news and works in progress from Shaun Tan
Hi Shaun , I guess those following questions are difficult ones to answer to but : Do you spent more time accumulating all kind of visual material for your stories than spending more time drawing & writing the stories "straight ahead " ? According to some interviews I saw and read from you explaining your story telling process mine is very similar to yours... so what do you do when you're so immerse in this process that you find yourself get completely lost ? do you go for more research accumulation details ? or you still go back and forth to new unfinished stories ?Keep your mind's eye visions alive , You are one of the very few being a cross roads artist full of unlimited possibilities for everyone of us to explore , keep up us thinking out side the boxes. Jacques
Hello Jacques. Those are good questions. As a general rule, I have a long period of thinking and researching about a project, and then if it seems to come together as a good idea, I begin a process of sketching, painting or whatever works to realise it in a more concrete and coherent form. But during that I am always skipping back and forth to research, and in between different paintings or stories, depending upon what I think I need. It is often a bit random actually, and changes from project to project. To answer the problem of immersion or 'getting lost' in a thing, yes, if I feel that something is losing connection with reality, or has lost it's way, I've learned to take a break and later return to it. That will sometimes involve going back to earlier research and sketches. This happened a lot with 'The Arrival', were it would begin to feel 'fake'. Then I would stop and return to my starting point and do more research into migrant experience, look carefully at more old photos and so on. I also might have two projects going at once, so that if I run into trouble with one, I can skip over to the other one, rather that feel like I'm banging my head against a wall. Taking a break, getting some distance, letting go of a certain attachment or obsession with unimportant detail, can be very helpful.
Thanks a lot Shaun for your very , very useful comments ! everything you wrote is so actual and so similar to what I get through every single day on my own process . I noticed when one start concentrate only on the feeling of something it's sometimes easier to define how to unfold what's need to be add to a story line ,the most sensitive it is the better ,to me a a good idea is mainly to face an exciting cross roads of possibilities rather than starting by an idea of " a good joke" , adding different things on the SAME subject , can define quickly something strikingly funny or poetic, plus all kind of variations , animation , movements to create and make this all process evolve by drawing everything on bits of paper rather than sketchbooks , trading ,permuting one picture to another before using a light box to final clean up . Sometimes research by collecting real life facts merge so strangely fostering the so call "fiction" that it is like entering the both sides of the coin at once , weird but so rewarding .How I would like to meet you ...maybe one day if you come to Paris .Jacques
Yes, it's a kind of alchemy that never gets too predictable, yet not so crazy that you can't repeat it. Paper scraps, permutations, just doing stuff, not letting ideas settle into obvious pathways, kind of keeping them a bit in the air. Hope to get to Paris one day, it's been 20 years since I travelled there (!), hope to meet you if I do.