I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I read?: Shaun Tan: The Exclusive Pre-#NY13SCBWI Interview

Shaun Tan Interview

Extract from the end of a Lee Wind blog interview with Shaun Tan:

Lee:  As a writer, I'm familiar with the revision process for words. What's your revision process for images?

Shaun:  Very similar actually, like moving paragraphs around, rewording sentences, adding and subtracting here and there. For images, I tend to do equivalent visual adjustments by drawing over the top of previous draft sketches using a lightbox. I keep the bits I like - trace them off - and rework the bits I don't like. I'll sometimes use scissors and tape to cut out and rearrange parts; since working digitally, I can do a lot of this in Photoshop too. In fact, although almost all my final art is hand-made, there's a lot of digital editing that goes in in my preliminary sketches.

Lee:  That's fascinating! What have you learned over the course of your career so far that you wish you had known when you started?

Shaun:  I think to just relax and have more faith in my intuition. As a younger artist, I worried too much about where my work fit in, its significance and so on, not to mention the problems of generating income. Most of those issues resolved when I just trusted in my own ideas, beginning with a picture book 'The Rabbits', where I more or less thought, to hell with it, I'll just do whatever I want and not care if it all falls in a heap or even gets published. As it turns out, that book was the turning point in my career as an illustrator, doing something nobody else had really seen before (including me!).