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New Artwork for Illustrated Edition of Philosopher’s Stone Released
Posted by Megs

This morning Bloomsbury sent over brand new artwork from the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Illustrated Edition. Illustrated by Jim Kay, the image shows the front of Flourish & Blotts the bookshop on Diagon Alley where Harry buys his first set of school books. The image appears on the front of Bloomsbury Children’s Books New Titles catalogue (Jul-Dec 2015) and is part of a larger illustration of Diagon Alley that will appear in the finished book. You can pre-order the book at Waterstones.

Published globally on 6th October 2015 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Illustrated Edition will be the first fully illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling’s original Harry Potter novel. The hardback edition will include ribbon marker, head and tail bands, illustrated endpapers and  artwork on every spread. Many of the original Harry Potter publishers around the globe will be joining the UK and the US in bringing this illustrated edition to life – and it is set to be the landmark publishing event of 2015.

The illustration may be seen in the gallery with a preview above.  The description from the book that inspired the artwork is as follows:

“They bought Harry’s school books in a shop called Flourish & Blotts where the shelves were stacked to the ceiling with books as large as paving stones bound in leather; books the size of postage stamps in covers of silk; books full of peculiar symbols and a few books with nothing in them at all. Even Dudley, who never read anything, would have been wild to get his hands on some of these.” Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Click to view full size image

Bloomsbury also sent over a Q&A with the illustrator:

How did you feel when you found out you would be illustrating the Harry Potter novels?
Scientists say the Big Bang is to be followed by the Big Crunch, I feel I have firsthand experience of this theory, for hearing the news that I’d got the commission was an explosion of delight, followed instantly by an implosion of brain-freezing terror. From my point of view it is, without doubt, the best commission you can be given – I’m a bit of a control freak, so to be given the opportunity to design the characters, the costume, the architecture and landscapes to possibly the most expansive fantasy world in children’s literature, well lets just say I’m extremely excited about it. However, I am also mindful of the huge responsibility this represents, I just want to make sure I do the best job I possibly can.

Is there a particular character or scene that you are looking forward to illustrating?
It’s like trying to choose the shiniest object in Aladdin’s Cave; you pick up one treasure, and another gem catches your eye. I couldn’t even pick a favourite creature at the moment (maybe a Thestral, or a Bowtruckle, but then the Goblins are wonderful characters, mind you there are Trolls too – you see my problem!). It’s been lovely thinking about casting the characters, but at the moment my favourite task is creating Hogwarts – it’s the first time I’ve thought about building something supported by magic – it’s harder than you’d think.

How do you as an artist approach such a large job? Where do you begin with such a wide range of possibilities?
It sounds obvious but you start with the text. The story is everything, and so I want to bring what I can to really show the depth of Rowling’s stories, to their best. Then it’s a case of research, and lots of it. The books have made me look at people differently, I’m always scanning crowds for interesting faces. For an illustrator there’s no such thing as an ugly or odd looking person – they are all interesting. Luckily for me, Kettering is home to some very interesting people indeed. Museums and Libraries are my favourite places for inspiration. You might see something, it could be a medieval shoe, an old clock, or a stuffed monkey, and immediately it gives you ideas about the characters in the story, the things they would do, the way they walk. The tricky thing I’ve found is my annoying habit of reigning in the more fantastical elements of my sketches when working them up, it’s taken a while for it to sink in that for this commission I can go a little bit crazy. Above my desk, the words ‘It’s Fantasy, Stupid” are now a daily reminder to have a bit of fun.

Are you a Harry Potter fan? If so, what are your first memories of reading the books?
I AM a Harry Potter fan, although true to form, I arrived a little late to the party. I actually heard Steven Fry’s wonderful audio book of Philosopher’s Stone before reading it, initially because I’d sat on a tube train full of school children who were chatting about Potter with great excitement. It was actually the recollections of starting a new school that really connected with me (we moved house when I was young, and I had to start at a big school where I didn’t know anybody). As an adult I’d forgotten how hard school actually was, and it all came flooding back – particularly when reading The Order of the Phoenix – the dread of exams! It’s amazing to think, all of Potter’s world, the streets, the shops, the creatures, the characters, all of these wonderful things come from the brain of one person. To me, that’s magic, some grey matter in someones head inspires others to read, play, and create ideas of their own. It’s like a spell that jumps from person to person, recasting itself as it goes. I want to keep that spell going, perhaps adding my own little twist, if possible. I hope over the years we will see lots of different illustrators having a go, in the way that Alice in Wonderland has inspired artists for over a century.

