The release of the Vietnamese edition of the book, which serves as a visual encyclopedia of the wizarding world, alongside translations in more than 30 other languages early last month has elicited great excitement among Harry Potter fans, particularly those in Vietnam.
Phuc is the only Vietnamese artist who participated in this large-scale book project. His responsibilities included illustrating the book cover as well as 16 double-page spreads.
Being born into a disadvantaged family, Phuc couldn’t afford ready-made toys as a child, as they were too expensive. As a result, he learned how to create handmade toys of various shapes using paper and medicine boxes.
Upon completing college with a degree in graphic design, he became a graphic designer and event organizer, but his passion for drawing remained unabated.
One day, he came across picture books beautifully illustrated by foreign artists, including Black Dog by Levi Pinfold.
“The work of Levi Pinfold, particularly Black Dog, left a deep impression on me. He eventually became my idol and inspired me to pursue illustration work,” Phuc reminisced.
“His artwork helped me realize that being a children’s book illustrator would be an amazing endeavor.”
Subsequently, Phuc took it upon himself to educate and develop his illustration skills. In 2012, he began working as an illustration coordinator at Kim Dong Publishing House in Hanoi, where he met artist and editor Khoa Le. Under Khoa Le’s guidance, Phuc was able to realize his potential and identify his unique drawing style.
|Illustrator Pham Quang Phuc signs his autograph on the Vietnamese edition of ‘The Harry Potter Wizarding Almanac.’ Photo: Ho Lam / Tuoi Tre|
Phuc’s picture book titled Bữa tiệc của Vua Mèo (The Party of Cats’ King) earned him fourth place at a story-writing and illustrating contest held in Denmark in 2015.
Three years later, he proudly received the ASEAN Children’s Book Illustrator Best in Fiction award at the 2018 ASEAN Illustration Awards.
One day, Phuc received an email inviting him to join a secret book project from Bloomsbury, the publisher. After signing a confidential contract, he was informed that the project involved illustrating ‘The Harry Potter Wizarding Almanac.’
This news brought Phuc immense joy, as he was a fan of the Harry Potter series in his childhood.
In preparation for the project, he revisited all the Harry Potter books and movies that he used to love as a child.
As part of a test for the project, he was asked to create a spread titled ‘Dragons’ in the companion book. He spent around four months refining the spread more than 10 times before ultimately becoming the sole Vietnamese illustrator to participate in this extensive Harry Potter book project.
For a young illustrator like Phuc, it is a dream come true.
His happiness is further amplified by the fact that he is now able to illustrate the same book as his idol, Levi Pinfold.
Phuc shares that he takes great pride in the achievements he has attained after a decade of persevering to keep his passion for illustration alive.
Being involved in this project is a significant milestone and a source of motivation for his future career, he affirms.
Senior artists in the field have expressed how Phuc’s drawing style impresses them, particularly in terms of the characters and the stories they tell. Phuc has a strong penchant for drawing dragons, monsters, magic, and fantasy worlds.
“Phuc has impressed me with his professional attitude towards his work,” commented Khoa Le, an artist and editor at Kim Dong Publishing House.
“Despite encountering difficulties at times, he always manages to find a way out.”