“A Hedge of Yellow Roses” in Year’s Best

yearsbest2015

My bittersweet (and Ditmar Award-winning!) post-revolutionary fairytale “A Hedge of Yellow Roses” has been selected for the 2015 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror! The book is edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene and is available for preorder now from Ticonderoga Publications.

It has a great cross-section of current Australian writers, and if you’re looking to get a survey of what’s happening here then it’s not a bad place to start!

  • Joanne Anderton, “2B”
  • Alan Baxter, “The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner”
  • Deborah Biancotti, “Look How Cold My Hands Are”
  • Stephen Dedman, “Oh, Have You Seen The Devil”
  • Erol Engin, “The Events at Callan Park”
  • Jason Fischer, “The Dog Pit”
  • Dirk Flinthart, “In the Blood”
  • Kimberley Gaal, “In Sheep’s Clothing”
  • Stephanie Gunn, “The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth”
  • Lisa Hannett, “Consorting With Filth”
  • Robert Hood, “Double Speak”
  • Kathleen Jennings, “A Hedge of Yellow Roses”
  • Maree Kimberley, “Ninehearts”
  • Jay Kristoff, “Sleepless”
  • Martin Livings, “El Caballo Muerte”
  • Danny Lovecraft, “Reminiscences of Herbert West”
  • Kirstyn McDermott, “Self, Contained”
  • Sally McLennan, “ Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium”
  • DK Mok, “Almost Days”
  • Faith Mudge, “Blueblood”
  • Samantha Murray, “Half Past”
  • Jason Nahrung, “Night Blooming”
  • Garth Nix, “The Company of Women”
  • Anthony Panegyres, “Lady Killer”
  • Rivqa Rafael, “Beyond the Factory Wall”
  • Deborah Sheldon, “Perfect Little Stitches”
  • Angela Slatter, “Bluebeard’s Daughter”
  • Cat Sparks, “Dragon Girl”
  • Lucy Sussex, “Angelito”
  • Anna Tambour, “Tap”
  • Kaaron Warren, “Mine Intercom”

December Calendar

December Calendar detail

It’s the last of the calendars for 2016. But there will be more next year!

For now, however, we’ll take the year out with the Twelve Dancing Princesses.

decemberwip

This fairytale has been on my mind because it is was the latest topic of discussion for the Australian Fairy Tale Society, and I was surprised at the number of people I’ve met recently who weren’t familiar with it. It’s also felt rather iconic to me, but perhaps that was the visual texture of it: leaves of gold and silver and diamond, all those worn out shoes, the gowns…

December Calendar illustrations

Conveniently, as there are twelve princesses and twelve lanterns, the colouring-in version can also function as a 25 day (if you include the background as the 25th element) or 12 day Advent/Christmas/Holiday calendar.

Clicking on the links below will take you through to the individual images for printing.

December Calendardecemberlines

I love being able to make these calendars every month and provide them for free. However, I’m self-supporting these days and these calendars do take up a lot of time. So I’ve just started a Patreon. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a system that lets you be a patron of the arts at any of a number of levels – you can pledge as little as $1 per month to support this and potentially other projects. In return, you’ll get all sorts of little behind-the-scenes perks – and at some levels, some not-so-little ones.

The Patreon is open, but still under development, so get in touch with me if you’ve got any questions or any of the puns seem particularly cringeworthy. But since most people who read this post are pretty ardent supporters of the calendars, I wanted to let you know first.

I’ve also uploaded this month’s image to Redbubble, if you want a higher quality print than your home printer can manage (well, mine only exists to hold up the scanner bed, yours is probably more modern), or a fairytale shirt or notebook.

A Bush Bride


KJennings-BushBrideWIPphoto1

I am busily working at deadlines before I head over to Readercon and Iceland. Here are some work-in-progress glimpses of some illustrations I have made for Angie Rega, to accompany her reading of a story at next week’s Australian Fairy Tale Society conference.

KJennings-BushBride-WIPphoto3

I thought, since time is tight, it would make sense to make the illustrations really small, but put more detail than usual in them at the same time. I still can’t properly feel the tip of my index finger.

KJennings-BushBride-WIPphoto2

Flight in motion

KJenningsFlight

A little gif of the development of a detail of Flight, the book I am illustrating for Angela Slatter, from Tiny Owl Workshop
.

Illustration Friday: Temptation

Illustration Friday: Temptation

This week’s Illustration Friday picture began as a technique practice/reset between jobs, but I lost track of what I had originally planned on doing and got carried away (not for the first time) with Janet luring Tam out into the daylight in the ballad “Tam Lin“.

I do appreciate that Janet always knows exactly what she’s doing. I do not require this of all my heroines, but Janet is so beautifully consistent. “Oh I forbid you maidens all who wear gold in your hair/To come or go by Carterhaugh, for young Tam Lin is there.” The story opens with a prohibition, which Janet consistently and deliberately flouts, while Tam is simply caught up by events (and Janet).

She should also be wearing green, but this is Janet, so “should” may be safely ignored.

