Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The key to the kingdom, pencil and ink, 2010

A version of a recurring figure in my sketchbooks, originally inspired by armor worn by a tribesman in Papua New Guinea (I think, from an old National Geographic). A similar character appears in Rules of Summer, and the endpapers of Tales from Outer Suburbia. There's always a great sense of urgency when a character is running with an object: this picture didn't seem very interesting until I added the key.


  1. Hello Mr. Shaun Tan. Lets start off saying that you are a truly amazing artist. You are a favorite of my husbands who is also an artist. I decided that for Christmas I would get him one of your prints. I purchased Proud Parents, because it reminds me most of him and what he likes in your creativity(and also because he is a proud parent of our 4 kids!) :) I was also going to purchase the book that it says its from (What Miscellaneous Abnormality Is That) I have looked high and low and can not find one single copy to purchase to go along with the print gift that I bought him! I know this is a shot in the dark to try and get a hold of an important busy artist, but I thought I would give it a try! Is there any chance at all that you could locate just one copy of that book?! I know it would mean a lot to him and be an amazing gift :)
    If there is anyone on your team who could help me out I would love that SO much!
    Thank you for your time and all you do! Keep up the cool artwork!!

    1. Hi Hannah, thanks for your generous comments - and proud parents is also one of my favourite 'lost thing' drawings. The book, 'What Miscellaneous Abnormality Is That?' is unfortunately out of print, being part of a very limited edition sold with the Lost Thing DVD, and even I don't have any copies handy I'm sorry to say! You might be able to search for one better knowing it is part of a first edition DVD though; you might also try contacting the distributor Madmen Entertainment (Australia), although not sure they'd have any either. If anyone reading this can help out, do get in touch with Hannah! Anyway, best wishes to your husband and kids, sorry I can't be of more help.

  2. i like this charcter..the armor gives him a sense of mistery too...very intriguing...EW


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