Mary GrandPré has been drawing since she was 5 years old. As a child, she sketched Disney characters, then moved on to drawing the world around her.
"That's what I tell kids to do," GrandPré said. "I tell them to draw what's around them, and keep little notebooks and sketches. Draw whatever you see. It doesn't have to be anything big or beautiful."
Now, GrandPré uses her artistic talents to transform the images of Harry Potter from words to pictures. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, Tom Casmer, and dog, Chopper. The dog is part Saint Bernard, shepherd, and Lab.
"He's kind of like Hagrid, in that he's a mix of all the giant breeds," she said.
Her career as an illustrator for children's books began with Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat, published by Random House. When Scholastic's David Saylor saw that book, he knew she was the one for Harry Potter. Now her career is focused on children's books.
"David Saylor and I were looking for the right illustrator, and we went through lots of samples and books," said Arthur Levine, U.S. publisher and editor of the Potter series. "We were pulling everything down off the shelves looking for the right magical quality. I remember pulling out Mary's sample and David and I looked at each other and knew she was exactly the right person. And we were right—what a great call!"
GrandPré has also worked on movies. For Antz she illustrated the above ground scenes from a bug's point of view. She and her husband are currently working on a children's book of their own.