Pin reveal! Castle Charming

All photos of pins and bookplates by Tansy Rayner Roberts

I wrote previously about designing an enamel pin for backers of Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Castle Charming Kickstarter.

It is now out in the world! This is what it looks like — I really like the details of the hanging clusters of peas (funnily, I’ve since had a run of pea-plant illustrations, so all the sketches working this out have more than paid off!).

And here’s a bonus photo from Tansy of the signed bookplates ready to go out. I posted before about the design for those — Art reveal: Castle Charming bookplates.

You can see more of Tansy Rayner Roberts’ projects on her website, and on Twitter, and see some other projects I’ve done with her (this is the third set of pins!) here.

Edit 14 September: And there were stickers, too!

Pin process: Tea & Sympathetic Magic


I mentioned this when talking about my latest enamel pin for Tansy (and that project‘s fully funded, but until 8 April 2020 you can still support it and get a castle pin: Castle Charming). It’s a pin I designed for Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Patreon, and her novella, Tea and Sympathetic Magic.

I’m not averse to drawing the odd hedgehog, and this had the added pleasure of letting me justify my collection of teacups as reference material. Here are the early sketches of a variety of teacups and urchins.


We considered gold surrounds, as per the Creature Court pins, but opted for the black lines.


It’s so much fun to draw something and have someone else take it away and bring it back as something shiny and wonderful, and the beauty of enamel pins is that you end up with multiples that you can let run through your fingers.

Process post: Castle Charming pin


I was going to save this post until later in Tansy Rayner Roberts‘ Castle Charming Kickstarter campaign, but it’s already been more than 3/4 funded in its first 24 hours!

Castle Charming is a collection of linked short stories and novellas about a year in the life of a fairy tale kingdom, by Tansy Rayner Roberts.

(Incidentally, while I’ve never run a crowdfunding campaign directly, I’ve been involved with quite a few, and the biggest lesson, from Kinds of Blue (9 years!) on, has been: the more complete a project already exists, the faster it funds.)


One of the reward levels is an enamel pin based on a design by me (the first pin I designed was also for Tansy’s Creature Court crowdfunding campaign (final pins here), and in the interim there was a hedgehog in a teacup, too).

Here are the early sketches (already seen by patrons, including a few I’ve trimmed off here because I definitely want to do something further with them at some point).

2020-02-20-CastleCharmingSketches for web-abbr

Tansy chose M, but with bean plants around the base instead of the generic flourish. I worked up a few approaches (bean plants are notoriously vertical, so working up a horizontal version was an enjoyable puzzle — we had to opt for a short-podded variety), but our favourite was the clustered beans and leaves.

2020-02-22-KJennings-Castle-Mockups for web

From there, I straightened it up and inked it with a brush, then tidied it (lightly — we wanted to keep the hand-drawn effect) digitally and added colour.

I’ll post a picture of the final pins when they become reality, but in the meantime, you can get one by supporting the campaign here: Castle Charming.

The Lumberjack’s Dove – enamel pin


GennaRose Nethercott – The Lumberjack’s Dove

I have just had the opportunity to design a second enamel pin, this time for GennaRose Nethercott’s beautiful poem The Lumberjack’s Dove, just out from HarperCollins. My copy just arrived in the post this week, together with a beautiful poem by GennaRose just for me (and, separately, Tom Hiron’s Falconer’s Joy – another poem of a very different modern mythology).


I really enjoyed designing this pin. It was a completely different proposition from the Creature Court enamel pins, in both style of book and of art. The approach, however, was similar: to create an image that would undeniably connect to and represent the book but also function as a beautifully (if mysteriously) iconic design in its own right. Something people might want to wear or admire even if they hadn’t read the poem (or novel), but with a connection it would be difficult to forget.

Below are some of the process sketches (supporters on Patreon got to see this one in more detail as it developed).


And here is the final pin. I have not yet worked out how to photograph gold properly, but it so very shiny!


For information about opportunities to get a pin, follow GennaRose. The National Poetry Series Competition winning poem is now available from HarperCollins: The Lumberjack’s Dove. And for more behind-the-scenes art than I can share entirely publicly, check out my Patreon page.

Oh, and I design pins now.

Cabaret of Monsters


So, a little while ago I mentioned Tansy Rayner Roberts’s Kickstarter campaign to reprint the Creature Court trilogy. It was successful, and she has launched her new novella in that world: Cabaret of Monsters. This was another fun image to play with: Flappers! Wolves! Stars!

The cover design and typography is by Cathy Larsen.




The pins have also been produced, and look very shiny online.


I’ll show mine off as soon as Australia Post delivers the goods but in the meantime, here is Tansy’s photo:

creaturecourt - 1 (4).jpg

The Creature Court returns…

Here is the finished banner illustration I made for Tansy Rayner Robert’s Creature Court Kickstarter campaign, which is now live!

The campaign is to fund the reprint of her previously published Creature Court trilogy (full of flappers, Rome-esque cities, animal magic and vicious skies), along with a new novella. I will be designing the new covers, as well as this banner and an enamel pin.