Creature: Paintings, Drawings, and Reflections by Tan, Shaun

Creature: Paintings, Drawings, and Reflections

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From the creator of The Arrival, a collection of essays illuminating his thoughts and advice for writers and artists, young and old.

Shaun Tan is one of the world's most highly acclaimed narrative artists--his stories and images are loved by countless young and not-so-young readers around the world. Drawing upon 25 years as a picture book and comics creator, painter, and film-maker, Creature explores the central obsession of this visionary artist, from casual doodles to studied oil-paintings.

Beyond sketches for acclaimed works such as The Arrival, The Lost Thing, and Tales From Outer Suburbia, this volume collects together for the first time unseen and stand-alone illustrations, each resonant with unwritten tales of their own. Detailed commentary by the artist offers an entertaining insight into the endless allure of imaginary, non-human beings and what they might tell us about our so-called "normal" human selves.

Artists, writers, students, dreamers, and anyone interested in the deeper undercurrents of creativity, myth, and visual metaphor will find inspiration in these pages.


"Weird and wonderful. Tan often explores the junction between adult experience and childhood memory."
--The Sydney Morning Herald

"A strange beast: dark, whimsical and deeply moving."
--The Guardian

"Like Miyazaki, Tan engages audiences across a wide range of age and sophistication."
--The New York Times

★ "Tan acts as artist, curator, interpretive essayist, and catalog editor for a gallery of over two hundred pieces of his own works that highlight a dominant theme of animate beings--some real, most invented, but all fellow travelers through our world and through our psyches."
--BCCB (starred)

★ "This gorgeously designed coffee-table survey of his picture book, comics, exhibition and sketchbook work exposes readers to a 26-year panoply of off-kilter conceptions, in all their disquieting delight. Wondrous."
--Booklist (starred)

Author: Shaun Tan
Binding Type: Hardcover
Publisher: Levine Querido
Published: 11/01/2022
Pages: 224
Weight: 3.5lbs
Size: 10.90h x 10.10w x 1.60d
ISBN: 9781646142002
Audience: Ages 9-12

Review Citation(s):
Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks 10/01/2022 - Book Of Special Distinction
Booklist 10/15/2022 pg. 44
Shelf Awareness 11/04/2022
School Library Journal 12/01/2022 pg. 103

About the Author
Shaun Tan is an artist, writer, and filmmaker from Perth, Australia. Known for his dream-like imagery and fantastical creatures, Shaun's work is enjoyed world-wide by children and adults alike. Shaun is the recipient of an Academy Award for the short, animated film The Lost Thing, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in Sweden, and the Kate Greenaway Medal in the UK. He currently resides in Melbourne. Visit him online at