Harry Potter illustrator was "terrified" at the prospect of new series of books, he reveals on his visit to the University of Northampton

Jim Kay
Jim Kay

A Northamptonshire-born Harry Potter illustrator described as a genius by JK Rowling says he was "terrified" and "didn't sleep for perhaps six months".

Born and bred in Northamptonshire, Jim Kay was personally selected by JK Rowling herself to illustrate the new editions of the Harry Potter series.

Now that he has made his mark, he came to the university to share a few pearls of wisdom.

“There are far better draughtsmen than me," Kay said, "But it’s all about perseverance and sticking power."

He spent the day signing the new series of books and giving advice to budding illustrators.

“Early on in my career there were loads of failures and they made me really push hard." he said.

“Don’t be put off by criticism, just build on it and learn from it. It smarts at the time, but retrospectively that’s often the kick up the backside you need.”

After describing the Harry Potter illustrating opportunity as "terrifying" he went on to say: "You don't want to make a mess of the world's most popular children's book, and that never really left me.

"In fact, every time there’s a book release I’m still terrified, still nervous, but that keeps me going, you’ve got to keep on your toes.”

JK Rowling described Kay as: “modesty itself, completely unaware that he's a genius”

But it seems that Kay is just pleased he was chosen. "So far she likes it, and I couldn't ask for more than that.

“The one person you want to please, as an illustrator, is the author,” said Jim. “So far I’ve had some amazing letters from Jo, really lovely letters, and she writes beautifully, as you’d imagine."

To watch the full video interview from the University of Northampton's press office, follow this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt3ME-fW2Ko&feature=youtu.be

Or to find out more about the new series of illustrated Harry Potter books, check out this Bloomsbury link: https://harrypotter.bloomsbury.com/uk/bookshop/illustrated-editions/