Jim Kay to Pass On Illustration Baton

Jim Kay the Kate Greenaway Medal winning illustrator of the Harry Potter series is to step down after the publication of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on 11th October. This latest edition will see Jim Kay joined by guest artist Neil Packer, winner of the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2021.

“When I received a phone call back in 2013 with an offer of an illustration job, I could never have anticipated the impact it would have upon my life. I am extremely lucky to have been involved in a franchise that has meant so much to so many people across the world. After 10 years of working with Bloomsbury, it is with great sadness that I have to step down from illustrating Harry Potter. I have been struggling with mental health illness for some time, and it would be wrong to try and continue when I can no longer give the fans and the series the full commitment and energy it deserves. 

“What comforts me is the knowledge that Bloomsbury will continue working with and supporting other artists to make the remaining books both beautiful and inspiring for a new generation of young readers. I would never have travelled this far through Harry’s journey without the constant support and patience of Bloomsbury and J K Rowling. I must thank them both for giving me 10 years of happy scribbling, and for the opportunity to meet so many Potter fans from all walks of life. We’ve all found inspiration between the pages of Jo’s books; for myself, it’s that intangible moment between reading words and creating pictures that I enjoyed, and shall miss, so much.”

Jim Kay The Bookseller 07 October 2022

Our friends at The Rowling Library are collecting supportive messages to send as a gift to Jim, which you can contribute to here. The illustrated editions have given fans of the series a valuable visual cue, unconnected to the films. I can imagine they are a much loved possession for new readers, sumptuously illustrated as they are, and it is to be hoped that any new illustrators continue in Jim’s tradition.

Comments

  1. This breaks my heart, that Jim Kay has suffered, but even more that doing what he loves hasn’t eased his suffering but exacerbated it. Oh that he might find relief!

    He has filled Hogwarts with so much beauty and hidden so many delightful details in each picture that even my granddaughters (who are too young to read the stories just yet) are utterly fascinated by his art. May he be well. Godspeed Mr. Kay.

  2. His illustrated editions have become a staple in my library. I keep one of them on my coffee table at all times, and have skimmed through them for the art many times. A dream of mine is to combine all the Diagon Alley two-pagers into one huge poster to hang in my classroom. That hasn’t yet come to fruition, but I will hopefully do that soon!

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