This is pencil with digital colour and assorted textures. One day I will remember to make a cleaner layer of flat colour, because I do enjoy getting the flats to ‘read’ well. I ran these flats through Inkscape to tidy them up a bit for public viewing:

Illustration Friday: Temptation - simplified flat colour

Illustration Friday: Beginning

Illustration Friday: Beginning

Some initial capitals, in scratchboard with digital colour, for this week’s Illustration Friday topic, “Beginning“. They are, as usual, test pieces for another larger project, but I chose the letters based on what I thought were the first letters of some recent poems. I managed to get one completely wrong.

Last week, Terri Windling held a winter poetry challenge on her blog. Below are three of my contributions. The first, on bears, I posted with the last Illustration Friday picture. One other is not here because it turns out it did not start with the letter “I”. So I have a spare capital and a poem to post later. If you are a fan of poetry, illustration, myths, fables or fairytales, I recommend checking out the posts – there are many more poems in the comments.

BAVARIA

(Theme: Snow White, and a memory of first encountering a landscape out of fairytales)

hen apple trees scrabbled to view,
Above a wall, boughs half-unleaved,
Heavy with portent and truth,
All bronze and pewter, I believed.
When garnet, pomegranate fruit,
Struck at my heart, I almost grieved.
(The castles only ever were
Sprung from some wild dream-aquifer).
Snow falling from the mirrored sky,
Softened the blow. But then when I
Saw winter forests spider-grey
All webbed and knotted out of view,
(So little space to struggle through),
I knew the stories all were true.

CUSTOM

(Theme: Deer in Fairy Tales, Folklore and Myth, which fit with recent research on legends of white deer for another project)

BeginningWDeer

e do not say we saw a deer. We saw
The starlight slanting through rain-silvered leaves
The mist lift off the lake, owls through the trees
Glide white and silent. This, and nothing more.

We do not say we saw a figure pale
Among the rushes, long-limbed, loitering.
We saw the rushes only, rustling,
The thin frost freezing to a glassy veil.

We do not speak of tracks that, seen too near,
Appear to change from hooves to naked feet.
We do not speak of strangers whom we meet –
Such questions only ever cost too dear.

We keep an older law:
These two have always been
Separate: What you have seen
And what you say you saw.

ROBIN’S FLIGHT

(Theme: The Wild in Myth, Folklore and Fantasy)

ut of rumour and night,
Blood and bone,
Something knotted and gnarled
Had sprouted and grown.

A tree climbed out of a heart.
It may have been
Oak or ash or elder,
Or else from a dream –
Not evergreen.

When the crown of gold and scarlet
Tarnished to grey
The branches clutched at sky.
Something had flown away.

Silk shawls

Hemming

I’ve been learning to stitch a rolled-hem for two shawls I’ve wanted to make for some time. A few people have asked for the designs, so I’ve made them public on my Spoonflower page.

The first is the cover art for Midnight and Moonshine (print it centred across two yards):

Midnight and Moonshine cover

The other is “Round Eternal”, one of the pieces for the art show last month (print it centred on one yard for a square scarf):

Round Eternal

The Large Amorphous Manuscript

Sketchy characters

Occasionally, I weep elsewhere about the Large Amorphous Manuscript. It is not a novel. It is, perhaps, an outline that is twice the length of what the final story should be. It is a tangled mass of threads, the back of an embroidery, knotted and tangled. And yet there are some shining colours there, in a dozen sentences of describing trees one will stand waving its branches. It is a dense, rough sketch which must be refined, have its composition straightened out, details lost and added, lines inked darker or faded out, textures flooded in.

Illustration is easier.

Sometimes I draw plot points.

Illustration Friday: Storm

Illustration Friday: Storm

A tiny (5cmx6cm) cut-paper illustration for Illustration Friday. This is (as so often) a test patch for several other projects, one of which is working on capturing the shadows cast by the paper rather than dropping them in digitally. I do not, however, have a modern functional camera, so this is taken with my phone, and assorted living room lights, and the picture raised by a piece of kneadable eraser. I may need to call on some photographer friends to show me the way. Possibly if I cut the picture to a larger scale, getting a decent resolution for print would not be an issue.

Ilustration Friday: Myth

Illustration Friday: Myth

So I arrived home from work, in the rain, and promptly thought, “I know what I should do, after I eat these eggs and some roast beef with mustard! I should design and cut out an entire A3 silhouette picture!” As it is, this is as good as it gets tonight – tomorrow, after I resharpen the knife and regain sensation in the relevant fingers, I will tidy up the furry bits, and maybe add a touch more detail if the recipient (this is also in payment of an IOU) thinks suitable.

It says:

Once upon a time (but “once” is always & ever after)

And fortunately that last curl of vine adds a nice closing bracket because otherwise I would have completely forgotten to add one in. But otherwise the letters appear to be in the correct order, yes? and facing the right way? Because I lettered them straight onto the reverse and didn’t check in a mirror, and at this point my ability to read is questionable.