As Harry faces his upcoming fifth year at Hogwarts Academy, there are increasing rumors of dark times coming and of Lord Voldemort's return to power, and a secret anti-Voldemort society, The Order of the Phoenix, begins meeting again.
Book Description--Special Features of the Deluxe Edition About the Artist: Mary GrandPré
This cloth-covered deluxe edition features full-color printed endpapers and a foil-stamped title on the spine, and comes complete with a full-color slipcase with matte lamination and foil-stamping. Best of all, the removable, suitable-for-framing book jacket is emblazoned with exclusive, original artwork (that's different than the regular edition) by illustrator Mary GrandPré--a one-of-a-kind keepsake that you won't find anywhere else.
Award-winning artist, conceptual illustrator, animated film scenery developer, ad designer, and, oh yes, illustrator for a worldwide children's book phenomenon, Mary GrandPré somehow manages to juggle all her hats quite well, to mix a metaphor. It seems appropriate to mix metaphors when you're talking about someone who has mixed her media--and her genres--so gracefully ever since she was a child.
As a 5-year-old, GrandPré began drawing. Five or six years later she was experimenting with Salvador Dali-style oil painting. Next she moved on to copying black-and-white photos out of the encyclopedia. Later still she decided to go to art school (Minneapolis College of Art and Design), where she learned that being an artist and being an illustrator were not mutually exclusive.
A couple of decades later, after working in corporate advertising, film (GrandPré created the environment and scenery art for the animated film Antz), and book publishing, this multitalented artist received a call asking if she might like to work on a book cover and some black-and-white illustrations for a book about a young wizard named Harry Potter. The rest--dare we say it?--is history. Exclusive Amazon Interview: The Painter of Potter
Considering she may be the best-known illustrator on the planet right now, Mary GrandPré is remarkably mild, modest, and down-to-earth. In a conversation with Amazon.com's Emilie Coulter, the Harry Potter illustrator talks about her dog and her dad, Walt Disney's magic, and, of course, Book Five. Amazon.com:
You've read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
--what do you think? Mary GrandPré:
I think it's wonderful. It's unique, it's different from the rest. I think it's a really exciting part of the Harry Potter series. Amazon.com:
Which Harry Potter book have you liked the best? GrandPré:
I think they all stand alone, so I appreciate them separately, but when you tie them all together into the story you can't really have one without the other. I don't have a favorite. They're all great. Amazon.com:
What was your original artistic inspiration for the first Harry Potter book? How did Harry end up looking like Harry? GrandPré:
When I illustrate a cover or a book, I draw upon what the author tells me; that's how I see my responsibility as an illustrator. J.K. Rowling is very descriptive in her writing--she gives an illustrator a lot to work with. Each story is packed full of rich visual descriptions of the atmosphere, the mood, the setting, and all the different creatures and people. She makes it easy for me. The images just develop as I sketch and retrace until it feels right and matches her vision. Amazon.com:
How closely do you work with J.K. Rowling? GrandPré:
I've only met her once, a couple years ago. The publisher shows her sketches and gets feedback, but she and I don't communicate. This is pretty typical for illustrator/author relationships: they keep our visions and voices separate. Amazon.com:
How are you handling Harry growing up? GrandPré:
It's exciting. I kind of feel like his mom--or maybe his step-mom. J.K. Rowling is his mom. But I feel like it's a tricky thing to create a character and then age him. You have to take careful note of how that happens because any little tiny difference in a face can make the whole person look very different. Over the years Harry has become pretty solid in my mind. I just do a lot of experimenting on the drawing board, playing with how I would technically change this or that part of his face. What's really exciting is how Harry's personality changes from book to book, his level of confidence, things you see in normal kids. It's really fun to bring that into the drawings. What's really exciting is how Harry's personality changes from book to book, his level of confidence, things you see in normal kids. It's really fun to bring that into the drawings. Amazon.com:
You've called your artistic style "soft geometry." What do you mean by that? GrandPré:
I don't know if that happens so much in Harry Potter covers; in my other work you see it more--it's stylized, abstract. It's just a simplification of subject matter, an abstraction, but not enough to not be approachable. I'm inspired by people like [Edward] Hopper and Henry Moore, who is one of my favorite artists. Amazon.com:
And who is your favorite children's book illustrator? GrandPré:
I'd say Maurice Sendak is one of them. As a kid I was really, really inspired by early Walt Disney. That sense of magic is something I want to bring into my work in my own way. It's hard to say who's my favorite--it changes. It's more about favorite pieces of art. I do like a variety of artwork. I don't feel fresh doing the same thing over and over, so I like to view a lot of art and be inspired by it according to subject or story, more so than just by illustrators or authors. Amazon.com:
What do you think of the artwork in the international editions? GrandPré:
I've only seen a couple of these editions. Everybody has their own vision of the story and what it should look like. To be honest, I really just focus on what I need to do with the books. That's even true for the movie and Harry Potter as a product, I try to stay focused on what's happening in my studio with Harry. Amazon.com:
It must have been amazing to see the characters you worked with come to life in the movies. GrandPré:
It was pretty cool. I thought they were really good. It was so much fun to see the magic on the screen. Once in a while I would catch a glimpse of something that might have been inspired by something they saw in one of the books that I had drawn and that was great. I don't know if it was in there or not, but I'd like to think so! Amazon.com:
Do you have a favorite character in all the books? GrandPré:
Besides Harry, who's my favorite, obviously, I would say Hagrid because he's like my favorite people in my life. He's a lot like my dad: protective and loyal and big and sweet; and he's a lot like my dog, who's part St. Bernard and has the same qualities. I kind of have a personal connection with Hagrid. Amazon.com:
Any advice for a budding illustrator? GrandPré:
Yes, I would just say keep working hard and don't give up. Illustration, like any form of art, is up for criticism, but it has to come from the heart or it's not good. If you're not enjoying what you're doing, keep trying new things because your best work will come from work you enjoy. Constantly try to listen to your inner voice about who you are as an artist and what you do and what you know. I don't know about magic but I know that I'm moved by it--I have been since I was a little kid--and it tends to come into my work even when I'm not illustrating things of magic. Just continue to try and be relaxed and natural about how you draw. Try to bring yourself out in your work. Amazon.com:
If you could choose to live your life exactly the way you wanted to, no holds barred, what would change? GrandPré:
I'd have a lot more time to do personal work. No holds barred, I would probably paint for myself, just go nuts, experiment, be my own art director, be my own critic, experience total freedom in my artwork. I try to do that in my work now, but it's hard to do when you are problem solving and illustrating other people's visions. I'm starting to write my own picture books now, so part of that dream is coming into view for me. Mary GrandPré's Art:
See more of Mary GrandPré's art from previous Harry Potter books
Illustrations by Mary GrandPré © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003 Warner Bros.
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