The library has launched a competition to win a signed copy of the recently released illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Local artist Jim Kay was commissioned to provide artwork for the book, the first in the Harry Potter series. He spent two years working on the project and the finished article has received tremendous accolades since its publication in October.
Mr Kay, who has previously won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations for A Monster Calls, visited Corby Business Academy. A group of our students were also invited along to hear him talk about his career.
One of our students who heard his speak said: ‘The best bit was that he inspired you. He said you don’t have to be brilliant at art to do this. He said he wasn’t the best at art when he was little but he has got really far with it. I loved the idea when he said he just got ink on a rolling pin and just rolled it across the page and then use wax crayons for a nice effect. I think I am going to try that.’
Librarian Mrs Adams said: ‘He talked a lot about the process. To do the Harry Potter illustrations first he made a model of Hogwarts but he particularly didn’t refer to the film, he said initially it was hard but after a while he was so in his world he had created from the book. Every now and then he had a good idea and he did think “Oh, I hope it wasn’t in the film” and he would double check to make sure that it wasn’t!
‘His model was plasticine, bits of dowelling and stuff from the bin and he hung up some cotton wool clouds so he could shine a torch on it and see where the light would fall. For every picture he showed all his workings. It took two years to do the illustrations for the first book and he is working on the second one now. He said some of the backgrounds are very simple and he digitally inverted one of a ghost once he had drawn it so it became translucent.
‘He drew Diagon Alley on a huge piece of paper. As a child he said he didn’t have any drawing materials so he just used every scrap of paper, making the point that you don’t need specialist equipment to create something. In the book there aren’t that many shops in Diagon Alley so he basically had to invent some of his own. He is going to put his dog in every book and Hermione is modelled on his niece. He said the hardest things to portray were the children because they grow up and change.
‘He said the way to get better is just to keep drawing, don’t worry about getting the right materials, just draw, draw, draw. He uses all sorts of stuff and only about ten per cent of his original work is used in the book. He was an amazing speaker and it was fantastic to hear about the thought processes behind his amazing illustrations.’
If students, or staff, want to be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Jim’s illustrated book then they have to submit their own original illustrated story. The closing date for the competition is the first day of next term. Please hand your submissions in to Mrs Adams in the library.