Andrew Davidson has produced a beautifully detailed set of hand engraved illustrations for the cover of adult editions of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels.
Davidson was commissioned by Bloomsbury, who will publish the series and Webb & Webb, who are designing the covers.
The illustrations were created by printing hand crafted wood engravings made on nine by seven-inch English boxwood onto Japanese paper, “which seemed to create the perfect effect,” says Davidson.
“I wanted them to look as if they had come straight from the pages of a book taken from the library at Hogwarts [the boarding school for wizard’s where the books are set].”
The finished book covers will look something like this, and will be on sale in September.
The project took around two and a half months to complete, and each of Davidson’s illustrations represents a key scene, character or setting from that novel: designs for early books in the series feature the Hogwarts Express train and Gothic castle, while later covers have a darker feel and feature ghouls, skulls and serpents.
“Each image aims to capture the spirit and setting of each book – as the stories become darker, so do the engravings. There are also hidden clues in each of the illustrations to look out for…” he adds.
“The brief was to create a set of covers that would stand out on the shelves of any shop and to make the author’s name a key focus, which is why we’ve used large type and bold colours,” explains Webb&Webb director James Webb, who designed the covers before commissioning Davidson’s illustrations.
“We wanted to steer clear of using photographs of the characters, or the black and white imagery used on a lot of teen fiction, so we presented the idea of using Andrew’s illustrations to Bloomsbury. We had originally approached Andrew to work on a set of Harry Potter covers three years ago, and are working on another project with him now for Royal Mail,” he adds.
Webb&Webb have worked on the project since August. “We had to devise around 100 variations before we settled on a set that would meet sales, marketing and design needs – it’s always a tricky process,” says Webb.