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Pencil sketches of the boy and his father watching television © Passion Pictures Australia
  • Storytelling

    Part of the Shaun Tan Education Resource.

    Introduction

    Shaun Tan, like many artists, draws all the time, exploring ideas that may come to nothing or, alternatively, form the basis for a story. The story of The Lost Thing emerged from a small sketch, a drawing of a tiny man talking to a huge crab on a beach.

    An insight into storytelling techniques

    Shaun Tan talks about the origin of The Lost Thing and the development between the characters within the story.

    In this module: Respond  |  Reflect  |  Explore  |  Create


    Respond

    • Shaun Tan’s discussion of his creative process as a picture book writer and illustrator is illuminating and engaging.
      • What aspects of Shaun Tan’s creative process stand out for you?
    Shaun Tan on writing technique

    Shaun Tan speaks about the challenges of writing fiction and connecting with audiences.

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    Reflect

    Shaun Tan comments that when he first begins a project, he starts off with very small sketches: ‘The reason they are so small, and often done with just a pencil on copy paper or even a biro is that the moment that I start thinking I’m creating a significant work of art it becomes terrible.’Early sketches of The Lost Thing

    © Passion Pictures Australia

    • Starting a project, particularly a creative project can be hard and people have different ways of working creatively and different techniques for getting started.
    • How do you begin a new project?
      • If you are wanting to be creative, what techniques do you use?
      • Do you use the same strategies each time, or do the strategies you use depend on the nature of the project you are working on?

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    Explore

    • Focus on an artist, writer, filmmaker or musician whose work you admire.
      • Try to find out more about the way s/he develops ideas for a new project.

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    Create

    • It is amazing to think that The Lost Thing was inspired by a single tiny drawing of a boy sitting on the beach talking to a large crab. 
      • Find an image that sparks your imagination and create an artwork or piece of writing inspired by this single image.

    Asking Around Create Feature Image

    © Passion Pictures Australia and Screen Australia

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    Lost Thing Boy