From Diagon Alley to Graphic Designer

Happy Halloween

From Diagon Alley to Graphic Designer

When I was 11, I was the first to run to the mailbox every day hoping to receive a coveted Hogwarts letter.

Harry Potter was one of the first books where I became completely obsessed with the plot, characters, and endless possibilities of this magical world. My imagination ran wild, picturing all the tiny details that J.K. Rowling brought to life on paper. I’ve read the entire series at least a half-dozen times since then, and I pick up on something new each time. It stirs my imagination every time I pick it up and has helped me to keep my imagination into adulthood. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this series is the reason I became an artist.

Imagination

The Harry Potter series created its own universe in my mind — an endless source of inspiration for drawings, paintings, typography, etc. There was one part that I spent most of my time drawing. It was from The Goblet of Fire (my favorite book) when they are visiting the Quidditch World Cup. I would draw how they arrived via portkey, the arena, the player’s outfits, the action scenes, the decorations, everything.

Weasley's Wizard Wheezes

Visiting Weasley’s in Diagon Alley

I wanted to take the world I saw in the book and bring it to reality. And the books were just the beginning. When the film came out — I went nuts. For the next two weeks, I would replay the movie in my head, comparing some of the things that I had pictured and how the movie portrayed them. The actors were perfect and the sets were mind-blowing. And don’t even get me started on the graphics and special effects.

One of my favorite scenes was in Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Fred and George’s joke shop in Diagon Alley. I was smitten. When I visited Harry Potter World in Universal Studios a few years ago, I teared up a bit as I walked through the brick wall into Diagon Alley. It was beyond magical that I could walk into Weasley’s and touch the objects I’d imagined and seen on film.

 

Diagon Alley poster by Dream Machine Prints

Diagon Alley poster by Dream Machine Prints

Inspiration

It may sound a little geeky, but the world of Harry Potter absolutely contributed to the person, and the designer, that I am today.

I started off illustrating with colored pencils and pens. I really enjoy drawing landscapes and buildings, like this poster from Dream Machine Prints. I would spend hours perfecting the details. If I did draw characters they were usually facing away or faceless – I enjoyed drawing the character’s outfits or accessories and their surroundings but I just couldn’t bring myself to ever give them a face.

 

 

Cover artwork by Olly Moss

As I developed my artistic skill I started to bring my illustrations into digital. I started out with designs that had depth, like the book jackets designed for the series by Olly Moss. Gradually, I moved toward a flatter approach, like the Halloween gif above.

Today I try to incorporate both styles into my design. I begin each project with a sketch and decide how much detail is going into the illustration.

Even though I’m still waiting for that Hogwarts letter, I’m just as big of a Harry Potter fan today (Ravenclaw, if you were wondering) as I was at 11. I cannot wait to pass down the world of Harry Potter to my children.

 

Betsy Cook

Betsy’s caffeine-fueled inspiration produces industrial-strength work worthy of our clients. She meets the constant challenge of maintaining and enhancing B2B brands head-on with vibrant, engaging design. Her talents in illustration, video and infographics are what allow our clients to stand out in today’s oversaturated media landscape. She believes the key to effective design starts with listening—letting the needs of our clients spark her imagination and going from there. And she’s a true collaborator, versatile enough to lead or follow, making her an undeniable asset to our team.

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