After first bringing the whimsical woodland characters of textile artist Cat Rabbit to life over a year ago in a short animated feature, artist Isobel Knowles has again collaborated with Rabbit to create their first children’s book.
Published this month by Thames and Hudson, Owl Know How features Rabbit’s fuzzy felt creations shot in elaborate three-dimensional sets to create the magical locations and characters that feature in the book’s imagery.
“Cat's beautiful creatures first came into my world when I animated them for her exhibition,” says Knowles. “Almost a year later, after a lot of activity, here we are with Owl Know How!”
Following the adventures of Cornelia Rabbit as she sets out to save her cloud city with the help of a little ‘owl know how’, every scene in the 32-page book is a visual feast. At once grandly cinematic and perfectly intimate, each page is a window into Cornelia’s tiny world giving to it the effect of a perfect two-dimensional doll’s house.
Adding to the fantasy, Rabbit and Knowles have included a pattern in the book so that each reader can stitch together their very own owl, just like in the story.
Noting her keen interest in anthropomorphism (the attribution of human characteristics to animals, among other things), Rabbit says she draws inspiration from the things around her, pointing to a recently created character who’s colourful outfit was “inspired by my mid morning m&m snack.”
“I aim to do projects that are out of the ordinary and show me new ways of using animation,” say Knowles of her work and the animation that prompted this latest project.
Together, the pair have created a miniature world in the clouds that jumps out from every page, enchanting adults and children alike with its cast of felt owls and rabbits.
Owl Know How is out through Thames & Hudson and is available at all good bookstores.