Ahead of the publication of The Harry Potter Wizarding Almanac, The Rowling Library has taken the opportunity to publish an interview with one of the illustrators who brought this companion title to life.
Peter Goes is a freelance artist and picture book illustrator, living in Belgium. He has also worked as a stage manager and studied animation at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent. Peter combines playful witches, wizards and magical creatures with an incredibly rich level of intricacy. In the Wizarding Almanac, readers can pore over his spectacular vision of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, the hushed wonder of the Marauder’s Map and the shelves of the Hogwarts library.
Why did you choose to take part in this project and what about it is most exciting for you?
In the first place because I got the question and I thought it was an honour to be allowed to draw this magical world. It was also something I had never done before and as Pippi Longstocking puts it so beautifully: ‘I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that’. But in my case cautiously and with careful steps!
What are your memories of first reading the Harry Potter stories?
My daughter was the right age and was a huge fan when the first book was so successfully published. I had the pleasure to read all the Harry Potter books to my children.
Who are your favourite Harry Potter characters?
The Weasley family.
How did you become an illustrator? Have any other artists or illustrators particularly inspired you and your journey?
Every child likes to draw and I don’t think I’ve ever grown up enough to unlearn it. I like to look at other artists’ work and there was and is so much fantastic drawing talent to be seen through our ever-expanding internet window.
I also have a large collection of published art and sketchbooks. I like to learn and I hope something seeps in of what I see and makes me a better designer.
How did you approach illustrating your sections of the book? Was illustrating the wizarding world difficult?
Making a drawing is never easy for me, it is always a quest with new challenges. I don’t think I would enjoy it if it were easy.
Bloomsbury have already shared your stunning Unguided Tour of Hogwarts to readers worldwide as a preview for the publication in October 2023. Please could you tell us a little bit about the making of this piece of artwork?
Someone on the Bloomsbury team has carefully searched this puzzle of information from all the books. It was up to me to make a readable drawing of this puzzle. The amount of information and easter eggs in this drawing is amazing and I love nothing more than drawing complicated drawings where there is always something new to discover. It is the perfect match!
Aside from the Unguided Tour, what was your favourite spread to illustrate, and why?
I had never drawn a gatefold spread before, so maybe the foldable map of Hogwarts was my favourite spread or maybe Diagon Alley, or the library, or the Defence Against the Dark Arts, or…
You see, every spread is a bit like a child, you don’t suppose to have favourites.
What is your Hogwarts house?
I did the online test and the digital sorting hat told me that I’m a Ravenclaw but I think that at the first opportunity I would go to the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary and study there.