Shaun Tan is a graphic illustrator of very poignant short allegorical graphic novels whose work I very much admire. The strength is in the combination of very strong visual dynamics and simplification, coupled with a high level of artistic skill. His recent work uses maquettes and puppets.
Shaun Tan is an Australian artist, writer and film maker. He won an Academy Award for The Lost Thing, a 2011 animated film adaptation of a 2000 picture book he wrote and illustrated. Beside The Lost Thing, The Red Tree and The Arrival are books he has written and illustrated. These have different but distinctive approaches to layout and combining image and text. Some of these have been animated – either straight animation of the illustrations with types text, or CGI.
His artistic process
Initially, Tan works in black and white because the final reproductions would be printed that way. Some black and white mediums he uses include pens, inks, acrylics, charcoal, scraperboard, photocopies, and linocuts.
Tan’s current colour works still begin in black and white. He uses a graphite pencil to make sketches on ordinary copy paper. The sketches are then reproduced numerous times with different versions varying with parts added or removed. Sometimes scissors are used for this purpose. The cut and paste collage idea in these early stages is often extend to the finished production with many of his illustrations using such materials as “glass, metal, cuttings from other books and dead insects”.
Tan describes himself as a slow worker who revises his work many times along the way. He is interested in loss and alienation, and believes that children in particular react well to issues of natural justice.