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 Tuesday, 6th

   Various interviews with Jim Kay0 Comments

Over the past week a variety of media outlets have conducted interviews with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone illustrator, Jim Kay.

From various fansites:

  Accio Quote:
Were you influenced by previous Harry Potter illustrators/the films or did you veer away from both?

I’m a huge fan of both the books and the films. I thought the screen adaptations were a wonderful showcase of the best set design, product design, costume, casting, directing and acting their disciplines had to offer. I knew from the start that I’m competing to some degree with the hundreds of people involved in the visuals of the film. I remember watching the extras that come with the movie DVDs a few years back, and wondering how on earth you’d get to be lucky enough to work on the visuals for such a great project. To be offered the opportunity to design the whole world again from scratch was fantastic, but very daunting. I’d like to think that over the years lots of illustrators will have a crack at Potter, in the same way that Alice in Wonderland has seen generations of artists offer their own take on Lewis Carroll’s novel. I had to make it my version though, and so from the start I needed to set it apart from the films. I’ll be honest I’ve only seen a few illustrations from other Potter books, so that’s not been so much of a problem. I love Jonny Duddle’s covers, and everyone should see Andrew Davidson’s engravings – they are incredible!

What was the most important detail for you to get right with your illustrations?

To try and stay faithful to the book. It’s very easy when you are scribbling away to start wandering off in different directions, so you must remind yourself to keep reading Jo’s text. Technically speaking though, I think composition is important – the way the movement and characters arrange themselves on the page – this dictates the feel of the book.

What medium do you use to create your illustrations?

I use anything that makes a mark – I am not fussy. So I don’t rely on expensive watercolour or paints, although I do occasionally use them – I like to mix them up with cheap house paint, or wax crayons. Sometimes in a local DIY store I’ll see those small tester pots of wall paint going cheap in a clear-out sale, and I’ll buy stacks of them, and experiment with painting in layers and sanding the paint back to get nice textures. The line is almost always pencil, 4B or darker, but the colour can be a mixture of any old paint, watercolour, acrylic, and oil. Diagon Alley was unusual in that I digitally coloured the whole illustration in order to preserve the pencil line drawing. I’d recommend experimenting; there is no right or wrong way to make an illustration, just do what works for you!

Because each book is so rich in detail, what is your personal process when choosing specific images?

I read the book, then read it again and again, making notes. You start off with lots of little ideas, and draw a tiny thumbnail illustration, about the size of a postage stamp, to remind you of the idea for an illustration you had while reading the book. I then start to draw them a little bigger, about postcard size, and show them to Bloomsbury. We then think about how many illustrations will appear in each chapter, and try to get the balance of the book right by moving pictures around, dropping or adding these rough drawings as we go. With Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury were great in that they let me try all sorts of things out, different styles, concepts. Some I didn’t think would get into the final book, but everyone was very open to new ideas. There was no definite plan with regards to how the book would look; we just experimented and let it evolve.

Given the distinct split of younger vs. more mature readers of the series, how do you construct your illustrations so that they can appeal to both audiences at once?

The simple answer is I don’t try. I think only about the author and myself. You can’t please everyone, particularly when you know how many people have read the book. I don’t think good books are made by trying to appeal to a wide audience. You just try to do the best work you can in the time given, and respect the author’s work. Most illustrators are never happy with their own work. You always feel you want to try more combinations or alternative compositions. You are forever in search of that golden illustration that just ‘works’, but of course it’s impossible to achieve – there will always be another way of representing the text. Effectively you chase rainbows until you run out of time! You get a gut feeling if an image is working. I remember what I liked as a child (Richard Scarry books!). Detail and humour grabbed me as a nipper, and it’s the same now I’m in my forties.

Did you base any characters or items in the book on real people or things?

