Sketches from a Nameless Land The Art of the Arrival by Shaun Tan

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The Arrival has become one of the most critically acclaimed books of recent years, a wordless masterpiece that describes a world beyond any familiar time or place. How did it come to be created, and what inspired its unique and captivating story?


Sketches from a Nameless Land The Art of the Arrival by Shaun Tan

In Sketches from a Nameless Land, author Shaun Tan explains the origins of his ideas, using examples from early research and concept sketches through to finished artwork. In tracing this evolution, he sheds light on the silent language of images, the spirit of the migrant experience and the artist's creative journey.

The Arrival was sited as No 35 in The Times 100 Best Books of all time. Read more about The Arrival at


An imaginative triumph. Every home should have one. - The Times

It will fascinate and occupy adults and children alike. - The Observer

About the Author

Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the “good drawer” which partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author, concentrating mostly on writing and illustrating picture books.

Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since then he has received numerous awards for his picture books, including the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Picture Book of the Year Award for The Rabbits with John Marsden. In 2001 Shaun was named Best Artist at the World Fantasy Awards in Montreal. He has recently worked for Blue Sky Studios and Pixar, providing concept artwork for forthcoming films.

Shaun Tan on himself and Eric:

“A recurring theme in my sketchbook are characters carrying a suitcase. I’m not sure why. Sometimes it arises because I’ve drawn a character and they look silly standing there without anything in their hands, so I’ll often add a suitcase or a box. This constantly suggested a story. The story ‘Eric’ in Tales from Outer Suburbia was suggested by a similar drawing of a little character with a pointy head and the word Eric written underneath.

I do rarely give names. 'Eric' is an exception, but even then the name is a substitute for something we can’t hear or pronounce properly, so we never know his real name.” (interview with Write Away, 2009)

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Book Info


50 pages
Interest Age: From 3


Shaun Tan
More books by Shaun Tan

Author's Website


Hodder Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Books

Publication date

2nd October 2014




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