City girl’s art stars in Rowling’s new book

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    Invercargill 12-year-old Sophie Mills shows her illustration of Lord Flapoon in the book The Ickabog.

    AN Invercargill youngster is one of a handful around the world picked to illustrate Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s latest book, The Ickabog.

    While Rowling wrote the book more than 10 years ago for her own children, she released it for free online, chapter by chapter, earlier this year while children around the world were in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    She then invited children to illustrate it.

    Invercargill’s Sophie Mills was selected as one of the 34 winning children out of more than 18,000 submissions.

    Entrants were aged between 7 and 12 from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and India.

    Sophie was one of four from New Zealand picked for their illustrative talent.

    A budding artist and Harry Potterfan, she wanted the chance to have her drawing featured in The Ickabog.

    Just a week before submissions closed, Sophie drew her coloured pencil drawing of one of the book’s villains, Lord Flapoon.

    She said she planned the drawing a little bit.

    “I looked at 17th century clothing and stuff.”

    The gluttonous Lord was holding a chicken drumstick in one hand; Sophie’s dad acted as a model by holding a spoon for her to draw from.

    Art was one of Sophie’s favourite subjects at Southland Girls’ High School and she thought being a career illustrator could be in her future.

    The winners were selected from a shortlist by a judging panel comprising book editors and book designers from the publisher alongside a special guest judge: Pam Smy, Senior Lecturer Practitioner, MA Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University.

    Rowling was not a judge of the competition, but she did share and comment on children’s artwork online.

    On the book website, Rowling said looking through the artwork had been a joy.

    “I know I’m far from alone in marvelling at the talent on display.

    “When the book is published in November, I’m going to donate all my royalties to help vulnerable people who have been affected by the coronavirus.”

    The book, a fairytale involving myths, kingdoms, adventure and two children, was released on Tuesday.

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