October 2, 2012
“The Casual Vacancy” is a novel five years in the making and the first JK Rowling has released since the Harry Potter series. Rowling’s new novel sees her taking a step outside the fantastical world of wizardry and into a darker shade of literary fiction. Though some overarching themes remain the same, “The Casual Vacancy” was written for more adult audiences. The novel proves that Rowling isn’t a one trick pony and the New Yorker decided to take a look at the woman, not the author, behind the books.
The New Yorker recently ran a ten-page profile on Rowling and asked Stan Chow to do an illustration of the author. Known for his artful depictions of celebrities and fictional characters, Stan has caricatured everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Obi-Wan Kenobi to The Beatles. Stan’s caricatures are sleek and simple. Each character’s essence is captured in the details, whether it be their clothes or the fine lines in their facial expressions. In Stan’s illustration of Rowling, the detail is in the depictions behind the caricature of the author. Different items in the background illustrate themes of Rowling’s new book – drugs, underage sex, politics, and where the new book is set. The juxtaposition of JK Rowling in a crisp white cardigan with a saccharine smile against highly charged and somewhat dark themes serves to reinforce the main point of the article – JK Rowling is more than Harry Potter.