Harry Potter

Clare Melinsky’s book cover illustrations are magical – and that’s official. For ten months in 2009 the illustrator worked on a complete set of new covers for the seven Harry Potter novels. And in the best tradition of J K Rowling’s wizarding school, it had to be a complete secret while the work was going on.

“I was asked by the publishers, Bloomsbury, to do three sample covers while they were considering other options ” Clare explains. “Then, when they had decided that my style was what they wanted, I had to start again and complete all seven book covers. And seven back covers as well. The hardest part was that I had to cover up what was on my desk so even my friends didn’t know what I was working on.” Harry Potter’s readers know what happens when you tell stories you shouldn’t. Like journalist Rita Skeeter you might be liable to end up as a small green beetle…

Clare has worked as an illustrator for thirty years. Her work is seen on packaging and in magazines and newspapers. She has designed a set of special issue stamps for the Royal Mail in 1997, and more recently she’s created cover illustrations for all 39 of Shakespeare’s plays for Penguin Books. But she admits Harry Potter is the most high-profile job she’s ever done. “It was an extremely exciting commission, and it gets me a lot of admiration from my younger friends and neighbours.”

The ‘signature’ edition has Harry Potter’s signature as the title, and Clare’s cover pictures below. The designs were unveiled by Bloomsbury in March 2010, and the books were on sale worldwide. All the covers were approved by JK Rowling herself.

There are no prints available for sale: you have to buy the books!

A interview with Clare about her work can be seen on STV.