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A book of drawings based on the eternal mystery of human consciousness, via a set of arcane sciences, esotericism, and the mystical.
A book of drawings based on the eternal mystery of human consciousness, via a set of arcane sciences, esotericism, and the mystical.
171 backers pledged £6,705 to help bring this project to life.

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From illustrator E Merlin Murray (that's me), comes a book of drawings which discuss the mysteries of human consciousness via the worlds of neuroscience, metaphysics, esoteric mysticism, and a whole load of other arcane sciences.

Wait, that sounds pretty heavy...

Well it sort of is - I'm discussing some of the deepest thoughts you're ever likely to have had whilst gazing up into the cosmos late at night. But it's also funny, light hearted and at times silly.  After all, these are the sort of questions to which there are no answers, only different ways of twisting the mind. 

3 of the original drawings from the book - brush and ink on antique graph paper.
3 of the original drawings from the book - brush and ink on antique graph paper.

Inspired by Victorian scientific illustrations, and drawn in brush and ink on antique paper, the drawings which make up the Mysterium cover such cutting edge sciences as Alchemy; Phrenology; Palmistry; Occultism; The Qabalah; Chinese Medicine; and Magic, the whole lot imbued with a nice measure of Sacred Geometry.

I look at Biblical scripture; Buddhism; Bhakti Yoga; Gnosticism; and Spiritualism, all as potential ways to answer the eternal questions of human existence such as:

Why are we here?

Where did we come from?

What happens next?

Is the moon really flat?

However, it must be said that these are not strictly speaking scientific illustrations, despite my heavy usage of the word science here, in various forms. They are decorative drawings about nebulous, often contradictory topics which make suggestions, offer different ways of looking at things and lead the viewer to their own conclusions about the nature of reality. 

I'm E (that's for Ed, but I'm quite pretentious) Merlin (my parents had a cruel sense of humour) Murray (I'm from Scotland), an illustrator based in the frozen wilds of rural Northumberland, in North East England. My work is mostly drawing based, but I also love animation and printmaking. When I'm not doing any of that stuff, I'm looking after one of a whole load of children; a pair of angry little dogs; and a lovely human lady. I play an old synthesiser in a traditional local reggae band. You can see more of my stuff on Instagram (@e_merlin_m) and at my website (merlinmurray.com) and get in touch with me via either of those avenues if you'd like to discuss any kind of illustration / animation based projects. 

Here's a selfie, also one of the images from the book.
Here's a selfie, also one of the images from the book.
A mockup of the book cover.
A mockup of the book cover.

The Book will be a beautiful hardback book, printed on the finest paper and bound to the highest standards by a renowned art book printer in the UK. It will contain 90 pages and 52 full colour illustrations, and will be A4 in size (8.3 x 11.7"). 

A mockup of an interior spread.
A mockup of an interior spread.

The Book will feature an introduction by Art Historian Sophia Isabella and quotations throughout from a mixture of both well known physicists, and mystics (the two being often interchangeable, but don't tell the physicists or the mystics that I said so).  

A mockup of an interior spread.
A mockup of an interior spread.

The rewards on offer include a limited edition Lino cut and a choice of two limited edition screen prints, one of which will have hand gilded embellishments. All of these have been printed by hand, by me, using the finest inks, papers, and gold leaf, and based on drawings from the Mysterium. There's also a chance to buy one of the original drawings from the book, or even to commission your own bespoke Mysterium-style illustration based on any image you like, and featuring whatever scientific data you'd like to include. None of this stuff is available to buy anywhere else in real life or on the internet. 

The rewards: Linocut / Screen Print / Gilded Screen Print
The rewards: Linocut / Screen Print / Gilded Screen Print

We're a week in, and the project is going well, so I'm adding some stretch goals. They are:

£5555 ~ A signed digital print with custom stamp in gold ink. All pledges which already include postage will receive one of these. Pictured below.

£8888 ~ Stickers. If we get to this lucky number then all pledges which already include postage will receive TWO Mysterium stickers from the selection pictured below.

