Interview with Shaun Tan (part 3)
Are there any graphic novelists in particular that you gravitate towards? Did any of them affect The Arrival?
Yes, there are a handful. Raymond Briggs was one who probably had the greatest influence on The Arrival, especially in the early concept stages, which took some cues from his silent picture book The Snowman. I was also very influenced by the work of Chris Ware, who takes the comics form to a new level of sophistication and invention with his book Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid On Earth. Other graphic novelists I especially like include Daniel Clowes, Art Spiegelman, Edward Gorey, Dave McKean and Jim Woodring. Many have drawn parallels between Woodring’s surreal, silent Frank stories and my own book, although these are quite coincidental, as I only discovered his work in the middle of working on The Arrival. Three books that have impressed me recently include Epileptic by David B., Blankets by Craig Thompson, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Often I’m attracted to anything with a strong story, where the style of art is perfectly suited to its telling, and it could not be told in any form other than a graphic novel.
You’ve done some work for Pixar, I see. Any particular films you’re proud to have worked on?
Unfortunately I can’t talk about it because the film is not out yet! I have also done some work for Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age, Robots), which involved drawings and concepts at the early phase of production. It’s an adaptation of Dr Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who, and I can say this because it’s already publicly announced: http://www.blueskystudios.com/content/company-pressrelease.php?id=20
For further reading
– Please be so good as to check out Shaun Tan’s website with particular care taken to read his thoughts on The Arrival.
– The following essays by Shaun Tan Picture Books: Who Are They For? and Originality and Creativity are worth reading.
– Read The Guardian‘s recent article on The Arrival and its wordless influence.
And further SBBT Interviews today can be found at the following sites:
- Laura Ruby at Miss Erin
- Bennett Madison at Shaken & Stirred
- Chris Crutcher at Bookshelves of Doom
- Holly Black at The YA YA YAs
- Kazu Kibuishi at Finding Wonderland
- Christopher Golden at Bildungsroman
- David Brin at Chasing Ray
- Kirsten Miller at Jen Robinson’s Book Page
- Sara Zarr at Big A, little a
- Sonya Hartnett at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Filed under: Uncategorized
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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