“I brought the magic of Harry Potter to life by designing everything from the marauder’s map to Hogwarts flying letters for the movies.”

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There’s no denying that the Warner Bros. Harry Potter films bring the magic of JK Rowling’s best-selling children’s novels to life in ways that many in the early 2000s never thought possible.

Most Harry Potter fans will remember the moment they first saw one of the movie adaptations, with their intricate details that make Hogwarts and the rest of the Wizarding World look absolutely real, animated photos and newspapers. magic to the Marauder’s Map and theft. Hogwarts Acceptance Letters.

We have to thank two people (and their team) for this: the graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, who now work under the name MinaLima.

READ MORE: Emma Watson’s unrequited crush on the Harry Potter bad boy she still meets



“Every given moment tries to make sure the story is told through the visual prompts, and you have to create that fake story all the time,” Miraphora said.

“Back then, there weren’t really many people making so many graphic accessories,” says Miraphora, now 53.

“It’s a role that’s responsible for the top layer of decorating on a platter – everything from designing a specific wallpaper, to textile design, to signage, to typography.

“But most important are the accessories that are in the actor’s hand.”

Miraphora said that in Harry Potter there were “so many books, maps, journals, tickets” and more that required detailed illustration and a 3D graphics application: all the little details that make the wizarding world real for you. the television viewers.

“You are trying to create a history using visual prompts”

“Storytelling, of course, is what you’re really trying to do,” she said.

“Every given moment tries to make sure the story is told through the visual prompts, and you have to create that fake story all the time.

“You try to build a story behind the thing, person, or situation all the time.

“When Dumbledore gives Hermione the copy of Beedle the Bard, we have to tell the audience very quickly that this is something that is really of value, that has been passed down from generation to generation and contains a world of magic, but which is also credible.

“We want the audience to say, ‘Yeah, maybe I could have that.’



Miraphora and Eduardo have worked on many of the most iconic graphics props from the Harry Potter films, from Hogwarts Acceptance Letters to the Marauder's Map.
Miraphora and Eduardo have worked on many of the most iconic graphics props from the Harry Potter films, from Hogwarts Acceptance Letters to the Marauder’s Map.

Make the Marauder’s Map

For Miraphora, the Harry Potter accessory that proved to be the biggest design challenge also turned out to be her favorite to create.

The Marauder’s Map, which first appears in the third film, The Prisoner of Azkaban, was a “labor of love” because it had “a little life of its own,” she said.

“The file was so open – all she had in the books was for the Weasleys to take out the square piece of parchment, then she explains more about what it makes people do, or makes people feel, rather than describing in detail what it should look like.

“There was just a huge reach, and it’s great for us as designers, but it’s also a challenge – especially since Alfonso Cuarón [the Prisoner of Azkaban’s director] was so demanding. “



“Behind the illustration is also the concept of doing something that seems to have a story, and that there are four marauders behind that”

Miraphora said she would hand draw the designs for the Marauder’s Map over and over again, trying to get it right, not only to satisfy Cuarón but also the Harry Potter fans who wanted to see the magic of the map take on. life on the big screen. .

Part of the design of the card just boiled down to its font: “When you look at the typography, you might be like, ‘Yeah, this font has a personality, or this one doesn’t, this one is obnoxious. , I could go out to dinner with that one, ”laughs Miraphora.

But it’s also about creating something compelling, alive and, especially in the case of the Marauder’s Map, something rich in lore and history.

“Behind the illustration is also the concept of creating something that seems to have a story and that there are four marauders behind it,” Miraphora added.



Miraphora stated that
Miraphora said “there was a huge scope” for the Marauder’s Map, “and it’s great for us as designers, but it’s also a challenge.”

“I felt like there were a lot of very special props in the movies that did something important to move the story forward, but [the Marauder’s Map] had a little life of his own.

“It was the most wonderful thing to design, but also the most difficult because we felt we had to do something really different, not a treasure island map.

“In the end, I want [did feel real] – when I spoke to the fans, they say: ‘This is how I imagined it.’ “



“When you look at the typography, you might be like, ‘Yeah, this font has a personality, or this one doesn’t, this one is obnoxious, I could go out to dinner with that one.’

The story of MinaLima

Miraphora had just started working in the design of graphic props – a job that “didn’t really have people doing it at the time” before starting Harry Potter, a project she thought would last only six. month.

She had worked with the Harry Potter set designer on other films and was part of the freelance team he had assembled for The Philosopher’s Stone.

His current work partner, Eduardo, joined the second work experience film when he had just moved to the UK from Brazil, and he became Miraphora’s ‘partner in crime’ from this day.

The MinaLima studio now consists of a team of 15 designers and directors who have worked on the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series, as well as creating graphic props for films such as Sweeney Todd, The Golden Compass and The Imitation Game.



Inside House of MinaLima in Soho, where fans can see the iconic designs for themselves
Inside House of MinaLima in Soho, where fans can see the iconic designs for themselves

After completing work on the Harry Potter films in 2010, studio MinaLima was commissioned to create the Diagon Alley extension of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida.

“It involved a lot of graphic design, because it’s a London street with shops and extra stuff that you don’t see in the movie,” Miraphora explained.

“It took about two years of design work for all of the exterior graphics and some of the store graphics. You can see everything which is a big difference because in a movie you might only see 25% of what you are designing. .

“But the minute you walk through the threshold, you’re transported.”



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You don’t have to travel as far as Florida to see MinaLima’s designs in the flesh, however – they have a boutique and gallery in the heart of Soho in London.

House of MinaLima is located on Wardour Street in Soho, and fans can shop for memorabilia, including replica props, prints, books and more, as well as explore the gallery space which showcases some of the MinaLima’s most iconic graphic designs.

Their latest work includes a series of illustrated fairy-tale classics – the ninth book of which will be released next year – and a celebratory book, titled The Magic of MinaLima, to mark the 20th anniversary of the picture-packed Harry Potter films, anecdotes and stories. about what it was like to work on magic films.

You can visit the House of MinaLima at 157 Wardour Street, London, or online at minalima.com.

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