Jim Kay Will No Longer Be Illustrating “Harry Potter”

Artist Jim Kay, who has been bringing the wizarding world to life through Bloomsbury’s Harry Potter illustrated editions, has announced he will be stepping down from the role to focus on his mental health. Kay has illustrated five Harry Potter books, beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was published in 2015.

For the just-released Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Jim Kay shared the work with fellow artist Neil Packer, no doubt due to the magnitude of the task of illustrating such an enormous book. Packer did approximately a quarter of the illustrations.

Kay explained his decision in a statement:

When I received a phone call back in 2013 with an offer of an illustration job, I could never have anticipated the impact it would have upon my life. I am extremely lucky to have been involved in a franchise that has meant so much to so many people across the world. After 10 years of working with Bloomsbury, it is with great sadness that I have to step down from illustrating Harry Potter. I have been struggling with mental health illness for some time, and it would be wrong to try and continue when I can no longer give the fans and the series the full commitment and energy it deserves.

He continued by assuring fans that Bloomsbury will continue the series of Harry Potter illustrated editions while working with other artists, though he did not clarify whether Neil Packer will be among them. He thanked Bloomsbury and J.K. Rowling for their support over “10 years of happy scribbling” and expressed how much he enjoyed the experience.

Bloomsbury Children’s Books also made a statement, expressing how Kay’s beautiful work has connected with readers.

We feel so grateful and privileged to have enjoyed Jim’s vision of the wizarding world and recognise the staggering amount of dedication and work it represents. We will miss collaborating with Jim enormously, but he will always have a very special place in our Harry Potter family of unparalleled illustration talent.

We wish Jim Kay the best with his mental health and look forward to seeing the work of the artists who will close out the series.

Meanwhile, there’s another set of illustrated Harry Potter books on the go, created by the films’ graphic design team, MinaLima. Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima just announced that their version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban will be coming next year.

You can check out all the illustrated editions of Harry Potter and its companion books on our Amazon list.


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Catherine Lai

I have been a fan of Harry since 2000, a fan of MuggleNet since 2005, and a MuggleNet team member since 2013. I believe in the power of stories to bring people together, and nothing does that quite like Harry Potter. I live in Toronto, Canada.