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.


  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!

  3. It breaks me to know he is suffering with his mental health I hope you know how much happiness and joy I’ve had since I found the books I hope you get better soon much of love from sweden 🇸🇪 ❤

  4. Joni Campbell says

    It has been such a joy for me to read the Harry Potter books for the first time accompanied with such wonderful illustrations. Thank you, Jim Kay, for helping to make this experience so enjoyable. I am retired and it is a pleasure to read the illustrated books before I sleep at night. The worries and the conflicts of the world simply melt away as I join Harry, Ron and Hermione in their magical world. It is my hope that an artist will be chosen to carry on the torch of illustrating the remainder of these wonderful books!

  5. Marilynn Hornsby says

    I was so sad to learn that Jim Kay would no longer be illustrating the Harry Potter series. The incredible beauty of his work had me looking forward to, and collecting each new book, with the same feeling as that of the originals. His portraits of the main characters are luminous in their beauty; I particularly loved the illustration of Harry and Prof. Dumbledore at the end of book 5. It so perfectly captures the love and grief and despair of that moment in the office. It’s been a blessing to experience Jim Kay’s work, and I hope and pray for his return to health.

  6. These books are quite pricy to not be able to complete the set. I wish Mr. Kay well but I wouldn’t have begun this collection knowing it couldn’t be finished. I’ve quite enjoyed them but I suppose the first five can be sold and I’ll seek an alternative publishing to get a full matching set to pass down.

  7. Linda Lanier says

    I am so sad that Jim Kay won’t be able to complete the illustrated books six and seven. Jim, your artwork is beautiful and helps the books come to life.
    I hope your health issues improve. I wish you all the best.

  8. Nigel Plumley says

    Jim,even if you had illustrated only one book,it would be a treasure. You have given us five,truly beautiful and amazing creations. Thank you. Please take this time to heal and reflect, especially on the incredible gift you have given us.

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