Exclusive Interview: Diving into Nerdy Ink’s “Harry Potter” Covers with Co-Owner and Illustrator Alexis
Ever wonder what inspired Alexis at Nerdy Ink to create the magical new Harry Potter covers? Nerdy Ink is a family-owned business run by Alexis, her husband, and their two young daughters. They strive to create a friendly and uplifting environment where each customer can safely express their nerdiest self. We sat down with Alexis to get the inside scoop on how these covers, which make our bookshelves look so good, were brought to life. From the beginning idea to her favorite parts to the small, detailed choices she made, we’ve got it all.
I actually don’t like book covers with characters on them. Ironic, considering all of our cover designs have characters on them.
Alexis spoke about the choice to put characters on the covers. She also talked about the lettering on the covers, saying that she is “a letterer first and an illustrator second.” She wanted to focus on the lettering and let the titles have the majority focus since they seem to fade into the backgrounds on other versions.
The German edition covers were actually a remarkable inspiration for creating Nerdy Ink’s Harry Potter series. She liked the way they looked and wanted to craft a similar design with certain changes made to her own liking. She also spoke about other cover options not being her taste and knowing she could create something better. Alexis concluded her answers to this question by telling us about how her first set of Harry Potter books was a hand-me-down from her sister and needed some care. Half the set was missing the covers or just needed a fresh look, and she didn’t have a full set of sleeves. She later decided this was a collection that would need to be added to their site.
I am very deliberate about my coloring choices in making sure the palette remains true to the story.
Alexis spoke highly about staying true to the original covers’ palettes. To this effect, she referenced Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the overall theme of reds as well as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the green themes.
We went more in-depth about the quotes chosen, with Alexis discussing wanting to balance the popular ones with ones that would fit onto the back covers. She had favorites that she wanted to use that wouldn’t have fit, so she had to make sure she chose quotes that worked. She also spoke about the characters she chose for the covers’ fronts and backs. Alexis decided to illustrate the child characters for the front covers, with the adults gracing the back covers. This decision was made with the reader in mind, in that a middle-grade reader is more likely to flock to a book with a child on the cover versus an adult.
While discussing the lettering and calligraphy, we chose to refer specifically to the spine lettering decisions of putting the book number as well as the school year. Alexis originally had the book numbers illustrated in number format but eventually decided the written-out numbers looked better for the spacing allotted. As far as the overall discussion to add the book numbers to the spine, she spoke about wanting to make the reading order easy for kids picking up the books for the first time.
Alexis pondered her favorite elements and covers for a moment, admitting that they all mean a lot. She ended up listing Luna, McGonagall, Dumbledore, and the Thestral as her favorites. She continued by saying that every element they chose for the spine illustrations had to be able to be made into a pin as well. She then said that the Thestral made the cutest pin, so it became her favorite spine image.
Once I get an idea in my head, it’s stuck there until I put it down somewhere.
Alexis actually drew her inspiration for these covers from the book covers of another middle-grade book series. She thought of how she could make it look better in her own way and knew it would be perfect for a Harry Potter sleeve set. Alexis then told us that she really wanted to implement the spine elements in another way to tie all the books together. They toyed with the idea of making the insides poster options but decided that a line art pattern inside the sleeves better fit their vision.
We truly enjoyed chatting with Alexis and finding out what sparks her creative side. Hearing what went into the creation of these covers and illustrations was very interesting and compelling. It made us want to explore more of our own artistic inspirations. If you haven’t checked out Nerdy Ink yet, be sure to give the site a look and explore its magical Harry Potter collection.