Eighteen years after the first Harry Potter book was published, artist Jim Kay gave Potterheads across the world a new reason to celebrate: The Harry Potter illustrated editions. He released exclusive new illustrations that depicted the magical universe of Harry Potter in a whole new light. Now, more than two decades after Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone mesmerized the young and old alike, you can refresh old memories once again. Read on and revisit J K Rowling’s masterpieces with Jim Kay’s illustrative assistance.
The Harry Potter books have always been in a class of their own. They tell the remarkable story of a scrappy young wizard called Harry Potter and his journey through a vividly described school of witchcraft and wizardry, called Hogwarts. The series has a cult following that numbers in the millions, film adaptations on all seven books, a digital platform on which the author herself provides regular updates on the works, and even themed attractions at amusement parks across the world.
Yet, fans just cannot get enough of Harry Potter. So J K Rowling’s publishers asked the immensely talented Jim Kay to illustrate the entire series for spectacular new large-scale editions.
The resourceful illustrator is just like another one of Harry Potter’s main characters — uniquely gifted and wonderfully complex. He has taken enormous pains to bring the magic of Harry Potter to life through relentless effort, real-life models, and replicas made of cardboard and Plasticine.
Kay likes to arrange these replicas as if they’re in a tiny toy theatre. Then, he draws them based on how a film crew would place the camera. A self-proclaimed full-time Harry Potter, he’s been hoarding cardboard tubes and toilet rolls for years. He’s even cleared space in his attic to create a small Hogwarts to better illustrate the expansive school, complete with dragon-like spires and serpentine bridges.
The results are singularly extraordinary. The Harry Potter illustrated editions introduce the reader to a world that is rich in detail, intricately crafted, and surprisingly informative. Each illustration is a joy to behold, and offers a significant amount of material for the inquisitive reader.
Here’s a little more detail on each of the illustrated books:
The first part of the seven-book series lays the foundation for a magical world that exists in secret, right alongside our own. It tells about the beginning of a young, helpless boy’s journey into a life of fame, fortune, and self-realization.
All the defining moments in the book are brought to life by Jim Kay’s vivid and expert illustrations. From the first view of the gleaming Hogwarts Express, to the beautiful rendition of Diagon Alley, right up to the scary depiction of Professor Quirrell, this book is a thing of beauty.
In the second part of the series, Harry Potter’s ties with the wizarding world are strengthened, and we see a side of him that thirsts for adventure. It’s a superb book that is equal parts funny, exciting, and mysterious.
The illustrations for the second book have subtle, interesting differences as compared to the first one. Jim Kay wants each book to carry a different personality, which makes you feel like there’s something new in each version. He uses powdered dyes to create beautiful explosions of colors, which makes spellcasting appear dynamic and real. The greenhouses with botanical specimen are also something every reader will relish.
Most Potterheads around the world consider this part their all-time favorite, and there are many reasons why. Apart from talking about time travel, new characters, and adorable creatures, it also deals with more sinister themes that makes it attractive to all age groups.
In keeping with the serious undertones of the third book, the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban showcases darker, more ominous illustrations. Check out the incredible character images of Divination professor Sybil Trelawney, Potions professor Severus Snape, and Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black.
What JK Rowling said about the Harry Potter illustrated editions
Even after 20 years, J K Rowling and her most successful book series show no sign of fading from popularity. And as long as genius illustrators like Jim Kay are around to share novel and impressive content based on Rowling’s work, it probably never will. Here’s what she had to say about the gifted illustrator in an interview:
“Seeing Jim Kay’s illustrations moved me profoundly. I love his interpretation of Harry Potter’s world, and I feel honored and grateful that he continues to lend his talent to it.” – J K Rowling
So, how long before you add a little magic to your world once again with the Harry Potter illustrated editions?