Q&A with Coin Designer Jody Clark

Q&A with coin designer Jody Clark

The 2023 King Charles III Greatest Monarchs Gold Sovereign Series features a portrait of King Charles III by artist Jody Clark. Jody Clark also designed the Fifth (and final) Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which appeared on all of her British coinage from mid-2015 to last year.

Jody has created some incredible designs for Hattons of London, so we decided to speak to him about his creative journey and what it was like to design this important gold sovereign ‘first’ series. Here is what he had to say….

What inspired you to become a designer?  

I’ve always had a keen interest in art. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always drawn everything. In school, art was my favourite subject and it got to a point where I realised I’m actually pretty alright at this. I decided to study illustration at the University of Central Lancashire – mainly because I prefer having a brief to work towards. I have always been drawn towards the creative aspects which has enabled me to follow this career path.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

Back in 2015, a competition to design a new portrait of the Queen came up by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee, which staff were able to enter, so I decided to go for it. I submitted my design anonymously and didn’t really expect to hear much more of it, so then when it was announced that my design had been chosen to become the fifth – and now final – coin portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to feature on British coins, I couldn’t believe it. It’s definitely my proudest career achievement, it was a huge honour and it feels even more poignant now.

How did it feel designing a new monarch for the very first time?

A change of monarch has definitely been a defining moment, we’ve already seen so much change following on from the Queen’s passing, and there’s no doubt that there’s more on the horizon. Therefore, the prospect of working on something with the new King has been incredibly exciting. That being said, designing Charles’s portrait definitely had its challenges. Creating portraits for coinage is a tricky process anyway as it’s a very niche subject and designing in really low relief metal can be extremely challenging.

How did you approach designing the portrait of King Charles III?

Despite doing a creative job, my approach is often quite formulaic, and that’s largely because I’m working with products where a brief is required from the onset to ensure a successful end product. I approached the design as I would any other project; I gather all of the research and images together and build a folder to work with.

The vast majority of my work is now done digitally, simply because it’s easier than having lots of pieces of paper lying around – it means I know that my designs are all in one place. I start by filling a little grid with a number of coin shapes, and then filling those in with some initial designs, before selecting some of my favourite options and sketching those in more detail, before sharing for feedback and further development.

Was this approach different to when you designed Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait?

Personally, I found designing King Charles III’s portrait more challenging than when I designed Queen Elizabeth II’s. With Charles, he is more recognisable from a front facing profile as opposed to his mother who has a multitude of regalia which helps when identifying who it is, especially when a lot of the time she is wearing either a crown or tiara. Charles doesn’t have any of this, so to get a true likeness from his side profile was somewhat difficult, but I feel like I was able to get there in the end.

Since working at The Commonwealth Mint, what is your most notable design?

I have done a lot of designs for different Hattons of London ranges, both obverse and reverse. However, I feel like the King Charles III’s effigy that I have recently designed will be extremely notable, especially in the future, as I know it will get used on a lot of upcoming designs and so I think this will be very hard to beat at the moment.

It’s always a great feeling when you design something that’s not only really well received but that you feel brings to life the vision that you set out to create. That’s always really gratifying as an artist.


The 2023 King Charles III Greatest Monarchs Gold Sovereign Range features His Majesty King Charles III on the obverse, in a portrait by artist Jody Clark. Secure yours HERE.