Who is your favourite character from the Harry Potter universe?
This is like trying to choose your favourite record, it changes all the time. I have a soft spot for Neville, particularly because of his awkwardness, but you have to admire Hermione, because she puts the hours in at the Library, she’s the cement really that holds it all together, well it would be a different story. I want to know more about Severus, there’s so much depth there. Visually, though, it has to be Hagrid; he’s got a wonderful heart, clothed in an enormous, shabby body. Hagrid’s Hut is, for me, like an extension of his physique: it makes him a part of Hogwarts, but keeps him at a distance too.

What were your favourite books as a child?
I remember sitting up in bed, with a copy of one of Willard Price’s “Adventure” series in my hands, and on my lap a colossal book of facts such as ‘The Encyclopaedia of Natural History’. You see, Willard’s books were ripping yarns about two brothers who got into all sorts of scrapes searching for rare and exotic animals in far-flung places. So I’d read about their adventures, then swot up on the animals they found. Those fact books were so heavy, I couldn’t feel my feet after a few chapters, but I was in nerd-heaven, nonetheless.

Who are your favourite illustrators (either classic or modern)?
Crumbs, so many, Eric Ravilious for his paintings, Edmund Dulac for his exquisite colour, I think Alexis Deacon is an astonishing draughtsman, possibly the most gifted illustrator around, and I love the work of Ian Miller too, who produces wonderful illustrations of castles, knights, goblins and orcs. I’d love to see his version of Harry Potter; it would take a brave child to enter Miller’s Hogwarts I reckon.

How would you describe your own art style?
I tend to change my style to fit the story, which makes life very difficult, but it’s good to keep pushing yourself. If something’s not a little bit frightening, then it’s probably not worth doing. I’m still learning about illustration, and I still feel pretty new to this (this will be my third book), and I hope I never stop learning, because there are so many things I want to try – I feel I haven’t scratched the surface yet.

What tips would you offer to young people who are keen to become artists/illustrators?
I’ve met a lot of children who say they can’t draw or paint very well, and believe that a life as an artist or a designer is therefore closed to them. It’s tragic because the ideas they have are often incredible, and I think ideas are the most valuable possession of anyone in a creative industry. Drawing and painting is a bit like playing the guitar; if you practise enough you will get better with time, so don’t worry about that side of it, just concentrate on getting your ideas down, because that’s what makes you different from everybody else. And don’t forget, if you have a great idea, it will shine through the crudest of drawings, in the same way a great song might only need three chords on a guitar to bring it to life.

Do you have a daily routine when it comes to illustrating?
Well, it’s remarkably unremarkable: Get up, walk the dog, draw all day and all night, throw all of the days work in the bin, and go to bed hoping tomorrow is one of those days where something stays out of the bin. At the moment the bin is winning 3-0, I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll score a couple of away goals.

Filed Under: Books
Join Emma Watson on International Women’s Day for #HeForShe Chat
Posted by Megs

Emma Watson announced via her Facebook page that she would be taking part in a live chat on International Women’s Day to discuss He For She.

I hope you’ll join me on Sunday 8th of March at 1PM NYC/5PM London-time for a conversation about He For She and Gender Equality, live on Facebook. If you’re in London and would like to be there in person, tell me how you are making a personal impact to advance gender equality. Please submit your story, here: http://goo.gl/forms/dRzVjsdNSR, by 12PM London-time on Wednesday 4th of March and you could be selected to attend this special event as an audience member! Em x

Filed Under: Emma Watson
J.K. Rowling Bibliography Released Today & Interview with the Author
Posted by Megs

Today Bloomsbury has released a J.K. Rowling Bibliography chronicalling the years of her career from 1997 – 2013. Fans in the US can pre-order the book on Amazon. Philip Errington, Director for Children’s Books within the Department of Printed Books and Manuscripts at Sotheby’s, wrote the book over 5 years. Always J.K. Rowling have interviewed Philip and chatted about the process of creating the book.

Has J.K. Rowling seen your bibliography? If so, what was her reaction?

I have kept J.K. Rowling and Neil Blair, her agent, fully informed of progress over the five years it has taken to write the bibliography. They have seen various drafts at several important moments. J.K. Rowling described the book as “slavishly thorough and somewhat mind-boggling”. That’s possibly the highest praise for which a bibliographer could wish.

Did you work closely with J.K. Rowling’s agents and publishers?

