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Kathleen Jennings


Kathleen Jennings

Kathleen Jennings is an illustrator based in Brisbane.

Kathleen attended the World Fantasy Convention (WFC) 2014 in Arlington, Virginia where she participated in the art show and a panel discussion of artists who write.

At the convention, Kathleen was able to meet with many publishers, editors and authors with whom she has worked or will work in future. She also promoted the books she has illustrated, met major illustrators of the genre and visited private art collections.

While in the US, Kathleen also participated in bookstore events, visited publishers, authors, editors and illustrators in New York and Massachusetts and visited galleries and museums.


October to November 2014


Washington DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA

Arts Queensland contribution

$2060 – Individuals Fund


  • Through participation in the WFC program and art show, Kathleen was able to show her work beside many important illustrators in the genre and take part in a panel discussion on ‘Fantasy artists who take up the pen’. Her work was well-received, with positive feedback and encouragement by peers and professionals in the field. She was also able to sell all the art she exhibited.
  • While in the US, Kathleen was able to view and study original artwork, learning the technique, approach and history of these works. One of the highlights was accompanying Charles Vess and several other illustrators on a guided introduction to works in the collection of the Library of Congress.
  • After the convention, Kathleen was able to build on earlier, preliminary contacts to establish professional relationships with publishers, art directors, editors, artists and authors, including visits to the offices of Tor/Forge in New York City and Small Beer Press in Massachusetts.

Learnings and reflections

Image of Kathleen Jenning's sketchesThe experience of travelling to the US and attending the WFC provided Kathleen with some valuable lessons regarding international arts shows:

  • There is an audience appetite for affordable original artwork (even if only sketches and unframed drawings) over prints – however this is set against the fact that typical convention art show structures may not allow for easy display and sale.
  • The importance to collectors of the longevity of materials. Illustrators working with physical rather than digital media can have an ‘anything goes’ approach to image making. Art collectors or gallery owners can provide valuable advice on what might be expected.

The US trip has provided inspiration for future personal goals and challenges, including:

  • building on existing contacts and relationships to obtain information and access to rare and obscure collections and materials
  • creating more records of art process and making sketches and development material available to collectors
  • varying the scale of work, having seen the wide range of original sizes in which illustrators work
  • incorporating a range of techniques with more confidence, from the extreme precision of, for example, Cady, to the busy, sketchy style of Goya's ink work.

Kathleen also learned to turn a challenge into an opportunity when participating in a group reading with some well-known authors:

I had intended to attend these readings – and then found out I'd been advertised as participating! As a result, I had to research and develop a way to present a visual story without any visual aids. It was successful and very well received, and led to many conversations with audiences and professionals about the process and an invitation to submit an article to a publisher's blog about it.


Contact for further information



Kathleen’s sketchbooks of her American trip:
Article: ‘A magic synergy: The cover art of Kathleen Jennings’ by Delia Sherman


A pdf version of  Kathleen Jennings case study (PDF) (281.18 KB) is available.


Image: Kathleen at the World Fantasy Convention with her illustrations. Photo courtesy Kathleen Jennings.

Image: Kathleen’s sketches of the mass signing event at the World Fantasy Convention. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Jennings.