Tag Archives: Jim Kay

Rediscover Harry Potter through Jim Kay’s Eyes

Jim KayBloomsbury’s stunning illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philiosopher’s Stone was released world-wide yesterday.  Jim Kay is the incredibly lucky illustrator who got the chance to bring his own version of J.K. Rowling’s world to life.  Ever since I saw the first illustration that was released from the book I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the book.  The digital images that have been popping up all over the place look amazing and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the book.

Thanks to the wonderful people at Allen and Unwin NZ I can share with you an interview that Helen Boyle did with illustrator Jim Kay.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Words by Helen Boyle

“So I got this phone call from my agent,” illustrator Jim Kay tells me, “and she said, ‘Are you sitting down? They want you to illustrate Harry Potter.’ As a big fan of the books and the films, Kay explains, “It was an incredible opportunity to design Harry’s world from the bottom up.”
But does the commission of a lifetime also come with the pressure of a lifetime?
“Yes, definitely. Everyone has an opinion on Harry Potter and that’s why it’s great, but that’s also why it’s challenging. But I’m not complaining, it’s an amazing commission.”
And Jim Kay likes to challenge himself. “My old art teacher used to say you have to keep testing yourself, don’t get comfortable. And I knew Harry Potter would be difficult for me: because it is children, because of the scale of it and because it’s fantasy. I probably think of myself more as a printmaker, expressing things through landscapes, but with Harry Potter I had to express emotions through characters.
“The hardest thing was the casting – I had to find my own Harry, Ron and Hermione. I’ve never really drawn children, so I needed actual references, especially as the kids grow up through the books. So my agent and I had to find children to cast as my characters.”
And how did he go about imagining Hogwarts?
“The preparatory stage, visualising the ‘architecture’ of Hogwarts, took a huge amount of time. I drew a floor plan of what I imagined Hogwarts was like, referring across all seven books. But when I started stacking different floors on top of each other, I found it difficult to understand how they fitted together. So the only way I could work out how to draw it was to build a model of it. It’s the same thing I did as a child – building things in Lego so I could then draw them. So I made quick models out of paper and Plasticine, and used these to draw from. Models are great also to work out the lighting and how the buildings relate to each other.”
Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films also had a big impact on Kay.
“I’m a massive John Howe and Alan Lee fan, both of whom worked as concept artists for Lord of the Rings films. I’ve definitely been influenced by the way that Peter Jackson went about his films, getting artists involved to try out different creative avenues. And so the opportunity to approach Harry Potter in the same way was incredibly exciting and enjoyable.
“I can’t work in silence; I have to have background noise and it has to be something familiar. So while I worked on Harry Potter I had the Lord of the Rings films on as background noise. I played the whole three films on a loop all day, so I know the whole script of each film.”

Here is a video of Jim Kay talking about his illustrating process for Harry Potter:

Also check out some of the sample images from the book below:

Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing 2015

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My Most Anticipated October Kids & YA Releases from Allen and Unwin

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Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Don’t call them heroes. But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart.

Ethan aka Scam has a voice inside him that’ll say whatever people want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t – like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, aka Bellwether, the group’s ‘glorious leader.’ After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. At the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

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The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

In this beautifully presented volume, the essence of seventy-five fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm is wonderfully evoked by Shaun Tan’s extraordinary sculptures.

Nameless princes, wicked stepsisters, greedy kings, honourable peasants and ruthless witches, tales of love, betrayal, adventure and magical transformation: all inspiration for this stunning gallery of sculptural works. Introduced by Grimm Tales author Philip Pullman and leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones breathes new life into some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation’s favourite children’s book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic, Jim Kay’s glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

9780857634146

Box by Rosalind Beardshaw

What would YOU do with a box? When four toddlers find some toys in cardboard boxes, they have fun with them for a while. But, before long, the friends’ interest in the toys wains and their attention turns to the boxes themselves. What could they do with SO many boxes, they wonder? An inspiring and charming novelty book celebrating the creative possibilities and limitless joy of the boxes.

9780857634924

Poles Apart by Jeanne Willis and Jarvis

Everybody knows that penguins belong at the South Pole and polar bears live at the North Pole-but what would happen if, one day, a family of picnicking penguins accidentally got lost? When the hapless Pilchard-Brown family find themselves at completely the wrong pole, they need Mr White, the friendly polar bear, to guide them all the way home.

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I Can’t Wait For…The Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I am not the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan but I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on the new, fully-illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.  It is illustrated by the wonderful Jim Kay, whose illustrations I first got introduced to in Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls.  Those illustrations were in black and white but his illustrations for Harry Potter are in colour and they look absolutely gorgeous!  A number of different spreads from the book have been released recently and with each new page I fall more in love with this book.  I imagine it can’t be easy illustrating a hugely popular book like this, especially after all the movies have been released, but it certainly looks like Jim has done an amazing job.

The cover alone shows you the magic that awaits inside the pages of this book:

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Check out this sneak peek inside the book from the  Bloomsbury UK website!

