Harry Potter and the missing sketches: JK. Rowling’s first drawings of a boy wizard

JK Rowling didn’t simply write Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; she also made pictures to bring the characters to life. The author’s original illustrations were not included when the book was first published. Still, they will now appear alongside her story for the first time when the book is reissued to commemorate its 25th anniversary. In one image, Rubeus Hagrid, Professor Albus Dumbledore, and Professor Minerva McGonagall are huddled together in a moonlit Privet Drive. At the same time, Diagon Alley is seen in a small sequence of five sketches. All reveal Rowling’s early feelings for characters that are now known to youngsters worldwide as the stars of a series that has sold over 500 million copies and been translated into more than 80 languages.

The book will be reprinted next month as part of the book’s silver anniversary festivities, complete with Rowling’s early 1990s sketches and the famous cover made by a debut designer, Thomas Taylor, in 1996.

“I’m frequently asked if the strain of creating the cover work for the first edition paralyzed me,” Taylor, 48, adds. “However, it’s difficult to envision a time when no one had heard of Harry Potter.” In 1996, I was a recently graduated art student looking for my first break in the drawing.”
Creating artwork for a new children’s book about a schoolboy wizard sounded like a decent warm-up task for a promising young illustrator. After twenty-five years, Taylor’s cover has become one of the most recognizable images in world literature.


The new hardback will be available for a year and explain a mystery that has long perplexed even the most devoted fans. Taylor was asked to provide an additional image of a wizard for the back cover when he was commissioned at 23. When he was stuck for ideas, he drew a study of his own “magical” father, Robert, who wore a conical hat and smoked a huge pipe. “‘Who is that?’ inquired the readers.

He writes, “It’s not Dumbledore, it’s not Quirrell, not Snape.” The pressure to answer the problem swiftly mounted, with enthusiasts offering competing theories. “Was there something hidden here?” Was this a foreshadowing of something to come in later books? What was in the pocket of the mysterious wizard’s coat?”

Taylor recalls that the inquiries kept coming. “A trickle of messages and emails to Bloomsbury became a torrent, and I had eventually asked to replace my father with a painting of Albus Dumbledore,” says the author. In an interview with the Observer, Taylor also answered another vexing fan question: what caused the strange form in the wizard’s deep coat pocket. He said, “I thought it may be a hedgehog.” “It could be just what he’s looking for.” But I had no intention of it growing into a massive phenomenon that would follow me throughout my life. You anticipate utterly forgotten about your first job.”

Taylor’s father passed away in 2020, and the original sketch had auctioned off after the film has released. “I assumed that film stills will eventually replace all previous imagery,” he stated. “I’m not sure who now owns it.”
A flawless first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold for £69,000 at auction in March. In 1997, there had  500 copies printed, with roughly 300 going to libraries and schools and the rest to bookstores. They had distinguished by critical typographical errors, such as the appearance of a wand twice on the list of things required for learners at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on page 53.

Taylor did not buy the first edition, but he knows what adjustments. He would make as he looked back with pride at the cover illustration. which shows “The Boy Who Lived” with his lightning-bolt scar next to the Hogwarts Express. On Platform Nine and Three-Quarters with his lightning-bolt fault. Cover of a book with an artwork of an astonished young guy wearing glasses. And a red and yellow scarf standing in front of a steam engine with a headboard reading “Hogwarts Express.”Next month marks the 25th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. He said, “I would do things differently now.”

“Harry was going to board the train at King’s Cross. So I figured he had dressed casually.” Now I’d place him in a new situation. There was also the possibility that too much of the station is visible.”

Taylor is now a well-known children’s novelist with his series of novels. The Eerie-on-Sea Mysteries, optioned for cinema, admires Rowling’s graphics in this version. Initially seen on the fan website Pottermore six years ago. He remarked, “I love her artwork.”

“I love it when a writer draws their illustrations, and these are particularly delightful. They should be in all the texts.”

The editor who rescued Rowling’s novel from a pile of unsolicited submissions from aspiring writers. Taylor received his break after leaving a portfolio with sample images of wizards and dragons in Bloomsbury’s headquarters. Barry Cunningham called him at his children’s boutique. He requested him to paint Harry approaching the Hogwarts Express. ‘Success never feels the way you expect it will,’ JK Rowling says of meeting Lauren Laverne.

“There was some back-and-forth about portraying Harry approaching the train from the front. While not exposing the back of his head to the viewer,” he recalls. “And then I have given a printed manuscript to peruse on my train journey, Home.”

Taylor was one of the first people to read the book as a result. Bloomsbury Children’s Books will release the anniversary hardcover on June 9th.

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