Jim Kay on the illustrated edition of Harry Potter

The Pottermore Correspondent

Voldemort illustrated by Jim Kay
Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 2015, taken from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Illustrated Edition

Legendary illustrator Jim Kay tells the Pottermore Correspondent how he sketched, drew and painted J.K. Rowling’s iconic characters.

The new edition Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, illustrated by Jim Kay, is out now. The award-winning illustrator sat down with the Pottermore Correspondent to explain his creative process and the meaning behind each beautiful illustration.

For starters, have you seen Voldemort lately? Or, more accurately, one of his bloodshot reptilian eyes peaking out from the back of Professor Quirrell’s head?

Here it is, somehow horrifying and beautiful at once.

Voldemort illustrated by Jim Kay
Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 2015, taken from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Illustrated Edition

This image of Voldemort isn’t the original version though. Jim initially had something even more sinister planned.

‘For Voldemort, we actually had to censor the first image I did because it was too terrifying,’ he says, laughing. That might have had a little something to do with the creature he chose for Voldemort’s inspiration.

‘Picture a shark. When you look at sharks, they have these tiny needle-like teeth, don’t they? And they have no lips either, which makes them even more disturbing. I did that with Voldemort at first; I removed his lips and gave him rows of needle-sharp teeth in his mouth. It was, ah, deemed a little too much, for the first book at least. Maybe when I illustrate book six, I could try and bring him back that way.’

To find out how Jim Kay drew some of the other main characters, head over to the full story here. He reveals how he ‘found’ Harry Potter, who inspired his version of Dumbledore’s face and how, in some way, he is related to Hermione Granger.

Jim Kay illustrator
Illustrator Jim Kay

The new edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone illustrated by Jim Kay is available to buy from Bloomsbury (UK residents) or Scholastic (US residents).

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'
Illustrated edition