Lots of the book is based on real places, people and experiences. It helps to make the book personal to me, and therefore important. The main characters of the books are based on real people, partly for practical reasons, because I need to see how the pupils age over seven years. In Diagon Alley in particular, some of the shop names are personal to me. As a child we had a toad in the garden called Bufo (from the latin Bufo bufo), Noltie’s Botanical Novelties is named after a very clever friend of mine who works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. The shop called ‘Tut’s Nuts’ is a little joke from my days working at Kew Gardens; they had in their collections some seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamun, which were affectionately known as ‘Tut’s Nuts’. The imprisoned boy reaching for an apple in Brigg’s Brooms is from a drawing my friend did when we were about 9 years old – that’s thirty two years ago!

Which character was the most difficult to draw?

Harry, without a doubt. Children are difficult to draw because you can’t use too many lines around the eyes and face, otherwise they look old. One misplaced pencil line can age a child by years, so you have to get it just right. Also Harry’s glasses are supposed to look repaired and bent out of shape, which I’ve found tricky to get right.

What is your favourite scene you have illustrated?

That’s a difficult one. I’m fond of the ghosts. I paint them in reverse (almost like a photographic negative) and layer several paintings to make them translucent. I enjoyed Nearly Headless Nick. I really enjoyed illustrating the trolls too. Your favourite illustrations tend to be the ones that gave you the least amount of difficulties and I think Diagon Alley was nice for this reason. It was more like a brainstorming exercise, slowly working from left to right. My favourite character to illustrate is Hagrid – I love big things!

Are there any hidden messages/items in your drawings for the Harry Potter series?

There are, but they are little things that relate to my life, so I’m not sure how much sense they’d make to other people. I like to include my dog in illustrations if I can (he’s in Diagon Alley). I also put a hare in my work, for good luck. There’s a hare in A Monster Calls, and in Harry Potter. My friends appear as models for the characters in book one, and some of their names too can be seen carved on a door, and on Diagon Alley. There are little references to later books too, such as on the wrought-iron sign of the Leaky Cauldron. I do it to keep things interesting for me while I’m drawing.

How did you approach illustrating the Hogwarts Castle and grounds?

I really enjoyed doing this. You have to go through all seven books looking for mentions of the individual rooms, turrets, doors and walls of the castle, and make lots of notes. Then you check for mentions of its position, for example if you can see the sun set from a certain window, to find out which way the castle is facing. I then built a small model out of scrap card and Plasticine and tried lighting it from different directions. It was important to see how it would look in full light, or as a silhouette. Then it was a long process of designing the Great Hall, and individual towers. I have a huge number of drawings just experimenting with different doorways, roofs. Some early compositions were quite radical, then I hit upon the idea of trees growing under, through and over the whole castle, as if the castle had grown out of the landscape. This also gives me the opportunity to show trees growing through the inside of some rooms in future illustrations.

What illustrations in the book are you most proud of?

Usually it’s the ones that took the least amount of effort! It takes me so many attempts to get an illustration to work, that if one works on the second or third attempt, it’s a big relief. There is one illustration in the book that worked first time (a chapter opener of Hogwarts architecture, with birds nesting on the chimney pots). It kind of felt wrong that the illustration was done without agonising over it for days, it didn’t feel real somehow, so I’m proud of that one because it’s so rare that I get an image to work first time! The only other illustration that was relatively straightforward was the Sorting Hat. Illustrations that come a little easier tend to have a freshness about them, and I think those two feel a little bit looser than others in the book.

Which book do you think will be the most challenging one to illustrate?

At the minute it’s book two! I think book one I was full of adrenaline, driven by sheer terror! Book two I want to have a different feel, and that makes it challenging to start again and rethink the process.

Is there a particular scene in the future Harry Potter books you’re excited to illustrate?

I’m really looking forward to painting Aragog in book two. I’m really fond of spiders – there are lots in my studio – so it’s great having reference close to hand! I’m hoping that by the Deathly Hallows we will be fully into a darker and more adult style of illustration, to reflect the perils facing Potter!

How many illustrations did you initially do for the book, and how many of those appeared in the final edition?

