I’ve been a fan of Amelia's Magazine ever since I stumbled upon Issue #2 (with the Rob Ryan lazercut) in a newsagent during my student days at the Edinburgh College of Art. It was the most unique and beautiful magazine I’d ever seen. 

Fast forward 10 years and Amelia Gregory is back and is in the process of creating a unique limited edition collectible artist’s book. And it’s GOLDEN! The name of the book is That Which We Do Not Understand. It is to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Amelia’s Magazine. The central themes include Mysticism, Spirituality, Alchemy, Paganism, Witchcraft, Herbalism, Shamanism, Magick, Voodoo, Folklore, Esotericism, Tarot, Astrology, Animal Spirits, Paranormal activities, the Moon and much more. Amelia has reached out to the art and creative writing world which this inspiring open brief, with in mind to showcase and help discover new talent. The brief ends November 10, so it's not too late to join in!

I thought I'd share with you my Moon Rabbit submission for TWWDNU. My inspiration is the beautiful moon. It illuminates us at night, it has inspired countless stories from the four corners of the world, and have you ever noticed the pattern of its craters that is shaped like a rabbit? This is how I learnt about the ancient Chinese folklore of the Moon Rabbit and the legend of the moon goddess Chang’e.

The story goes like this…Chang’e and her husband Houyi were immortals living in heaven until they were punished and stripped of their immortality. Seeking to live forever, Houyi embarked on a long and perilous journey in search of the Pill of Immortality. This elixir of life was made by the jade rabbit. In vain, Houyi succeeded in his mission and returned home with the magic pill which he hid it in his house until he chose when to share it with his wife. Despite being warned not to touch the pill, curious Chang’e opened the case whilst her husband was out and accidentally swallowed it whole. The dose was too strong and she floated into the sky and landed on the moon. She now lives there as an immortal with her companion the jade rabbit. And this is how the Chinese came to explain that which they did not understand, the reason for a rabbit silhouette to be is stamped on the moon. Look carefully and you'll see it! 
Here is my interpretation of the face of Chang'e and the art material I used to work on my Moon Rabbit piece. I like to draw the original artwork with a Japanese kanji pen, pencil and acrylic paint. I then scan in my line work and black layers separately and play with colour overlays digitally. This is not too dissimilar to when you're screen printing.
The brief asked to create a gold foil layer. I remembered Gustav Klimt who was one of my favourite painters growing up. His father was a gold engraver which is perhaps the reason why Klimt used gold leaf on his canvases during his 'Golden Phase'. He often combined the leaf with ochre, warm oranges and yellows. His recurring subject was the female body. Remembering Klimt's work influenced me in the choice of colours for my illustration. 

Using thin layout paper gives me flexibility when creating my illustraiton. I can overlay and play around with textures and patterns. Can you spot the rabbits and constellation pattern on Chang'e's dress?

I wanted to double check how the gold could work against the ochre. Gold acrylic came in very handy. I have a weakness for textile design, so this was especially fun.

I hope that you enjoyed reading about my Moon Rabbit TWWDNU submission. For anyone interested in joining in Amelia's Magazine open brief, you can submit your work by 10th November to be part of what will be a unique and beautiful book. For lovers of art, creative writing and the themes behind TWWDNU, come and join in by watching Amelia's kickstarter video, helping to spread the word by sharing the campaign and getting behind a lovely book by pledging.

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