Bloomsbury Kids UK has revealed that Jim Kay will illustrate a new collection of the Harry Potter series. Kay has previously illustrated Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, for which he was awarded the 2012 Kate Greenway Medal. Bloomsbury tweeted the announcement this morning, together with an image of Kay’s Potter.
— Bloomsbury Kids UK (@KidsBloomsbury) December 6, 2013
All seven novels will be illustrated in color by Kay. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is due for release in September 2015 in the UK. Bloomsbury is working with publishers around the world to schedule simultaneous publication dates. The rest of the novels will follow at yearly intervals, recreating, says the Guardian, the feel of the original releases.
In a Q&A, Kay said that on hearing that he had been awarded the commission, he felt
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, let’s 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.
Kay says that he is a Potter fan, although he “arrived a little late to the party.” Of J.K. Rowling’s world, he says,
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.
When asked about his favorite Potter character, Kay finds it difficult to choose, stating,
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 without her. 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.
To read the full Q&A, in which Kay talks more about his illustrations and his thoughts on recreating the Potter universe, please visit the Guardian website here. From what Kay has already said, it is clear that he is a huge Potter fan. The small tantalizing glimpse into the way that he imagines the world suggests that he is the right man for the job and will bring a fresh and exciting imagining of Rowling’s world.
What do you think of the two released images? Are you excited for the new illustrated books? Let us know in the comments below!