MuggleNet’s Guide to Harper Design’s Deluxe “Fantastic Beasts” Titles

Since Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released a month ago, the market has been flooded with merchandise and tie-in books about the film. On the one hand, this makes any fan’s holiday wish list really easy to compile this year. On the other, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that’s out there! We’ve done our best to let you know what’s inside some of the available books (you can see some of our other reviews here and here), and today we’ll be taking a look at three Fantastic Beasts titles from Harper Design.

Harper Design is the publisher of the Harry Potter Vault series, which has cataloged the series’ costumes, creatures, artifacts, and everything in between. If you own one of these titles, you already know how beautiful these books are. Their three new Fantastic Beasts titles are no exception. If you’re like me, you were so impressed by the beauty of these books when you saw them in the store that you had to avert your eyes… which makes choosing which to buy a little difficult! With that in mind, I want to share the highlights from all three books after taking a look at them.


Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them




At $19.99, Inside the Magic is the most affordable of the three Harper Design offerings. The book tracks the film’s origins, beginning with Warner Bros. producer Lionel Wigram’s reminisces about wanting to return to Rowling’s magical world after the release of the final Harry Potter film in 2011. At this point, what happens next is history.




The book features lots of gorgeous stills from the movie, as well as some behind-the-scenes shots of filming. It traces all of the major characters and locations from the film and is greatly enhanced by input from the actors and creators who brought the films to life. Inside the Magic is an excellent companion to the film (and even the screenplay!).





The Art of the Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them




As the title suggests, The Art of the Film is all about design. Written by designer Dermot Power, the book is stuffed with concept art for the film. Power, aided by commentary from over three dozen of his fellow artists, shares with readers early designs for Newt’s case, the Blind Pig, 1920s New York City streets, and – most impressive of all – the beasts themselves. As has been frequently reported, designers were often inspired by real animals, which means that they went through lots of iterations.



Can you imagine if Pickett looked like this?


It was a treat browsing through this book because I remember seeing some of these designs when I visited the set of Fantastic Beasts last year. Many of these images hung in the conference room where I spoke to David Heyman and Stuart Craig, which means that fans are getting access to the same images the film’s crew was surrounded by during filming. That, to me, is pretty awesome.




The artists also share some of the more technical details of their work, so fans really have a chance to see the progression of the film’s designs. If there’s an artist/Harry Potter fan in your life, this is the book for them. Of the three, Art of the Film also contains the most images you won’t have seen anywhere else – until now, the concept art has been top secret!




This wand spread might be the best one in the entire book.

This wand spread might be the best one in the entire book.



The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them




Still, of all three books, I expect that most fans will be drawn to The Case of Beasts, a scrapbook-style collection designed by MinaLima. This book covers much of the same material as Inside the Magic, but more in-depth and with more of a focus on the graphic elements of the movie.




The real stand-out feature of Case of Beasts is the pull-out inserts readers will find throughout the text. Maps, “wanted” posters, and MACUSA memos are all ready and waiting to be unfolded and examined by eager fans.






MinaLima’s touch lends this book a bit of magic, and the front-row seat it provides for some of the film’s artifacts means that we won’t have to wait until a Fantastic Beasts expansion opens in the Studio Tour to get a closer look at their beautiful work.

All in all, you can’t go wrong with any of these three books – it just depends on what interests you most. If you are most intrigued by the development of the film’s design, The Art of the Film is for you. If you want an easy-to-navigate companion to the film, choose Inside the Magic. If you want to feel like you’re actually a part of Newt’s world, dive into Case of Beasts.

Are you hoping to procure any of these books this holiday season? Or have you already taken the plunge? Share your thoughts with us!

Copies of these titles were provided by the publisher for review. 

Jessica J.

I've been making magic at MuggleNet since 2012, when I first joined the staff as a News intern. I've never wavered from the declaration in my childhood journal, circa October 2000: "I LOVE Harry Potter! If I clean my room, my mom says she'll make me a dinner a wizard would love!" Proud Gryffindor; don't hate.