Jim Kay Talks About Illustrating Diagon Alley

Jim Kay, illustrator of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition, talks about the joy he took in creating Diagon Alley for the book.

The new Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition was released this week with Jim Kay’s fantastic color illustrations. Kay will be illustrating the entire series. He spoke to Pottermore about one of his favorite subjects in the book, Diagon Alley.

“I think the most fun I’ve had though is working on Diagon Alley because that’s your chance to sort of let rip really and just do things that aren’t mentioned in the book and there are little things that keep me interested”

Kay skillfully incorporates tidbits he reads about into his artwork. For Diagon Alley he remembered information about old ailments in the 19th century, specifically trismus, the old term used for lockjaw. With exceptionally creativity mind, this factoid was turned into a shop with teeth-like awnings named Mr. Trismus: Mouth Magician Toothmonger.

Another shop named Caput Mortuum, meaning “dead head,” sells skeletons and bones. He happened to have a tube of paint with a similar name, a “nice, dirty color.” It was used for painting the shop and others in Diagon Alley. All these “little jokes” come together for amazing illustrations for readers and a personal reminder for Kay of what he was reading then.

While the actual copy of the book isn’t animated, his work really brings J.K. Rowling’s words to life as colorful works of art. I think we can all agree with her statement that “I love seeing Jim Kay’s interpretation of Harry Potter’s world, and I feel honoured and grateful that he continues to lend his talent to it.”

These illustrated editions are well worth the price and will be treasured by fans for decades to come. UK readers can order a copy from Bloomsbury here and US readers can order a copy from Scholastic here.