In addition to the news we reported earlier about the upcoming full-color, fully illustrated, Harry Potter books, Bloomsbury have sent over a Q&A with Jim Kay, the artist creating the new illustrations. The Guardian has also released a photo of Hogwarts, as illustrated by Jim. Below are some questions specifically about his work for Potter. Click more below to see all the questions.
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 clothing 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 creating 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 Stephen 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 someone’s 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.
Filed Under: Books
Since the US Harry Potter books got a makeover earlier this year, it was only a matter of time before the UK followed. Today Bloomsbury have sent over the exciting news that Award-Winning artist Jim Kay has created new, full color artwork for the fully-illustrated editions of the children’s books. They also redid the UK Adult editions in the Fall. Read the press release below and see the new Harry in the gallery (in high resolution)! We will keep you updated as cover photos and actual release dates are given.
Filed Under: Books
Bloomsbury Publishing today announce that all seven of J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter books will be published for the first time in stunning full-colour editions, illustrated by the award-winning artist Jim Kay. The first in the series Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will be published in September 2015.
Jim Kay, winner of the 2012 Kate Greenaway Medal, will illustrate all seven books in full-colour and design the new book jacket image as well as the inside artwork. A lifelong Harry Potter fan, Jim Kay says: ‘From my point of view it is, without doubt, the commission of a lifetime …to design the characters, the clothing, the architecture and landscapes to possibly the most expansive fantasy world in children’s literature, well let’s just say I’m extremely excited about it. However, I am also mindful of the huge responsibility this represents. I want to make sure I do the best job I possibly can.’
The Harry Potter novels have now sold approximately 450 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 74 languages. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was recently voted the nation’s favourite children’s book in a poll by reading charity Booktrust.
Bloomsbury is in touch with all international Harry Potter publishers and hopes to make the publication a global event. Emma Hopkin, Bloomsbury Children’s MD said of Jim’s selection: ‘Jim is the perfect mix of extremely talented artist and ardent Harry Potter fan, which will bring great spirit to his illustrations of J.K. Rowling’s extraordinary world.’
Daniel Radcliffe recently popped into the BAFTA headquarters and answered a few questions about acting. Here are some snippets as well as a video:
- “If I feel the script is trying to emotionally manipulate the reader in a way I’m not feeling, that’s something I find pretty off putting.”
- “I like that my job means I have to prepare something different each time. Every scene presents a different set of challenges.”
- “You have to trust the director, trust the other actors you are with, give yourself over and be as emotionally open and available as you can.”
- “The more challenging a scene is the more fun it is as well, because the more of my job I get to do.”
- “Learn as much as you can about the type of actor you’d like to be…If you’re working on a film, always remember how lucky you are.”
- “Most actors treat every job as if it’s going to be their last, because that’s the permanent fear we live in, but I think that’s a good attitude to have.”
Daniel Radcliffe can currently be seen on our screens in the new series of A Young Doctors Notebook in the UK (the first series is airing in the US on Ovation) and BAFTA have an exclusive Q&A podcast with the cast and crew, including the man himself, available on BAFTA Guru.
Thanks to BAFTA for letting us know!
Filed Under: Daniel Radcliffe
Entertainment Weekly recently had a bracket to find the Best Young Adult Novel of All Tine and the Harry Potter series was voted the Best! The series was first pitted against Holes by Louis Sachar, next up was The Giver Quartet series by Lois Lowry followed by Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and it beat The Princess Bride by William Goldman (which happens to be a favorite of mine – because of the movie I read the book.) The final book it had to defeat was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Filed Under: Books
But after winning another decisive victory over Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower in the bracket’s Final Four, TFiOS hit a wall. In the end, there was really no contest: John Green’s book won just over a third of the final vote; the rest went to J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece.
Why? For that answer, we’ll have to turn to a rather unlikely source: John Green himself, who wrote on his Tumblr that his own final vote “obviously” went to Harry Potter. His explanation: “HP is the most important story for a generation of readers and is one of the central reasons that my career even exists, so it’s a bit silly even to be in the ring with it here at the end.”
With that, Green just about sums things up. The Fault in Our Stars is a great book. But to millions and millions of people — old, young, anywhere in between — Harry Potter is more than that: It’s a cultural beacon, a secular religion, a way of life. And a full six years after the final book in the series was published (and two years after the final film adaptation’s release), the saga’s impact has hardly diminished. There’s simply nothing else like Harry, and there may never be anything like him again — despite the best efforts of publishing houses and movie studios alike.
The Universal Orlando website has been updated with new information on the upcoming Celebration of Harry Potter from January 24th – 26th. VIP vacation packages are sold out for the event but you can still buy daily tickets to the park and attend special events on a first come, first serve basis (after the VIPs are seated.)
Filed Under: Harry Potter Theme Park
Come and celebrate all of Harry Potter’s adventures with interactive experiences, exciting demonstrations, and more. The celebration kicks off with a Harry Potter™ Tribute on Friday – a special evening event featuring select cast members and award-winning artist, Kazu Kibuishi, who recently reimagined the Harry Potter book covers.
Other special activities over the weekend include:
- A wand masterclass hosted by Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, featuring Wand Combat choreographer Paul Harris and a special guest
- Q&A sessions with members of the Harry Potter cast
- Panel discussions that cannot be missed with MinaLima – creators of the graphics seen in the movies
- Pottermore – an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Pottermore.com – the free interactive website from J.K. Rowling (Saturday & Sunday)
- Plus, guests can explore the one-of-a-kind Harry Potter Expo with interactive activities for fans including a vignette of movie props from Harry Potter: The Exhibition and The Sorting Hat™ experience.
- And More
Last month we reported that Harry Melling (along with another Potter alum, Isabellla Laughland) was staring in King Lear. Harry is playing Fool in the play while Isabella is Cordelia. Today we can announce that Harry will be doing a live Q&A on Twitter next Tuesday, 26th November, from 1:00-1:30pm.
To ask Harry your question just need to tweet them to @chichesterFT and us the hashtag #askharrym. You can also send your questions in advance and Harry will answer as many as he can when he takes over the Twitter feed.
The play is running until November 30th, ticket prices are as follows with full booking information available here.
Filed Under: Harry Melling
Aged 18-25? An allocation of tickets priced at just £8.50 for all performances in both theatres will be released one month before each production opens. Find out more.
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