art process


Wanderlust

Wanderlust is Light Grey Art Lab’s exhibition of art from their 2016 Iceland residencies (which I attended). The exhibition is full of gorgeous art which, if you cannot get to Minneapolis, you can also see online – and buy in the art shop (including the originals of my paintings).

I sent in a set of four watercolour illustrations for a story I have been working on, which rose from the process of learning to filter stories through different landscapes.

I had been wanting to use more watercolour instead of digital colour over my line work.

Art in progress

I started researching a particular school of ink-and-wash illustration, and then went sideways into pencil and watercolour.

Art in progress

Here Our Heroine is set a task by three unusual ladies.

One of several dresses of unconventional material.

This is a rock we stood on when looking for puffins.

They are at a pretty typical scale for my work – and the originals are available from Light Grey Art Lab.

 


Telling the Map - cover

I’m delighted to show you my cover for Christopher Rowe‘s collection Telling the Map, now available for pre-order from Small Beer Press. Wonderful strange stories of post-singularity hope and cycling, with one of my favourite gentle story endings. I can’t wait for you all to read it so that I can finally talk about it!

Here are some of the early thumbnail sketches. The art direction was for a map with vignette illustrations inset. Fitting the relevant geography around the necessary images and text was a spatial challenge, as I couldn’t purely invent it but did need to make it serve the design.

Telling the Map - thumbnails

I’d previously illustrated the first story in the collection, “The Contrary Gardener”, for Jonathan Strahan back in 2013(!), and it was such a pleasure to come back to this world.
"The Contrary Gardener"

I’m very much enjoying working on illustrated maps. Stay tuned for another coming up soon! (Or join us on Patreon to see these projects in progress and get early reveals).

Scarlet - Color Anthropology

A wandering and selective history of the colour scarlet.

This is my contribution to Light Grey Art Lab’s current exhibition “Color Anthropology“. The original is a scratchboard piece, with the colour added digitally.

KJenningsSoldiers

Many thanks to my patrons, who helped me decide on colour placement when I lost the ability to decide!

KJennings-Pimpernel.jpg

There is some stunning art in the exhibition (Lincoln Green, Orange and Saffron are my favourites), which you can check out online if Minneapolis isn’t on your itinerary. The art is also available as prints through the Light Grey shop.

Exhibition header.jpeg

 

 

tre_s2_carousel_web_horz_1600x800_s2-1024x512

Here is the cover art for the final episode of Season 2 of Serial Box’s serialised prequel to Ellen Kushner’s Riverside novels, Tremontaine!

Earlier posts:

The final episode of a season is almost as difficult to illustrate as the overall season cover. How to represent what happens in this particular episode, while being true to the overall arc of the season and catching the right elegiac or hopeful note…

As a result, there were a lot of thumbnail sketches.

Tremontaine S2 E13 thumbnails

We went with the image of a Kinwiinik ship taking to the waves. Here are the final pencils.

Tremontaine S2 E13 pencils

And at last, alas, the finished cover (I’m particularly fond of the poppies). The final layout and design is, as ever, by Charles Orr.

Tremontaine S2 E13 final cover

I hadn’t yet read any of Frances Hardinge‘s novels when Gili Bar-Hillel of Utz Books asked me to illustrate the cover for the Hebrew translation of The Lie Tree. And oh, it is so very good!

Here are a few of my first thumbnail concepts for the cover.

The Lie Tree - thumbnails

The novel is a beautiful combination of gothic mystery, scientific discovery, faith, lies, ambition, hubris and secrets. Part way through I realised that it felt like Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach”, and then a particularly apt sentence sent me back to the beginning to check for a nonchalant line that convinced me this was entirely deliberate on Hardinge’s part.

Here are the pencils. We decided to go with more open vinework around the title.

The Lie Tree - pencils

I then cut the final image out of black paper, and sent it through for the designer, Dor Cohen, to do wonderful things with.

The Lie Tree - cover

The Hebrew translation of France’s Hardinge’s novel The Lie Tree, translated by Yael Achmon, is now available for pre-order from Utz Books: The Lie Tree.

Thanks to my supporters on Patreon who help give me time to put together these process posts (and who get to see projects like this early).

Very recently I had the great pleasure of doing my first illustration for Strange Horizons. It was for Philip A. Suggar’s surreal and charming story “London Calling“.

Some of my patrons had the chance to see early progress pictures and some more detailed process description (and so can you: Patreon). But the art is out now!

Here are some of the early thumbnail sketches.

kjennings-londongcalling-thumbnails

We chose the top right one, and I touched in some soft colours to test them. I still really like this thumbnail, and would like to do something in this style! But it wouldn’t have worked so well on a large scale.

kjennings-londoncalling-sketch

I also played around with some cyanotype versions.

2017-02-04-cyanotype

Then it was on to developing the pencils, and adding digital colour.

2017-02-13-londoncalling-pencils kjennings-londoncalling-web

You can read the story here: “London Calling”.

(And don’t forget: you can see sneak-peeks, hear early project news and help support my independent projects if you’re a supporter through Patreon.)

The Illustration Friday topic is “mischief”, which has a rather softened meaning in modern English.

The illustration, however, turned into the love child of The Cheshire Cat and Tailypo, and other things that hang head-down from the trees and whisper to you.

Illustration Friday: Mischief

I’ve also been playing around with cyanotypes (sun prints), so here is a print made with the original silhouette.

Illustration Friday: Mischief

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