Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Bird King (and other sketches) by Shaun Tan (Templar Books)

Observing other people's art processes and looking at even their roughest work is always inspirational. I make no pretence that I'm any kind of an 'artist' per se, but I enjoy the processes, enjoy the constant struggle to find a style and also enjoy seeing how other folk do the same. Massively talented artists like Shaun Tan make it all look so easy, but in "The Bird King (and other sketches)" we get to see some of Shaun Tan's rough initial drafts, that later went on to become the sumptuous works of art we know and love.

My wife recently bought me a Shaun Tan sketchbook (as in a book to actually sketch in) and it felt like an act of irreverence for me to start scribbling away in it, particularly as the book has an awesome 'space koala' cover, and the sort of little scribbles in the end paper that are peppered throughout The Bird King.

I showed this book to Charlotte and it was great to see her instantly recognising roughs from "The Rabbits" (by John Marsden and Shaun Tan) and "The Red Tree".

Have to admit though, this is one I bought for me.

There's a frame of mind you enter into, sometimes unknowingly, when you see how Shaun Tan matches the familiar with the downright harrowing. Really can't wait to complete our Tan collection, and also pick up his latest book, The Rules of Summer (due later this year)

Charlotte's best bit: The awesome giant rabbit walking silently past a suburban house

Daddy's favourite bit: Tan's other-worldly misplaced and mish-mash creations (like the brilliant barnacle-encrusted diving guy from "Tales of Outer Suburbia")