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Quentin Blake is a real Sir at last
Illustrator Quentin Blake, who has delighted generations with his work, particularly the images he created for many of Roald Dahl's books, has received a knighthood.
The artist, who has also published many books in his own right, said that many of his overseas fans assume mistakenly that he is already a Sir.
"The funny thing is that my books are published a lot in France and Germany and I get a lot of letters from people there who think I have got it already, so I suppose this kind of regularises it," he said.
"I haven't quite got used to it yet, but I'm very pleased about it. I've already had an OBE and a CBE so it does prepare you for these things."
Blake has provided his distinctive pictures for works by figures such as Joan Aiken and Michael Rosen and many young viewers will recall the dozens of stories on BBC series Jackanory for which he provided the on-screen illustrations.
His new honour recognises his involvement in the House Of Illustration, a permanent museum and gallery for which he has pledged his entire archive, due to open in north London in 2014. It also marks his work in brightening the lives of people in hospitals by creating specially-commissioned artworks.
"I think of it as quite a nice 80th birthday present. But I think it is even more valuable to me because it is for things that aren't finished - it relates to projects that are still ongoing," he said.
"The work in hospitals makes the patients feel more welcome and it is reassuring to their relatives."
Blake was honoured in 2005 as the first ever children's laureate in recognition of his contribution to literature, having illustrated more than 300 books.
The artist - from Sidcup in south-east London - saw his first drawings published in the satirical magazine Punch when he was just 16, before he headed off to read English at Cambridge. He gained teaching qualifications after National Service, and studied at Chelsea School of Art.