GrandPré posing in 2011 in front of her artwork
|Born||South Dakota, United States|
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
|Known for||Illustration, Writing|
|Notable work(s)||Harry Potter novel series (American editions), Pockets (picture book)|
Mary GrandPré is an American illustrator and writer, best known for her cover and chapter illustrations for the American editions of the Harry Potter books, published by Scholastic. As of 2007, GrandPré, who creates her artwork with paint and pastels, has illustrated more than twenty books and has appeared in gallery exhibitions and periodicals such as The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and The Wall Street Journal.
Mary GrandPré was born in South Dakota, but spent most of her life in Minnesota. She began drawing when she was only five years old, beginning with a reproduction of Mickey Mouse. By age ten, she was imitating Salvador Dalí, experimenting with stretched objects painted with oils, before graduating to copying black-and-white photos from the encyclopedia. After receiving an undergraduate degree at Pomona College, GrandPré earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
After her graduation, GrandPré spent several years as a waitress while working to be noticed by ad agencies and attempting to find her own style. Her drawing evolved into what she calls "soft geometry," featuring pastels used in a "colorful, light-hearted, and whimsical" manner. Her work is created completely by hand, without using a computer.
Mary GrandPré has created images for advertising and magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Wall Street Journal. Among her other famous works, she was commissioned to illustrate the official poster for the 2005 Minnesota State Fair. A DreamWorks executive who enjoyed her work called to invite her to participate as an illustrator for their movie Antz, for which GrandPré was involved with creating some of the landscapes. She has also participated in character development for another animated film. She has taught at The Ringling School of Art and Design.
Harry Potter series
GrandPré has illustrated all of the American editions of the Harry Potter novels. She was one of the few people who were able to read the Harry Potter books before they were released to the general public. When she received each new book, she read the story through once, highlighting descriptions that she felt would do well as an illustration. She then created various sketches as ideas for the cover and chapter art, before sending her favorites to the editors to decide which should appear in the final publication. GrandPré devises her images after reading the scripts for the books, and does not collaborate with or receive input from J.K. Rowling, although the two have met. Her artwork for the final novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was created using pastels on toned printmaking paper.
Other children's books
In addition to the Harry Potter series, she has illustrated picture books including Pockets, Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat, Vegetables Go to Bed, The Thread of Life, Swing Around the Sun, The Sea Chest, and Sweep Dreams. She also illustrated Plum, and Henry and Pawl and the Round Yellow Ball, which was co-written by her husband, Tom Casmer.
GrandPré's work with the Harry Potter books has been featured on the cover of Time magazine. Her work, chosen from thousands of illustrators, has also been featured on the cover of Showcase 16. She has received awards from The Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Graphis, Print, and Art Direction, and has been profiled in Step-by-Step Graphics and Communications Arts Magazine. GrandPré has also been featured in the book How Jane Won, which examines fifty women who have been successful in their chosen career and in their personal lives.
In 2006 GrandPré began creating art for herself instead of for an assignment. She has donated several pieces to The Wellness Community of Southwest Florida, a non-profit organization providing support for people with cancer. She has also contributed to her local Habitat for Humanity charity by donating pieces and books, as well.
The Harry Potter series
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, 1998); Anniversary Edition (Scholastic, 2008)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, 1999)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, 1999)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, 2000)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling, (Scholastic, 2003)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, 2005)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, 2007)
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, 2008)
- The box of the special edition of Quidditch and Fantastic Beasts (Scholastic, 2005)
- Swing Around the Sun, poems by Barbara Juster Esbensen (the Fall season; Lerner Publishing Group, 2002)
- Plum, poetry by Tony Mitton (Scholastic, 2003)
- The Vegetables Go to Bed, by Christopher L. King (Crown, 1994)
- Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat, by Jennifer Armstrong (Dragonfly Books, 1996)
- Pockets, by Jennifer Armstrong (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1998)
- The House of Wisdom, by Florence Parry Heide and J. Heide Gilliland (DK Children, 1999)
- The Sea Chest, by Toni Buzzeo (Dial, 2002)
- The Thread of Life: Twelve Old Italian Tales , by Domenico Vittorini (Running Press Kids; New Ed edition, 2003)
- Sweep Dreams, by Nancy Willard (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2005)
- Lucia and the Light, by Phyllis Root (Candlewick Press, 2006)
- Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair, by Deborah Blumenthal (Pelican, 2007)
- Henry and Pawl and the Round Yellow Ball, co-written with her husband, Tom Casmer (Dial, 2005)
- Jarvis, John (1999). "Mary GrandPré". Communication Arts. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "Alumni Careers: Mary GrandPre, ‘81". Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
- "Illustrator puts a bit of herself on Potter cover: GrandPré feels pressure to create something special with each book". MSNBC. March 8, 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "Recent Print Projects: Minnesota State Fair". Husom & Rose Fine Art Giclee Print Studio. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; American edition; Arthur A. Levine Books; 2007; Final credits page
- "Mary GrandPré". Arthur A. Levine Books. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "Amazon.com Editorial Review for How Jane Won". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- "The Inner Embrace of Mary GrandPré". The Wellness Community. December 19, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
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