Mary GrandPre, ’81
Mary GrandPre’s portfolio is far larger than just seven book covers. Nevertheless, the illustrator of all the American Harry Potter books is best-known for her renditions of the Boy Wizard.
GrandPre began drawing when she was five years old. She earned an undergraduate degree from Pomona College before attending MCAD. As a Fine Arts major, she gradually shaped each assignment into the unique style she calls soft geometry, featuring ethereal pastels.
Shes had plenty of advertising clients (Ogilvy & Mather, BBD&O) and multiple editorial appearances (The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Random House, Dell, and McGraw Hill). When preparing its first animated feature, Antz (1998), DreamWorks studio called on GrandPre to work on proposed landscapes. Shes designed seven other childrens books including her own, Henry and Pawl and the Round Yellow Ball, co-written with her husband, artist Tom Casmer.
Her boy-wizard work began when the art director of Scholastic Publishing invited GrandPre to submit illustrations for a British fantasy series. She offered three sketches and one was selected for the cover. Author J.K. Rowling liked her work, sequels soon followed, and eventually her illustration became a TIME magazine cover.