Jim Kay

New 'Harry Potter' Artist Sounds Totally Freaked Out

"It's like a spell that jumps from person to person, recasting itself as it goes. I want to keep that spell going."

When news arrived yesterday (January 15) that there would be a brand new illustrated edition of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" hitting shelves in October, we were intrigued. The four "Potter"-centric pieces we saw from artist Jim Kay piqued our interest, and this new interview with Kay from Scholastic has cemented it.

It would seem that Kay, a U.K.-based illustrator, realizes the overwhelmingly huge task -- and the excitement and risk that comes with it -- ahead of him. One might even say that he's about to embark on a magical adventure of sorts.

Jim Kay

"Hearing the news that I'd got the commission was an explosion of delight, followed instantly by an implosion of brain-freezing terror," Kay said. "I am also mindful of the huge responsibility this represents, I just want to make sure I do the best job I possibly can."

Additionally, it sounds like Kay is going to be a natural for drawing Portkeys, considering the sources he draws the most inspiration from.

"Museums and libraries are my favorite places for inspiration," he said. "You might see something, it could be a medieval shoe, an old clock, or a stuffed monkey and immediately it gives you ideas about the characters in the story, the things they would do, the way they walk. The tricky thing I've found is my annoying habit of reigning in the more fantastical elements of my sketches when working them up, it's taken a while for it to sink in that for this commission I can go a little bit crazy. Above my desk, the words 'It's Fantasy, Stupid" are now a daily reminder to have a bit of fun."

Jim Kay

He also showed a proper respect for "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, and understands that he won't be the last to professionally draw Harry and Co.

"It's amazing to think, all of Potter's world, the streets, the shops, the creatures, the characters, all of these wonderful things come from the brain of one person," he said. "To me, that's magic, some grey matter in someone’s head inspires others to read, play, and create ideas of their own. It's like a spell that jumps from person to person, recasting itself as it goes. I want to keep that spell going, perhaps adding my own little twist, if possible. I hope over the years we will see lots of different illustrators having a go, in the way that 'Alice in Wonderland' has inspired artists for over a century."

Jim Kay

He even seems to have a little bit of Dumbledore spirit in him, if this final aphorism is anything to go by:

"If something's not a little bit frightening, then it's probably not worth doing."

Kay's edition of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" will hit shelves in October.