Signed digital print with stamp in gold ink.
Signed digital print with stamp in gold ink.
Mysterium Stretch Goal Stickers
Mysterium Stretch Goal Stickers

Press Release

Please feel free to copy and paste the following for your blog / journal / international broadsheet newspaper:

Available now: Mysterium Conscientia - the new consciousness-based art book from illustrator E Merlin Murray. Inspired by Victorian scientific illustration it examines some of the most fundamental questions of human existence, such as 'Why are we here?', 'Where does consciousness come from?', and 'Is the moon really flat?'. Mysterium Conscientia will be a beautifully bound and printed old fashioned book of exquisite brush and ink drawings and diagrams. If you like such cutting edge sciences as Alchemy, Magick and the Occult, drawings, and thinking about things both heavy and silly, then you'll love this new book. Kickstarter rewards include a selection of beautiful limited edition prints hand-made by the artist as well as the rare chance to get hold of a bespoke illustration of you / your dog / whatever you like! 

Risks and challenges

Risks and challenges: I could conceivably die tomorrow. If this occurs, we'll probably have to cancel the whole book idea. In this case, you'd get all of your money back because I would no longer want it. Other risks: the book could take longer to print than expected, but that's unlikely. I have a good relationship with the printers, we have clear expectations, and are in constant communication. In the case of a 'No Deal' Brexit, I imagine the postage costs will go up a little but don't worry - I'll cover the deficit in that case (it'll be the least of our worries).

I reckon it'll almost certainly all be ok (in fact, I reckon that everything will almost certainly all be ok). Let's not worry about it just yet...

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About US$ 25

    The Book

    A copy of the book for you to enjoy.

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    Pledge £20 or more About US$ 25

    The Non-Material Things

    For those of you who'd like to be involved, but don't want any more things in your home, here's a digital only tier. Included is a PDF copy of the book, a video of me flicking through the book and muttering, and a special non-material-tier-only short animation based on images from the book. None of it needs to go anywhere near a postal worker, unless you are one.

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    Pledge £20 or more About US$ 25

    Just A Print

    A linocut print, cut and printed by hand, by me in a limited edition of 100. A5 in size (roughly 8x6"), printed on Fabriano Rosaspina paper.

    This tier does not include a copy of the book.

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    Pledge £33 or more About US$ 41

    The Book & A Linocut Print.

    A linocut print, cut and printed by hand, by me in a limited edition of 100. A5 in size (roughly 8x6"), printed on Fabriano Rosaspina paper.

    PLUS: This tier also includes a copy of the book.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About US$ 50

    Two Books!

    A copy of the book for you to enjoy AND another copy of the book for you to enjoy!

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    Pledge £44 or more About US$ 55

    The Book and A Screen Print

    3 colour screen print, hand printed on Fabriano Rosaspina by me in a limited edition of 100. A4 in size (roughly 8x12").

    PLUS: Also includes a copy of the book.

    PLUS: Also includes some digital treats, delivered via email (an exclusive animation and some mobile phone wallpapers).

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    Limited 19 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £66 or more About US$ 83

    The Book & A Hand-Gilded Screen Print

    3 colour screen print, hand printed on Fabriano Rosaspina by me in a limited edition of 100, PLUS hand gilded (also by me) embellishments in real gold leaf. A4 in size (roughly 8x12").

    PLUS: Also includes a copy of the book.

    PLUS: Also includes some digital treats, delivered via email (an exclusive animation and some mobile phone wallpapers).

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    Limited 10 backers
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    Pledge £111 or more About US$ 139

    An Original Drawing

    One of the original brush and ink drawings from the book, selected entirely at random.

    PLUS: Also includes a copy of the book.

    PLUS: Also includes some digital treats, delivered via email (an exclusive animation and some mobile phone wallpapers).

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £888 or more About US$ 1,111

    The Big Bang

    Loads of the stuff above - a signed copy of the book; a linocut; a screen print; a hand gilded screen print; the Non Material Things; PLUS:

    A bespoke Mysterium Conscientia illustration based around an image of your choice - this can be a photo of you / your pet / your favourite body part / a young looking Angela Merkel / - whatever you like. This can also incorporate REAL SCIENCE! Include some data of your choice and I'll present it in graph form in your drawing. You will receive an original drawing, in ink, on graph paper, A3 in size (16x12"), based around one of the cutting edge sciences covered in the Mysterium.

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Funding period

- (29 days)