news and works in progress from Shaun Tan
full of poetry... very nice.. ew
Thank you for this enjoyable post
Great work Shaun, love goats! (as my logo is the flying goat). Am illustrating myself and would love to meet with you one day for some advice.., not sure if this ok? My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org Much appreciated, thanks.
Hi Christopher, it would be terrific to meet other illustrators regularly, alas I don't have time between work and family to take on such requests. However you are welcome to ask questions via email or this blog, where others might share an interest in common problems.
Hi Shaun, totally understand, work and family do take up so much time! Cheers.
Hello Shaun! I have a question regarding how do you work: When you work on a new book ¿How many hours you put on the new book and how many hours on side proyects every day, in the week? Right now I'm working a book as well, but I find it difficult to just work on the same proyect all the days, sometimes I like to work on little proyects as well, but I don´t know If at the end will affect my book the time I don´t work on it , or If it's necessary to work this little proyects as well to not lose interest in the main book proyect.
I would say whatever best keeps your levels of motivation or inspiration up. I like to have two or three projects on the go so I can switch when I get tired of or bored with each one, which frequently happens. Sometimes being away from a book means losing momentum; other times it offers a good critical distance. So it's really a matter of balance. In any case, my working life is quite erratic... I just do what I can, when I can, and it takes as long as it takes!
Hi Shaun, Did you ever do any work in refugee camps or humanitarian settings? I do humanitarian work with children (I’m a child psychologist and country director of an international NGO), and these days I’m working in Gaza. I keep thinking how beautiful your work would be for children here. Something about the sense of mystery in it, this sense of possibility for something bizarre and amazing to exist in a child’s normal environment, that I’d love them to experience. I grew up in Melbourne and moved away. After doing humanitarian work for a while I am a bit crusty and hard to move, but your work kind of unlocks something in me, and I feel like a kid when I look at it – really how a kid feels, not like I’m in a Caroline Springs advertisement splashing under a sprinkler, I mean that real everything mixed together feeling like boredom and hope and fear and wondering and fun and horror and routine all together. And your work makes me see Melbourne in a different light, I see beauty where I didn’t before. Kids in Gaza don’t get to be kids that much. They inherit this sense of hopelessness – everything tells them there are no possibilities for them. They can’t leave Gaza (and it’s only about the size of a few Melbourne suburbs altogether, with 1.8 million people stuck inside), there are no jobs, everything is kind of rubbly and dusty, bombed out buildings that never got remade, not much green, no space because everyone’s crammed in together and can’t leave. There are literally huge jail walls surrounding them, and everything is a reminder of the trap they live in. I feel like the kids here don't get much opportunity to have a real sense of wonder and possibility, and to get to see their environment through their own eyes, if that makes sense. Everything they see is politicized and the kids can get sort of militarized from an early age. But there’s sometimes a weird beauty in the environment in Gaza as well, and some funny contradictions (like there's a run down old seaside park in the middle of it all) and it always makes me think of your work. Anyway I just wondered if you ever did any work or illustrations in a setting like that in the past?Anna
Hi Anna, great bit of observational writing here about childhood and Gaza, you describe them so vividly and well. I've not had the opportunity so far to visit this region or anywhere similar, but it's something I'm sure I'll do at some stage; in my work only parts of the Arrival might touch obliquely, being based fairly directly on research of refugee experience. But that other kind of peril, that entrapment of body, mind and future (which is in the mind, the crippling of imagination which accompanies politicization) that's another story. Many sketches of mine touch on it but not in a sustained or really meaningful way perhaps. Btw, I've followed the work of Joe Sacco and met him once, he takes an interesting approach as an investigative illustrator, worth a look given your experience. Congratulations on your own work too, I can only imagine how challenging it is at all levels, particularly on that question of hope vs despair. Should you need a bunch of books for kids / libraries, let me know.
OMG this is gorgeous! I love you work!!! sorry big fan...
Hi Shaun, Thanks for replying in such a considered way and apologies for taking a while to respond, I have been travelling. Visually, it's the Lost Thing that resonates so much here - the beach with the wall next to it especially. I showed the film to some kids here and they were so fascinated.We have a series of (small) children's libraries in Gaza and the West Bank - if by any chance you have published anything translated to Arabic, I would love to bring them here. My email is email@example.com if you'd like to organise something. All the best,Anna.