Creature by Shaun Tan
Shaun Tan is an artist, writer, and filmmaker from Perth, Australia. His career is one to remember, filled with fantastical creatures and surrealist imagery that have won multiple awards (including an Oscar).
The themes of this hefty book are his sketchbooks and his motivations to draw the creatures, companions, myths, birds, and mysteries therein, in varied styles that range from charcoal to oils, in a manner that is both instantly recognizable and perfectly unique.
“[A] human being is just one more strange creature in a strange world, always looking for the companionship of another. Someone to talk to, someone to listen, and someone to just sit with in silence and ponder how unlikely it is that any of us should even exist in the first place.” (Saun Tan)
Beyond sketches for acclaimed works such as The Arrival, The Lost Thing, and Tales From Outer Suburbia, this volume collects together many unseen and stand-alone illustrations, and the commentary offered by the author concerning the motivations behind his work is extraordinary.
“As an artist, I always like to check the ‘truth’ of an image by trying to assess its similarity to those myths that fascinate me the most, like that of the rainbow serpent. Drawing or painting feel strange enough, yet also real, like the memory of something that happened a very long time ago? A story I may have seen, read, or heard about elsewhere? An old question in search of a contemporary answer?” (Saun Tan)
This would be an amazing book for anyone interested in illustration art: filmmakers, animators, illustrators, and dreamers alike.