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!

Art reveal: Castle Charming Bookplates

I’ve been designing bookplates for Tansy Rayner Roberts, for her (successful!) Castle Charming kickstarter (I previously posted about the enamel pin design for that).

Here is the first glimpse of the bookplates back from the printer (Tansy arranged all that end of it — I do particularly enjoy the moment where someone else takes art away and brings it back as a shining object).

It’s pen and ink with ink washes.

And here are a few of the sketches from which it began:

Books are fascinating as design elements. They seem so potentially decorative and yet they’re very… boxy, and make you make style decisions around e.g. perspective, and how shabby to make them in order to get some texture going.

Some of my favourite books covers are early 20thC school prize book editions. Mostly because of their spines! But the other sides are marvellously textured (and the insides are gorgeously mottled — blank pages in Mr Dalton and Janet have provided many of the textures I use with digital colour).

Almost all of these are from the Lifeline Bookfest, and are the primary reason I’m not allowed to go anymore until I buy more bookcases.

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.

Creature Court covers

Tansy Rayner Roberts’s Creature Court covers have been revealed!

These city silhouettes were so much fun (and detail), and the silhouette of Aufleur, for Book 1, is at the World Fantasy art show in Baltimore right now.


If you’re at World Fantasy, the art show this year is FABULOUS. And I’ve brought a lot of original art including this one.


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:

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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.