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Shaun Tan - Author

About the Author

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. He has worked as a theatre designer, a concept artist for animated films including Pixar's WALL-E and directed the Academy Award-winning short film, The Lost Thing in 2011. In the same year, Tan received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, honouring his contribution to international children's literature.

Shaun Tan on himself and Eric:

"Drawing a good picture is like telling a really good lie – the key is in the incidental detail," says Shaun Tan.  (interview with Guardian Online, 2009)

“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)

Featured books by Shaun Tan

Rules of Summer

Rules of Summer

5+ readers 7+ readers

Author: Shaun Tan Illustrator: Shaun Tan Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/10/2013

Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Combining humour and surreal fantasy, Shaun Tan pictures a summer in the lives of two boys. Each spread tells of an event and the lesson learned. By turns, these events become darker and more sinister as the boys push their games further and further.

Other books by Shaun Tan

Dog

Dog

Author: Shaun Tan Illustrator: Shaun Tan Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2020

A beautifully poignant gift book exploring the relationship between man and man's best friend, from the masterful Shaun Tan. One day I threw my stick at you. You brought it back. Then we were walking side by side as if it had always been this way. World-renowned artist and storyteller Shaun Tan reflects on the nature of humans and animals in this exquisitely illustrated fable about owner and Dog. A perfect little gift book from an extraordinary talent.

The Bird King: An Artist's Sketchbook

The Bird King: An Artist's Sketchbook

Author: Shaun Tan Illustrator: Shaun Tan Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/10/2019

Award-winning artist Shaun Tan brings his story-making to life in this beautiful sketchbook, now with brand new content. A treasure trove of sketchbook pages, jottings, doodles and drawings from life reveal much about Shaun's personal style and themes in this inspiring collection. Extensive brand new content includes pencil sketches for upcoming books, development work for Eric and cover design ideas for Cicada, along with new oil paint landscape sketches and character studies. This is a must-have for any Shaun Tan fan, particularly art and illustration students, as well as any lover of story and the creative process.

Migrations Open Hearts, Open Borders

Migrations Open Hearts, Open Borders

Author: Shaun Tan, International Centre for the Picture Book in Society Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/05/2019

From all over the world, picture book illustrators sent original images and personal messages, in postcard form, for Migrations, an exhibition at the Biennial of Illustration, Bratislava, in 2017, curated by the University of Worcester's International Centre for the Picture Book in Society. Over fifty of the cards are reproduced in this very special book. The book is divided into themes of Departures, Long Journeys, Arrivals and Hope for the Future. The facsimile postcard text includes personal messages of hope from the illustrators, as well as quotes from writers including Emily Dickinson, WB Yeats, John Clare, and Anita Desai. Robert Macfarlane has written a poem specially for the postcard drawn by Jackie Morris. Illustrators include Christopher Corr, Marie-Louise Gay, Piet Grobler, Petr Horacek, Isol, Jon Klassen, Neal Layton, PJ Lynch, Roger Mello, Jackie Morris, Jane Ray, Chris Riddell, Axel Scheffler and Shaun Tan. In total, illustrators from 28 countries have contributed. Migrations carries a powerful message about human migration, showing how cultures, ideas and aspirations flow despite borders, barriers and bans.

Cicada

Cicada

Author: Shaun Tan Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/11/2018

A stunning picture book for anyone who has ever felt unappreciated, from Shaun Tan, Academy Award winner and winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal 2020. Cicada work in tall building. Data entry clerk. Seventeen year. No sick day. No mistake. Tok Tok Tok! Cicada works in an office, dutifully working day after day for unappreciative bosses and being bullied by his co-workers. But one day, something truly extraordinary happens . . . A story for anyone who has ever felt unappreciated, overlooked or overworked but dreams of magic, from Australia's most acclaimed picture book creator, and first BAME winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal. This is Shaun Tan's first author-illustrator book in five years, and his most important and moving fable since The Arrival.

Tales from the Inner City Limited Edition Gift Box

Tales from the Inner City Limited Edition Gift Box

Author: Shaun Tan Illustrator: Shaun Tan Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2018

This limited gift box edition includes an exclusive signed and numbered print. A stunningly presented collection of twenty-five illustrated short stories exploring the relationship between humans and animals, from award-winning visual storyteller Shaun Tan. Where can we live if not in each other's shadow? World-renowned artist Shaun Tan applies his extraordinary talent to a reflection on the nature of humans and animals, and our urban co-existence. From crocodile to frog; tiger to bee, this is a dark and surreal exploration of the perennial love and destruction we feel and inflict - of how animals can save us, and how we are entwined, for better or for worse. Tales from the Inner City is a truly masterly work, bearing all of Shaun Tan's trademark wit and poignancy in both its prose and exquisite illustrations. This limited gift box edition includes an exclusive signed and numbered print.

Pictura Prints: Metropolis

Pictura Prints: Metropolis

Author: Shaun Tan Illustrator: Shaun Tan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/05/2017

Pictura is a stunning range of black-and-white art to collect and colour for all ages. This large poster book format includes 12 prints, which can be removed from the book, coloured in and displayed on your wall. In this title from the urban strand, industry is born from an egg as other animals and plants look on. As it grows, metal trades metal, towns march and skyscrapers smoke, until all converge in a powerful, violent Metropolis. This mind-blowing creation myth from the inimitable Shaun Tan is yours for the colouring.

Rules of Summer

Rules of Summer

Author: Shaun Tan, Shaun Tan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2016

Author Info

Author's Website

https://www.shauntan.net/

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