Giv­ing Harry Pot­ter a brand new look

Mak­ing magic Fan­tasy artist Jim Kay has been tasked with il­lus­trat­ing one of the big­gest se­ries in literature

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This month sees the re­lease of the first il­lus­trated Harry Pot­ter book, with Bloomsbury aim­ing to pub­lish the se­quels an­nu­ally over the next six years. The Philoso­pher’s Stone will be avail­able from 6 Oc­to­ber, and will fea­ture il­lus­tra­tions by renowned artist Jim Kay.

Work­ing day and night, stop­ping only to “sleep and walk the dog”, Jim is set to pro­duce 110 colour pic­tures for JK Rowl­ing’s block­buster fan­tasy se­ries. To cre­ate his art­work Jim pri­mar­ily uses wa­ter­colours and pen­cils, but also in­cor­po­rates oils and acrylics. “I’m not a purist about ma­te­ri­als,” he says. “I like us­ing dam­aged brushes rather than brand new ones – they cre­ate in­ter­est­ing marks.”

One of the big­gest chal­lenges for Jim has been deal­ing with the ex­pec­ta­tions from fans. To help him serve both the story and the read­ers, he’s ref­er­enced de­scrip­tions found in other Harry Pot­ter books, in­clud­ing ti­tles out­side of the main se­ries, like Fan­tas­tic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Hav­ing signed up to il­lus­trate all seven books, Jim is con­sid­er­ing a break af­ter The Pris­oner Of Azk­a­ban, to com­plete his own projects (see his art at “But I could do this all day, ev­ery day,” he says. “It’s the job of a life­time.”

You can or­der Harry Pot­ter and the Philoso­pher’s Stone Il­lus­trated Edi­tion from Bloomsbury:­blooms­bury.

Jim re­veals that he based this il­lus­tra­tion of Harry’s close friend Hermione on his niece. By paint­ing Draco Mal­foy sym­met­ri­cally, Jim added a lit­tle creepi­ness to the char­ac­ter. Gi­ant game­keeper Ha­grid was one of Jim’s favourite char­ac­ters to draw.

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