quentin Blake and a group of his friends. Quentin said that he wanted to “bang the drum” for illustration and to make a place where it could be explored and created.”

Some more gorgeous samples of 90 Candles work from the comics world:


Karrie Fransman
Luke Pearson
Rachael Ball
Sabba Khan
Simone Lia
Steven Appleby
Tom Gauld
Zoom Rockman