Four new Jim Kay illustrations from the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Illustrated Edition), which is set to be released by Bloomsbury Publishing on October 6, have been released exclusively to Entertainment Weekly (EW).
In these new images, fans get to see beautiful renditions of the Hogwarts castle and Quidditch pitch, Harry with his school supplies, Albus Dumbledore characteristically enjoying a treat, and the golden trio, also characteristically, in peril. Kay said that he wanted to create the characters in his own way and found real-life children who matched the images of the characters in his mind as inspiration, according to EW.
In an interview with EW, Kay explained the choice of birds in the image.
“I thought it would be nice to have starlings on the Quidditch hoops,” Kay said. “Where I lived in Edinburgh, you call them ‘murmurations of starlings’ when the birds form these beautiful swirling patterns.”
He also revealed that this particular image was simply a draft, but that Bloomsbury opted to publish this version and “liked the looseness of it.”
Kay said that he took inspiration from pictures of children in England in the 1940s during the Blitz, along with one child he saw on a subway in London, to create his likeness of Harry.
“They had sort of thick, scruffy hair, and round glasses, and looked sort of underfed and malnourished, from really tough East End parts of London as well,” Kay said of the 1940s’ photographs. ”I wanted that real character coming through, some adversity. But also slightly fragile, because he’s thin, and he’s smaller than usual.” Kay also photographed the boy in London, who turned out to be a stage actor who was easily able to pose with various emotional facial expressions.
Kay set out to represent Dumbledore in several ways in this portrait inspired by old portrait-painting. He said that Dumbledore’s face was inspired by a mentor of his.
“So the dried plant there is honesty — but on the honesty is also a little camouflaged praying mantis,” he said ” It’s sort of saying, there is honesty with Dumbledore, but with a catch. There’s also a little bottle of dragon’s blood because he wrote a book on dragon’s blood. And knitting because, of course, he likes to knit.”
And of course we see some candy, perhaps sherbert lemons?
The fourth illustration reveals Kay’s depiction of Harry, Ron, and Hermione encountering the chess board room on the way to finding the Sorcerer’s Stone. The faces of Ron and Hermione were each inspired by children he has met in passing. Kay also went into detail about the chess pieces themselves, which take equal focus in the image. ”The stone faces above are based on the Lewis chessmen, a group of 12th century chess pieces…They have these wonderful faces,” he noted.
He explained that different carving materials require different levels of intricacy. ”If you’re carving in ebony, which is a hard material, your designs need to be simpler” Kay explained. “I was looking at chess pieces from Malawi in Africa, and they were beautifully stylized.”
He also mentioned a look into the future of his Harry Potter illustrations: “I think in book two I’ve got some hints of those Malawi sculptures.”