Mary GrandPré

Mary GrandPre
Mary GrandPré is another of those illustrators whose work you have undoubtedly seen, even if you don’t know her name.

GrandPré is best known as the illustrator for the U.S. editions of the Harry Potter books; which was just another assignment at first, as the books were not yet the phenomenon they would become; an assignment her contact with the publisher had to talk her into fitting into her schedule.

She has brought her love of pastels and her “soft geometry” to numerous other projects, both editorial and commercial, including clients like Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Random House, Berkely, Penguin, Dell and Mcgraw Hill. She also worked on the Dreamworks film Antz as an environment and scenery visual development artist.

She studied at Pamona College and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and has taught at the Ringling School of Art and Design wheer her husband is also a teacher. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators and featured in Communications Arts, Graphis, Print and Art Direction.

Her web site includes a short bio, as well as galleries of her work for picture books and for editorial and commercial clients. I can’t give you direct links because the site is in frames. I’ve taken the liberty of compositing two unrelated images together in the image sabove to reproduce them a little larger.

GrandPré infuses much of her work with a sort of warm cubism, breaking her whimsical forms into additional planes with edges of color and texture, playfully subdividing her compositions into both angular and curvilinear shapes.

She also uses strong value contrasts, with even her dark tones enriched by the strong, saturated colors often characteristic of pastel. Unfortunately the images on her site are a little small to get a feeling for the textural element of her work, but then, you probably have a book on your shelf with some of her illustrations.

3 Replies to “Mary GrandPré”

  1. I’ve known and admired Mary’s work for ages now. One of my favorite early books of hers is Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat, written by Jennifer Armstrong, which is well worth hunting down if you can find it (my copy has survived more than a decade’s worth of shelf-culling). For all of its luscious color, the art in the book is not afraid of powerful emotion. A beautiful story, beautifully brought to life.

  2. Illustrators are as important as the text, and half the magic of Harry Potter are the perfect images grandpre conjures. That she read the books is o vious from her imaginative response to them. None of the spin offs match her largely because of the lifeless pictures. Thank you!

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