Watch this short video of Jim Kay explaining his illustrating process for the book:

The Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay is released in October by Bloomsbury Publishers.  It is supplied in NZ by Allen and Unwin NZ.

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Congratulations Patrick Ness and Jim Kay!

I was unbelievably happy to wake up to the news this morning that A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Jim Kay has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal.  To celebrate I thought I’d re-post my review of A Monster Calls (you’ll probably gather that I think it is a very deserving winner) and I’m giving away 2 hardback copies of this amazing book.  Keep reading to find out why I LOVE A Monster Calls.

It’s no secret that I think Patrick Ness is a brilliant author (I’ve written many blog posts about it).  His Chaos Walking Trilogy is one of those stories that really struck a chord with me and and the characters and their world will stay with me for a long time.  The books in the trilogy have won various awards in the world of children’s literature, including the BookTrust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Award, the Costa Book Award, most recently the final book, Monsters of Men won the prestigious Carnegie Medal.  When the Chaos Walking Trilogy came to an end last year, I was looking forward to reading whatever Patrick Nesswrote next and thankfully I didn’t have to wait very long.

Patrick’s next project was to write a story based on the ideas of another brilliant author, Siobhan Dowd, who had passed away from breast cancer in 2007.  Siobhan had the characters, premise and beginning and it was up to Patrick to turn it into a story.   Being both a fan of Patrick’s and Siobhan’s writing I eagerly anticipated their story, called A Monster Calls.  And boy, what a story it is!  Night after night, Connor is woken by the same nightmare, “the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming.  The one with the hands slipping from his grasp, no matter who hard he tried to hold on.”  It is one night, after waking from this nightmare, that the monster arrives, twisting to life from the yew tree in the graveyard.  The monster comes to offer Connor a deal; it will tell Connor three stories, but then he must tell the monster a fourth story, and it must be the truth.  However, Connor’s mum is very sick and the truth is the thing that he fears the worst.

I really can’t explain how amazing A Monster Calls is.  Before you even start reading the book, you just need a few minutes to marvel at how beautiful it is.  Walker Books have put so much love into the design, from the dust-jacket and the cover,  to the stunning illustrations spread throughout the book by the very talented Jim Kay.  The story itself is breathtaking and you’ll go on a roller-coaster of emotion as the monster guides Connor towards the truth.  I especially liked the three stories that the monster tells and I hope that Patrick Ness writes more short stories like these.  Grab a copy of A Monster Calls from the library now.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.

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Filed under authors, books, Illustrators, young adult, young adult fiction

Win the award-winning A Monster Calls

The very deserving winner of both the 2012 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Jim Kay.  Patrick Ness is one of my all-time favourite authors and I absolutely LOVED A Monster Calls.  It’s a beautiful, heart-breaking story and was probably my favourite book of 2011.

If you haven’t already read A Monster Calls or you loved it and want to own a copy you can win one of 2 copies that I’m giving away.  All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me your favourite childrens or young adults book.  Competition closes Friday 22 June (International).

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Two authors = one breathtaking story

It’s no secret that I think Patrick Ness is a brilliant author (I’ve written many blog posts about it).  His Chaos Walking Trilogy is one of those stories that really struck a chord with me and and the characters and their world will stay with me for a long time.  The books in the trilogy have won various awards in the world of children’s literature, including the BookTrust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Award, the Costa Book Award, most recently the final book, Monsters of Men won the prestigious Carnegie Medal.  When the Chaos Walking Trilogy came to an end last year, I was looking forward to reading whatever Patrick Nesswrote next and thankfully I didn’t have to wait very long.

Patrick’s next project was to write a story based on the ideas of another brilliant author, Siobhan Dowd, who had passed away from breast cancer in 2007.  Siobhan had the characters, premise and beginning and it was up to Patrick to turn it into a story.   Being both a fan of Patrick’s and Siobhan’s writing I eagerly anticipated their story, called A Monster Calls.  And boy, what a story it is!  Night after night, Connor is woken by the same nightmare, “the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming.  The one with the hands slipping from his grasp, no matter who hard he tried to hold on.”  It is one night, after waking from this nightmare, that the monster arrives, twisting to life from the yew tree in the graveyard.  The monster comes to offer Connor a deal; it will tell Connor three stories, but then he must tell the monster a fourth story, and it must be the truth.  However, Connor’s mum is very sick and the truth is the thing that he fears the worst.

I really can’t explain how amazing A Monster Calls is.  Before you even start reading the book, you just need a few minutes to marvel at how beautiful it is.  Walker Books have put so much love into the design, from the dust-jacket and the cover,  to the stunning illustrations spread throughout the book by the very talented Jim Kay.  The story itself is breathtaking and you’ll go on a roller-coaster of emotion as the monster guides Connor towards the truth.  I especially liked the three stories that the monster tells and I hope that Patrick Ness writes more short stories like these.  Grab a copy of A Monster Calls from the library now.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.

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Filed under authors, books, young adult, young adult fiction