UPDATED: Behind the Designs of the Bloomsbury 20th-Anniversary House Editions!

UPDATE August 25:

Bloomsbury Books has released an exclusive video interview with Mr. Pinfold to their Facebook page where he goes more into detail about his excitement for the project, and on his artistic process of creating each illustration.


Two months after their release, we’re still in love with the 20th-anniversary House editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Now, thanks to Fine Books & Collections magazine, we have a peek into the mind of the amazing illustrator, Levi Pinfold! The magazine featured a Q&A with the talented artist in its fall issue and asked him about everything from inspiration to symbolism.

Pinfold says he didn’t want to look at prior illustrations of the books, in an attempt to bring something new to the table.

I tried to stay away from existing material during the time I worked on the pictures. I found myself looking more to Albrecht Dürer etchings and other work from Renaissance artists for inspiration. I’ve since allowed myself to leaf through Jim Kay’s amazing work on the major illustrated editions, though.

Quite Potter fan himself, Pinfold had read all the books and listened to all the audiobooks before taking on the job. In fact, he had the audiobooks playing in the background while he would work on the illustrations. Pinfold stated that he had never done anything with such a large readership, so anxiety hung over him like a cloud.

In creating the designs for the covers, Pinfold had to do a bit of research into symbolism and how certain things would tie into the qualities of each House.

The crests are based around traditional heraldic symbolism. Each element has a [H]ouse[-]specific meaning. For instance – a crescent moon means glory and splendor for Slytherin, or a beehive meaning hard work and industry for Hufflepuff. There are some great resources worth investigating on the Internet, if you like that sort of thing.

He goes on to say that time was the hardest part of the project. He would spend anywhere from 10 to 18 hours a day on a cover, and each cover took about three days. He also did all the illustrations that are inside the books. Talk about dedication!

While the job was tedious, Pinfold says it was about the most fun you could have while illustrating. While he has no future Potter projects on the table, he would certainly be open for more!

You can read his entire Q&A in the fall edition of Fine Books & Collections.

Have you purchased your 20th-anniversary House edition of Philosopher’s Stone?  Do you enjoy the illustrations? Let us know in the comments below!



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