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New Artist: Keith Johnson

We’d like to introduce you to our newest artist- Keith Johnson! Keith is undertaking an ambitious project to create cover art and chapter illustrations for all of the Harry Potter novels. He is currently working on the final chapters of Philosopher’s Stone and has offered to share his work with us.
I’ve added his chapter illustrations to the Reader’s Guide pages for PS chapters 1 through 9 which you can find here: PS: A Reader’s Guide
and you can read more about him and his project plans on his artist’s Biography and Mini-portfolio page. Thank you Keith for sharing your fantastic artwork with us, and welcome to the Lexicon!

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  • hamburglar

    Nice work, but I can’t help but feel that if the books had been published with colour pictures (or any pictures at all really) over here (in Britain), they would never have appealed to the age groups that they did. Certainly, I wouldn’t have read them, or admitted to reading them, at the age of 12.

  • del

    I dunno hamburglar, I read the Hobbit at 11 and it has colour illustrations by the author, they didn’t put me off.

    I think Mr J’s chapter art is excellent. I prefer his realism to some of Mary Grandpre’s oblique imagery.

  • Poke

    Very nice art work.

  • Reader2

    I believe JKR admitted that the books have no color pictures because she didn’t want people to think that they are just for kids.
    May be now that tons of people way over 12 read and liked them, new editions with pictures will come out.

  • Sandra

    Great drawings, Keith! I hope you will get illustration jobs soon!!!

  • dinah

    nice work

  • Kez

    I think these illustrations are really good! The attention to detail is really commendable and I feel they capture the spitit of the writing, too. No illustration or *cough* film will replace my own mages, but it’s always nice to see close approximations that might give yo a little something extra as well. Nice one Keith!

  • http://eeyoresreflections.blogspot.com Eeyore

    Get paintings, Keith. I love your work. I also love it that each character is recognizable because they look like their description in the books. We are so used to the actors as the characters, that it’s easy to get away from their canon descriptions.

    I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  • Bandersnatch

    Agreed, it’s terrific how Keith’s characters look like how the book describes them. In the Chapter 9 painting, I was able to identify most of the students easily. (Although I appreciated the little name tags on their robes that you can see in the hi-res versions!)

    I notice that the Chapter 9 picture features the two unknown Gryffindor girls in Harry’s year — nicely done.

  • John

    Really nice work! I especially like how you drew Hagrid.

  • http://www.encyclopedie-hp.org Quentin

    Just amazing! And so canon! Hermione with her teeth, Hagrid big enough, Snape with his goatee, Fang as a boarhound. Great work!!

  • Marco

    Harry seemed to be too small in the pic in chapter 5 compared with Ollivander, as seems Neville in chapter 6 compared with the compartment door.

    Harry was described as unusually small, but however, the avarage height of a 11 yo boy is approx. 4ft.10´´, and Harry might have been perhaps 4 inches smaller, but surely not half the height of a normal sized adult man.

    Neville was not described as unusually small, und so he should have been much taller as half the height of a compartment door at the age of 11.

  • Bandersnatch

    I assume that’s just the author’s style, Marco. All of the children are drawn in that sort of “squashed” way compared to the adults, it’s just you only really notice it in the pictures you mentioned. It’s a sort of “cartoon-y” style, I think. It also (for some reason that I can’t quite pin down) reminds me of the famous Tenniel drawings that accompany the “Alice in Wonderland” books.

  • kamion

    What I like about his work is that he seems to establish a new image-canon on HP. One that breaks away with the influence of the movie-images that set the parameters for many fan artists.

    His images are certainly much more fantastic and enjoyable then the first Bloomsbury covers.
    Watching the last ( the Midnght Dual ) it is a joy to see how much energy is injected into every individual character and how through they are to the canon.

    There is only one backdrop:
    It will take a awfull lot of time to do all chapters of all seven books.

  • Bandersnatch

    Yes, especially in the Ch. 9 image. Something about the heads being a bit larger compared to the bodies than they would be in real life. And the fact that they’re all standing out on a green lawn. All they need are flamingo croquet mallets instead of broomsticks, playing card wickets, and a hedgehog!

    I think it’s terrific.

  • Bandersnatch

    Heh, my previous comment was meant as a follow-up to the one before that, but kamion slipped in between me, myself, and I.

  • http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/sources/jkr.com/jkr-com.html Belinda

    I too appreciate Keith’s focus on canon. Isn’t it cool?
    You’re right, oh frumious Bandersnatch! I can picture the flamingos and the the Queen of Hearts. And can’t imagine why you’d be reminded of that ;) Long live the Jabberwocky.
    Speaking of the Chap 9 image, the first thing I saw was a slight resemblance to Beavis and Butthead in Draco and Crabbe. teehee

  • mike

    Nice artwork, I particularly like the slightly darker ones – the snake (chapter 2) and the Snape/potions class are both fantastic – though some of the other ones are a little too cartoony for my taste.

  • Reader2

    It looks like the picture for chapter 9 got the most attention. Is it by any chance because Keith drew up all the Griffindores and Slytherins in Harry’s year for us?
    The picture for chapter 8 is equally interesting, because all the same characters can be clearly seen.
    I am sure surprised to see that he pictured Theodore Nott as a blonde with an earing and a grin even more evil than Malfoy’s.
    Keith, like everyone, seems to believe that Lvander is blonde. Bevare, the movie disagrees with you.
    The fact that they all have big heads is quite very amusing, does in fact create a connection with Beavis and Butthead.
    Why not? The book does address teenage problems.

  • Bandersnatch

    That’s so weird, I thought for sure the books described Lavender as a blonde. But I can’t find a reference to it on the Lexicon, so I guess I, too, was influenced by the fan-art.

    I assume Reader2 was being snarky (I like Snarks) when talking about conflicting with the movie’s image, since WB’s idea of Lavender’s hair is no more or less correct than Keith’s or anyone else’s.

  • Reader2

    Yeah that’s me, Mr. Snarky.
    I enjoy trashing the inconsistencies in the movie as much as anyone else, but I advice against disregarding the movie completely.
    JKR did have a say in what characters look like. She even makes a remark about it on her site, when shigives out extra info about Dean.
    Don’t get me wrong, Keith’s waor is still excelent, and it’s not Lavander was an important part of the drawings.
    If the publick image of Lavander ever changes, we can allways pretend like it’s not her in the picture. If Griffindor can have two invisible girls in it, why not three?

  • Mrs. prongs

    i love those drawings my favorite is the potions one! i really love hermione in that painting!

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