There are stacks of concept drawings that no one will ever see, such as the Hogwarts sketches, which I needed to do in order to get my head around the book. Then there are rough drawings, then rough drawings that are worked up a little more, and then it might take five or six attempts for each illustration to get it right.

What house do you think you may have been placed in, aged 11, and would it be the same now?

I’d like to think it was Ravenclaw as a child. I was much more confident back then, and creative, plus they have an interesting house ghost in the form of the Grey Lady. These days I work hard and am loyal, so probably Hufflepuff.

Illustrating aside, what is one thing that you love doing to express your creativity?

It’s difficult to say because for the past 5 years I have worked on illustration seven days a week, every hour of the day. A few years back I started to write, and I really enjoyed that, it’s far more intimate than illustrating, and I love going over the same line and trying to hone it down to the core of what you are trying to express. My partner makes hats, and I’m very envious. It looks like wonderful fun. We have lots of designs for hats in sketchbooks. I really want to get some time to make some. I’ve always been slightly torn that I didn’t go into fashion, but my sewing is terrible. I used to play guitar a lot and write little bits of music, but that’s difficult now because my hand gets very stiff from drawing all day! The funny thing is, if I did ever get a day off, I’d just want to draw!

Behind-the-scenes from Bloomsbury:

From Pottermore:

From Entertainment Weekly:


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 19:03.12 BST | Submit News | Tags: Philosopher's Stone, Jim Kay

   Three new faces for "Fantastic Beasts?"0 Comments

The Hollywood Reporter is stating that Gemma Chan, Carmen Ejogo and Jon Voight have been cast in Fantastic Beasts.

Chan is well-known for her involvement in Humans, Ejogo for Selma and Voight for 24 and Mission Impossible.

  Accio Quote:
Gemma Chan, who stars in AMC's sci-fi thriller Humans, Selma actress Carmen Ejogo and Jon Voight have joined the cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Warner Bros.’s fantasy set in the world of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.

The movie is currently shooting in England with Eddie Redmayne starring as Newt Scamander, the wizarding world’s preeminent magizoologist. (The events of Fantastic Beasts take place 70 years before Harry Potter reads Scamander’s book in his wizarding school.)


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 19:11.23 BST | Submit News | Tags: Fantastic Beasts

   Sir Kenneth Branagh becomes president of RADA0 Comments

Sir Kenneth Branagh has been announced as the new President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

  Accio Quote:
Director of RADA, Edward Kemp, added “We’re thrilled to have Ken on board for the next step of the RADA journey, which includes plans to make our training even more accessible and public-facing and to renovate our Studios building to maintain our position as a world-leading drama school. The diversity of Ken’s career, not only as an actor, but as director, producer and beyond are an inspiration to us all, staff and students alike.”


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 19:13.18 BST | Submit News | Tags: Kenneth Branagh

   "Career of Evil" UK scavenger hunt!0 Comments

If you live in the UK and are over 18-years old then you can take part in the Career of Evil scavenger hunt!

The hunt started on Twitter with:

Calling the number leads to a question being given for fans to answer.

T&C's state:

  Accio Quote:
You must be at least 18 years old and a resident of Great Britain to enter.

Qualifying entrants must be available on the October 21 in London between the hours of 11:45 a.m. and 8 p.m. to be eligible to take advantage of the prize. You must also be able to arrange travel to London and the venue set out in Section 4 (travel expenses will not be provided).

The promotion will open on October 5 at midday London time and close on October 15 at 5 p.m. London time. (so you have 10 days to get your entry in!)


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 19:15.23 BST | Submit News | Tags: J. K. Rowling, Robert Galbraith, Career of Evil

 Monday, 5th

   Watson discusses "Beauty and the Beast"0 Comments

In a new interview with BBC Radio 1, Emma Watson discusses how her last scenes for the Beauty and the Beast movie were completed 15 years to the day she was cast for Harry Potter.