Yes, I had the delight of trawling through many archive boxes at Bloomsbury. When someone packs material in a box and sends it off to storage it’s frequently an exercise in reclaiming desk space. They don’t imagine future researchers will sit in a corner sifting through the piles of paper. That was tremendously rewarding. But also the opportunity to ask others to access information has been invaluable. The staff at The Blair Partnership have been exceptionally helpful in trying to uncover precise facts.

What drew you to compile a bibliography of J.K. Rowling’s work?

I work within the book department at Sotheby’s and regularly sell collectable editions of Rowling’s work. One day a well-respected book dealer complained to me of the lack of a Rowling bibliography. Gossip was being claimed as fact and there was no reliable point of reference. As my academic background is in bibliography and I had worked with J.K. Rowling on a major project previously, I thought researching her bibliography would be an interesting project. I was rather amazed at how receptive everyone was to the proposal.

What do you find most interesting about J.K. Rowling’s work?

That’s a tricky one. Personally I find the plots staggeringly well-constructed. Each Harry Potter story works as a separate book, but there’s also the entirely consistent plotting across all seven books. It’s little wonder that the author has now turned to detective fiction for the ability to construct, take apart and analyse a plot is, I think, a crucial part of her writing.

Can you tell us one surprising or little known fact about the publishing history of Harry Potter?

One of the big facts is the number of hardback and paperback copies printed of the first edition of the first book. Both were published on the same day with 500 hardbacks and 5150 paperbacks. In the past there have been stories of a total of 500 hardbacks and paperbacks. I’m also delighted to describe what appears to be the first appearance in print of any Harry Potter. Most people would assume this would be the proof printing, but no. Bloomsbury published a volume of forthcoming highlights in early 1997. The complete fourth chapter of Philosopher’s Stone was included.

What is the most interesting item associated with J.K. Rowling that you have had in your hands?

That’s a very easy one. I’ll take off my bibliographer’s hat and wear my Sotheby’s one. In December 2007 Sotheby’s was approached to sell a handwritten copy of J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I was responsible for the cataloguing and later accompanied the book to the United States for exhibition. The text was unpublished at that stage and every page was in the author’s distinctive handwriting; it was quite an object. When the hammer came down after a fierce bidding war, the result of £1.95million was a world record for a children’s book and also a modern literary manuscript. But more important it was to benefit a wonderful charity – now called Lumos. I had handled an exceptional piece but also played a small role in helping the charity.

What do you think will most interest Harry Potter fans in your bibliography?

The basic facts. There will also be those who want to work out if they have a rare edition. All the information to tell is in the bibliography. A bibliography is, of course, a guide to an author. But who knew that there are four issues of The Daily Prophet which were published by Bloomsbury for the Harry Potter fan club and each of these was written by J.K. Rowling. There’s also a section in the bibliography entitled ‘Books and Pamphlets with contributions by J.K. Rowling’ as it’s worth remembering that the author has published other material outside her own books. Indeed, this section has twenty entries. Where would you need to look to find a letter written by Jo (aged 45) to her 16 year-old self? Or, perhaps, telling us about great books to read aloud? Of course, the bibliography doesn’t include these texts – but the book does identify the canon.

Filed Under: Books, JK Rowling
Christian Coulson Starring in ‘Everything You Touch’ in NYC
Posted by Megs

Christian Coulson, who played Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is now starring in the play ‘Everything You Touch‘ at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York City. A synopsis of the play is as follows:

Victor is a ruthless fashion designer in the 1970s at the top of his game. Esme, his glamorous protégé and muse, is pushed aside when an ordinary Southern woman inspires Victor to make his artistry accessible to the masses. A generation later, a woman grappling with a healthy dose of self-loathing must wrestle her own family demons to find her way through the world of fashion that won’t give a woman her size a second look. Skipping back and forth in time, Everything You Touch is a viciously funny look at the struggle to find an identity that’s more than skin deep.

Student tickets for the play are $16, and Under 30 tickets are $21. Regular tickets are $56, but right now you can use RIDDLEEYT30 to get them for $30.

Performance Schedule
  • Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm
  • Sunday at 3pm
  • Dark Mondays and Saturday Matinees
Run Time: 2 hours with one 15 minute intermission
Filed Under: Christian Coulson
Video: Watch the Hogwarts Express’ Journey to WB Studio Tour London
Posted by Megs

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has released a video showing the journey the Hogwarts Express is taking to get to the studio

After just under 1 million miles in service followed by an iconic appearance in the Harry Potter film series, the Hogwarts Express is steaming into Warner Bros. Studio Tour London this March! Watch the journey so far here.

