Last week, in beforehand of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition‘s release, EW alone appear four of illustrator Jim Kay’s beauteous images. Now, you can apprehend our abounding babble with Kay, who tells us how he denticulate the befalling of a lifetime (he’ll allegorize all seven Harry Potter books), and how he’s breath new activity into these already admired characters and scenes.
How did you acreage this absurd project?
My abettor aloof rang up one day and said, “Are you sitting down? Harry Potter. Seven books. What do you think?” At aboriginal I wasn’t abiding because I’m a big fan of the films. But I thought, “Gosh, I can architectonics everything: the costumes, the architecture, the people, the creatures.” That’s a dream commission.
RELATED: 19 of J.K. Rowling’s Biggest Harry Potter Revelations
Were you nervous?
I didn’t beddy-bye for months. I was aloof terrified. I acclimated to get abhorrent all-overs aback I was drawing. Normally, in publishing, you assignment on a book that no one’s apprehend before, unless it’s a classic, like Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan. But everybody’s apprehend Harry Potter, and everybody has an assessment on it as well. But you don’t get in the arena afterwards assured a few punches, so you accept to brace yourself for those.
We’ll see what happens aback the book comes out. I don’t think, “Oh, how can I amuse everybody?” You aloof think, “How can I amuse the author?” That’s all you can do: Amuse the author, and amuse yourself. Afresh if added bodies like it, that’ll be a bonus.
After you said yes, what was your aboriginal step?
[The publisher] Bloomsbury was actual open-minded, so I started aloof by cartoon and drawing. There were no demands, no “You’ve got to accept this scene!” I backbiting illustrators with a lovely, constant style, but I change styles like I change my pants. So there’s oils in there, acrylics, watercolor, agenda coloring. Things that weren’t necessarily declared to be in the book got in: the architectural studies, the insects, the leaves. There’s an analogy of a cat in the advanced aperture of Hogwarts at night—that was a abstraction cartoon that concluded up in there.
There’s a lot of art in the book, and with absurd detail.
I would apprehension bare spaces and think, “Oh, I could fit an analogy in there.” At the alpha we were saying, “Well, this is activity to be about atmosphere, with hints of detail every now and again.” And afresh I would sit and draw every boutique in Diagon Alley. In the books there are lots of gaps amid the shops in Diagon Alley, so I said, “Do you apperception if I ample the gaps?” Actual acceptable of the columnist to let me dabble about and add $.25 and pieces.
Jim Kay for Bloomsbury Publishing
Tell us about your process.
I’m consistently aggravating to acquisition a style. I don’t anticipate I accept a style, and I badly appetite one. I backbiting all these illustrators that accept a lovely, constant style. But I array of adventitious styles like I change my pants! Aloof because I like aggravating altered things. So there’s oils in there, there’s acrylics, watercolor paper, there’s a bit of print. Everything, drawing, agenda coloring, everything. Aloof because I get apathetic actually quickly, so I like to try altered things.
Then I assignment with models: I’ve consistently done it, anytime aback I was a little kid. I acclimated to accomplish things out of Lego and draw it. For me, it’s accepting my arch about three-dimensional objects, which is consistently difficult aback you’re drawing. For the cover, I fabricated a alternation out of agenda and foamboard. It’s actual quick – you alone absorb a few account on them.
A few minutes?
I do accept a plastine and agenda archetypal of Hogwarts, too, and that took a brace of hours. But I can’t absorb too continued because I’ve got so abounding illustrations to do. It takes me bristles or six attempts on anniversary one, so if you accept a hundred illustrations in book, you accept 500 or 600 images you’re alive on. Models are aloof abundant because you can ablaze them as well, and I adulation arena about with lighting. I tend to anticipate of illustrations as little blur sets, so I’ll set up people, and afresh I’ll change the lighting and the camera angle.
I can’t accept you fabricated and drew from models alike aback you were a kid.
Yeah. [Then] I went to assignment in museums and libraries, and didn’t draw for about 10 or 11 years. I anticipate I started [again] aback I was complaining about an artisan that had gotten an exhibition, and a acquaintance of abundance said, “You know, you’ve got no appropriate to accuse about this, because at atomic this artisan is accomplishing it. This artisan is trying, and it’s actually hard. It’s actually adamantine to accumulate putting yourself out there and to accession the money to do this, and to put on exhibitions.” She was right. So I started cartoon in the evenings and aloof went from there.
I did a abandoned exhibition, afresh I got some publishing jobs from that, and afresh it array of grew from there. I got A Monster Calls, the Patrick Ness book, and little $.25 and pieces: abstraction assignment for television, being like that. It hadn’t been a abundant accord until
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