Drawing on the myths of the past

By Fang Aiqing | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-03 08:00
One of the illustrations from the picture book. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Upon first seeing a ragged volume of the ancient classics in the university library, she was astonished by its mysteries. Feeling inspired, she tried to draw a fish with wings, the start of a series reimagining what had been recorded in that tatty old book.

Her medium of choice is usually needle pen drawings. She then scans the drafts and colors them using imaging software, such as Adobe Photoshop.

Her drawing style has been influenced by the way British illustrator Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98) reproduces intricate detail and magnifies the contrast between black and white, which is reflected on the cover of her book which portrays the legendary figure, Xiwangmu, or Queen Mother of the West.

Although Xiwangmu is sometimes depicted as good-looking and tender in some literary, film and television adaptations-even being written into a romantic tryst with a human king-in the original book, she is considered fierce, and with her leopard's tail and tiger's teeth, she embodies the characteristics of the supposed mistress of plagues and corporal punishment.

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