  Accio Quote:
“It’s so weird," said Watson. "It’s one of those full circle moments as I did my last day on Beauty and the Beast as Belle and I was driving home and saw stuff reminding me that it was fifteen years to the day that I was cast as Hermione."

“It’s so crazy,” she told Nick Grimshaw on his Radio 1 Breakfast show. “It’s more than half of my life.”


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 18:55.00 BST | Submit News | Tags: Emma Watson, Beauty and the Beast

 Saturday, 3rd

   New Potter illustrations by Jim Kay0 Comments

The Telegraph has been given exclusive access to new illustrations from the upcoming Philosopher's Stone illustrative edition.

View them all via our gallery, by clicking here.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: The Illustrated Edition is published by Bloomsbury on October 6th.


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 17:57.00 BST | Submit News | Tags: Philosopher's Stone, Jim Kay

 Tuesday, 29th

   Feast at Hogwarts!0 Comments

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour has announced that Harry Potter fans can feast in Hogwarts for the price of £230.

  Accio Quote:
Explore the Studio Tour, admiring sets such as the Gryffindor common room and the Weasley’s kitchen at The Burrrow, which will also be dressed as they were for winter scenes.

Enjoy a selection of three festive dessert bowls on Platform 9 ¾, alongside the original Hogwarts Express.

Drink Butterbeer in the backlot café and walk up the wizarding shopping street, Diagon Alley, before taking in the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model (covered in a layer of filmmaking snow especially for the festive season).

Finish the evening with music and dancing, with a bar provided for those who wish to purchase additional drinks.

You must be over 18 to attend!


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 17:29.00 BST | Submit News | Tags: WB Studio Tour

 Monday, 28th

   Watson: Sexism in the media industry0 Comments

The Guardian has published a variety of stories from celebrities about sexism in the media industry.

Emma Watson stated:

  Accio Quote:
I have experienced sexism in that I have been directed by male directors 17 times and only twice by women. Of the producers I’ve worked with 13 have been male and only one has been a woman. But I am lucky: I have always insisted on being treated equally and have generally won that equality. Most of the problems I have encountered have been in the media, where I have been treated so incredibly differently from my male co-stars.

I think my work with the UN has probably made me even more aware of the problems. I went out for a work dinner recently. It was 7 men… and me.

If something does go wrong in the workplace, the support network is not brilliant. The men at the top often find it difficult to relate to a lot of the problems women face and therefore we aren’t taken very seriously. Yet, women are just as guilty of discriminating against women. Some of the best feminists I have encountered are men, like Steve Chbosky who directed me in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and director James Ponsoldt who I am working with at the moment [on The Circle>. Some women can be incredibly prejudiced against other women!


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 17:39.00 BST | Submit News | Tags: Emma Watson

 Saturday, 26th

   "Cursed Child" to be told in two parts!0 Comments

J. K. Rowling has announced that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be told in two parts.

Speculation of how the plays will work has been suggested by The Daily Mail reporter Baz Bamigboye:

  Accio Quote:
But my understanding is that parts one and two will be performed on consecutive weekdays, while at weekends, audiences will be able to watch both parts in one day.


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 14:56.10 BST | Submit News | Tags: Cursed Child Theatre

 Friday, 25th

   Radcliffe shaves head for new role0 Comments

Daniel Radcliffe has updated his Google+ account to reveal his new shaved-head hairstyle for his involvement in Imperium

  Accio Quote:
Hi Everyone

Here's the first look of me as FBI agent Nate Foster in IMPERIUM. We began filming the movie this week. I'm very excited about it and will tell you more about it soon!


 Posted By: StefanPosted At: 15:11.00 BST | Submit News | Tags: Daniel Radcliffe, Imperium /.net /.eu & is in no way related to
J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Books, Bloomsbury Publishing or Warner Bros.
All images and material related to the J.K. Rowling novels is
© Scholastic Books (US), and Bloomsbury Publishing (UK).

All material related to the Harry Potter films is © Warner Bros