The Bird King

The Bird King : An Artist's Notebook

4.29 (1,231 ratings by Goodreads)
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A new book of sketches, artwork, and personal reflection from the brilliant mind of award-winning, bestselling author and illustrator Shaun Tan.
"I'm often wary of using the word 'inspiration' to introduce my work -- it sounds too much like a sun shower from the heavens, absorbed by a passive individual enjoying an especially receptive moment. While that may be the case on rare occasions, the reality is usually far more prosaic. Staring at a blank piece of paper, I can't think of anything original. I feel utterly uninspired and unreceptive. It's the familiar malaise of 'artist's block' and in such circumstances there is only one thing to do: just start drawing." -- Shaun Tan
And when Shaun Tan starts drawing, the results are stunning. In THE BIRD KING: AN ARTIST'S NOTEBOOK, we find a window into the creative process: the stops and starts, the ideas that never took off, and the ones that grew into something much bigger. Fans of THE ARRIVAL will recognize the quirky, surreal sensibility that is so distinctly Shaun Tan in this stunning collection, and gain insight into how his many gorgeous books were made.
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Product details

  • 9-12
  • Hardback | 128 pages
  • 162.56 x 213.36 x 17.78mm | 476.27g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, colour illustrations
  • 0545465133
  • 9780545465137
  • 56,350

Review quote

"Tan, the mastermind behind the incomparable The Arrival (2007) and "Lost and Found "(2011), opens up his sketchbooks and offers up an array of drawings, doodles, and visual experiments. Separated into works for books, theater, and film; life drawings; notebooks; and tantalizing glimpses of untold stories, the entries all share Tan's unique trademarks. Unmistakable are his flawless craftsmanship, his organically industrial yet timeless aesthetic, and his lyrically haunting style and tone. Given their own page and focus, many details that might have attracted merely a glance in larger works are turned here from a flourish into a full-fledged character or visual idea. Simultaneously, mechanics of his world-building skill come clear, like a penchant for embellishing illustrations to make them appear a part of a larger blueprint or schematic, giving the sense of a small image within a vast tapestry that is itself an infinitely branching world of imagination. The author's stated hope is that, in their evolutionary examination of images and narratives, the sketchbook pages "offer a privileged insight into the creative process." So it does, making it an invaluable resource for burgeoning visual storytellers. But even for those interested in little more than pondering and daydreaming, this is a powerful springboard for the imagination." - Jesse Karp, Booklist starred review Praise for THE ARRIVAL
"A wordless tour de force" -- Time Out New York Kids
"[A]n unashamed paean to the immigrant's spirit, tenacity and guts, perfectly crafted for maximum effect." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Filled with both subtlety and grandeur, the book is a unique work that not only fulfills but also expands the potential of its form." -- Booklist, starred review
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2007
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2007
An ALA Notable Children's Book, 2008
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About Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan is the author and illustrator of the award-winning, bestselling graphic novel THE ARRIVAL, and also TALES FROM OUTER SUBURBIA, a collection of illustrated short stories. Both books were named to the New York Times list of Best Illustrated Children's Books. He won an Oscar for his short film "The Lost Thing" based on a story in the book LOST & FOUND: THREE BY SHAUN TAN, and he is also the recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Shaun Tan lives in Melbourne, Australia.
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Rating details

1,231 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
5 50% (615)
4 33% (408)
3 14% (175)
2 2% (22)
1 1% (11)

Our customer reviews

Reviewed by Avery, age 9 I could not get enough of this book. I LOVED it so much and was super-excited to find out Shaun Tan has more books like this. This book is exactly what the title says: "an artist's notebook." Each page is filled with something amazing that came from his imagination. It is neat because some of it is downright silly or doesn't make sense, and I like abstract art. I draw all the time and have since I could pick up my first pencil. ...Read Full Review at more
by Kim Heimbuch
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