The Harry Potter series of novels have been given a shiny new re-release in the Uk, with publisher Bloomsbury choosing artist Jonny Duddle’s designs to grace the covers.
Four artists were approached by Bloomsbury, with Duddle landing the job after writer J.K. Rowling discovered and liked a character he created, from a ten-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean game. In the years since, Duddle’s been working on his own series of books, including The Pirates Next Door.
But not everyone is happy. As each of his new covers are revealed, Duddle receives a a constant stream of abuse on Twitter, but he has a very interesting response to any criticism for his artwork. “All I can really do, as an artist, is draw my vision of that scene,” Duddle says. But he didn’t have complete free reign, his covers were shaped by feedback from Braithwaite, Rowling’s agent Neil Blair and Rowling herself. For each rough copy he produced, Duddle would have a number of changes and revisions suggested, with the artist never sure which of them came from Rowling herself.
Duddle’s covers have been launched online, where Potter’s enormous fan base is active and make their voices heard. He knows when Bloomsbury have released a new cover because his usually quiet Twitter account goes into overdrive as fans give their verdicts.
Usually the biggest complaint he receives is that Harry looks too young, especially on the cover for the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. “He’s only meant to be 17, and he’s always described as being quite slight. Ron is meant to be tall and skinny. The problem is in the film Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint are grown men by that point, and they’ve been working out.”