To celebrate the arrival of the #?HogwartsExpress we have a competition for you to enter! Click below to be in with a chance of winning four tickets to our VIP launch event. http://bit.ly/WBcompetition

Step on to authentic sets, discover the magic behind spellbinding special effects and explore the behind-the-scenes secrets of the Harry Potter film series. Tread the original stone floor of the iconic Hogwarts Great Hall, encounter animatronic creatures and wander down Diagon Alley. Located at the Studios where all 8 films were produced, the Studio Tour showcases the incredible British talent, imagination and artistry that went into making the impossible a reality on screen. Visitors will relive the magic through the eyes of the filmmakers who brought the Harry Potter film series to life.

For more information on the Studio Tour and to book tickets, please visit www.wbstudiotour.co.uk

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Tom Felton Discusses His Fan Documentary & More in New Interview
Posted by Megs

In a new interview with Just Jared, Tom Felton talks about the super fan documentary he has been working on as well as being sorted into Gryffindor, Against the Sun and more!

Some questions on the documentary can be read below:

Could you tell us a about the super fan documentary you’re working on?

It’s an hour-long one-off that we’re doing with BBC and KR Films. It’s just kind of a chance for me to have a more in depth look at the world of super fans and these people that have followed franchises–kind of at the root of why Harry Potter was so successful. It had such an active fan base. It’s allowed people to be passionate about stuff that maybe they couldn’t be so open with in previous years. It’s kind of a look into that, it’s a road trip journey with me narrating.

What was your most memorable interview that you conducted?

We’re still editing, but there’s a costume element. This idea that getting into costume (Terminator, comic book characters) and thousands of people that come into convention centers are freed. So I had my little experience with that, which was a bit awkward but fun. We had a guy in Pittsburgh, who’s like the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan, he was head to toe in Potter paraphernalia as I answered the door, which was a bit of an experience.

Did any of your Harry Potter co-stars take part in your special?

Yeah, I interviewed Rupert [Grint], Daniel [Radcliffe], and J.K. Rowling, which is a huge honor to have those three talk so openly as they have done.

Tom Fletcher as well, many of you know as the lead singer of McFly or McBusted. He’s a huge Harry Potter fan. The documentary isn’t really supposed to be about Harry Potter, but it just so happens the people I’m talking to are related to that.

Do you know when and where fans will be able to watch it?

It will be on BBC 3, I’m hoping for sometime in April, May. But again, don’t quote me because we’re still cutting it up. And then after that, hopefully later on in the year, it’ll be put up on online. I’m really excited to see what people’s opinion is of it. It was a massive insight for me, going behind the ropes and seeing what people actually do to stand behind a railing at an event. You don’t really think about the three hours it took them to stand there and get the best spot. And there’s a whole bunch of stuff that goes with that.

Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts information below:

In Pottermore, you were sorted to Gryffindor. Could you tell us how you feel about that?

Devastated. Heartbroken. Yeah, I was really not happy. I was filming the end of the documentary and they were like, just tap on something on the laptop so it looks like you’re busy. So I was like, OK. And they opened up Pottermore, and I thought, you know what, let’s do this. In fact, I did try and answer the questions to try and get Slytherin as the answer. And I think the computer saw through my attempt to try. I saw J.K. actually the next day and said there must be a glitch in the system. She guarantees me the Sorting Hat is never wrong.

If Draco wasn’t a wizard, what would he be doing in the real world as his job?

A thief. Or some sort of shady back-end job. I don’t think he would be ever really good at working. Something definitely illegal.

What are your thoughts on the new Harry Potter book and have you heard anything?

I haven’t! I know they’re in production. I know [director] David Yates and [producer] David Heyman, and Jo (J.K. Rowling) are back together, which is kind of the old dream team that did it in the first place. It’s kind of amazing that they’re coming back. I’m trying to weave in a little cameo, background extra role for myself. I can be some crazy bum in the back of the pub or something like that. Yeah, it’s exciting. I know lots of people are eagerly awaiting this. I think that it’s great they’re not treading on the toes of things they’ve done previously, and although it is related, I don’t think there’s going to be anything we’ve seen before. There’s not going to be resurfaced old characters or something like that. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it!

Check out the full interview on Just Jared!

Filed Under: Tom Felton
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