I am all heart-eyes today over the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire!
I’ve never owned one of these editions so I just about died when Bloomsbury sent me a copy. Also the delivery lady handed me the package and I was NOT ready for the weight and nearly fell over. Oh my weak little arms. I scurried inside to pore over the pages and I have to say…it’s just stunning. I haven’t seen the movies, so the illustrations are all fresh for me and craft a version of Harry Potter that’s both vivid and unique, and entrancing to get lost in.
It really changes your perspective to have a book illustrated. I’ve decided (just now, as I am typing this, yes yes) I really want every book of ever to be released as an illustrated edition. Okay hear me out though!!
Why Illustrated Books Are Particularly Incredible
- It helps people with muddy visual imaginations…aka me. Which I feel like laughing at myself for confessing. (“Aren’t you aN AUTHOR, C.G.?!?” Uh yes. About that…) I very rarely make visuals up out of nothing. Most people in my imagination are just faceless blobs. And I can barely describe any character in any book ever. So I personally like a nudging helping hand with an illustrated guide to work off!
- Also descriptions often slide past me without sinking in. 👀”He’s wearing khakis,” they say and I’m just like: I believe that’s like a sneeze. “Raise the portcullis!” they shout, while I assume that could be a pot plant. The visual + matched with the word description = me absorbing a lot more of the story.
- It’s just GORGEOUS. Hello, have you met me?! I’m intensely in love with bookstagram. The aesthetic and beautiful parts of a book are just what I want to photograph.
- Artists collaborating is an incredible thing. Look, I write, but I can’t draw. I would up and die of sheer happiness if someone illustrated my books. Having an artist lend their perspective and imagination to your words is a Power Collab. (This should also go both ways! It would be amazing to see artists do a series of incredible paintings and have an author write a book from it!)
- Some of us just like collecting things.😌Hello. It is I. I confess to having several editions of my favourite books. It just feel so so good to support authors and collect things you love, and fill your life with art and creation and happiness.
- We ALL deserve picture books. For some reason, people think that the older you get, the less pictures you need. Inaccurate and HURTFUL opinion, I say. I appreciate illustrations way more as I get older. Like you have no idea how seeing a picture of a pie on twitter will make me go make a pie myself. That’s inspiration. That’s life changing. Bless.
Bloomsbury really epically did an interview with Jim Kay (questions asked by Helen Boyle) and I’m sharing a few answers here below!!
I found them so interesting (I live for behind-the-scenes details honestly), so I hope you do too!! And if you’re keen to get your own copy of the Illustrate edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it’s in stores now. 😌🙌🏻
What’s your process for approaching each book’s illustrations?
JIM KAY: To start with I read through the whole book once, without making any notes. And then I read it again and make notes. And then I read it again. My notes include lists of characters, so I know whom I might have to cast and draw, and then any descriptions of the characters. I also make notes of those specific scenes that you know you have to show – the arrival of the Beauxbaton carriage was one of these in Goblet of Fire.
The nice thing about this fourth book was that it had three distinct blocks in the three trials of the Triwizard Tournament – so you obviously have to illustrate those. And then I feel that you need moments of peacefulness that allow the reader to take a break – a counter to the action scenes. The image of the Durmstrang boat with Hogwarts from the lake is an example of that.
After that what I’m really looking for in the text are things that are just mentioned in passing. In the first book it was Hermione and the blue flame, which was just half a line in the text. I’m looking for those lines that make me think ‘ooh I can expand that’, areas that give me space to see and create something different. In this book, Ron’s bedroom was one, as was the broom cupboard where Rita interviews Harry.
You work in many different types of medium, what did you use for this book?
JIM KAY: Yes I suppose I’m yet to find one style that feels like it works for everything! With the chapter head and border illustrations, I was looking at people like Eric Ravilius and Edward Bawden, and I decided to make them look like woodcuts. However they are actually done in felt-tip pen and then digitally reversed.
I also used this felt-tip trick on the endpapers as well. I’m always scanning in textures to use and the colour pieces were done with household test paint pots – mainly from B&Q and Farrow & Ball this time. I also use watercolour and pencil, and acrylic paint and there are some oil paintings and some charcoal sketches. And then of course, some images that I’ve had to digitally rescue -like the underwater scene of the mermen!
If there was one thing you’d like readers to take away from these illustrated editions, what would that be?
JIM KAY: Have a go – when people say ‘Oh I can’t draw’, I feel they’re missing the point. I mean I can’t play guitar, but still I have a go at it everyday.
I think it’s not about drawing it’s about looking and particularly in current social media times. Sometimes I notice that people in their daily life are starting to dress in a way that works in an instagram-friendly way, and it all becomes very homogenized. And yet when you draw you’re looking for stuff that’s unusual about something or someone. It’s those details that make an interesting image not a homogenized sense of perfection. When you draw there are no such things as levels of beauty it’s more about the details to get hold of. Someone who is considered aesthetically beautiful can be far less interesting to draw, as there are less unique things to latch onto.
Ultimately it’s not about drawing it’s about looking. I wish people drew more because it not only gives you time to stop and think, but also to stop and look.
| what do you think? |
what book do you think would be stunning if it was illustrated?!? and have you read/collected this edition of Harry Potter? do you like the illustrated editions?