Harry, Ron, and Hermione are getting a makeover. British artist Jim Kay, who won a Carnegie Medal in 2012 for illustrating Patrick Ness’s fantasy children’s book A Monster Calls, is reimagining the look of Harry’s world for a new edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. According to The Guardian, Kay is slated to create full-color illustrated editions of all seven of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, with the first expected to hit shelves October 6. The subsequent novels will be released one per year.
A Harry Potter fan himself, Kay tells The Guardian that “hearing the news that I'd got the commission was an explosion of delight, followed instantly by an implosion of brain-freezing terror.” Kay continues, “From my point of view it is, without doubt, the best commission you can be given—I’m a bit of a control freak, so to be given the opportunity to design the characters, the clothing, the architecture, and landscapes to possibly the most expansive fantasy world in children's literature, well, let’s just say I'm extremely excited about it.”
And after a sneak peek at Kay’s work—well, let’s just say we’re extremely excited about the new editions.
Kay tells The Guardian of bringing Rowling's characters to life, "I am also mindful of the huge responsibility this represents, I just want to make sure I do the best job I possibly can."
"You have to admire Hermione," Kay says. "Because she puts the hours in at the library, she's the cement really that holds it all together, well, it would be a different story without her."
In his illustration of Harry's best friend, Kay captures Ron's mop of hair and freckles.
Kay names Hagrid his favorite character visually. "He's got a wonderful heart, clothed in an enormous, shabby body. Hagrid's hut is, for me, like an extension of his physique: it makes him a part of Hogwarts, but keeps him at a distance too."
Kay paints our trio's nemesis as a gaunt, humorless boy (with his signature shock of white-blond hair).
Kay tells The Guardian of his process, "It's been lovely thinking about creating the characters, but at the moment my favourite task is creating Hogwarts—it's the first time I've thought about building something supported by magic—it's harder than you'd think.
Illustrations by Jim Kay © 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.