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The Big Screen: The Lost Thing- Shaun Tan

Year 11/12 English Studies




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Oscar winning illustrator Shaun Tan talks about his work at the State Library of Victoria.

In this STVDIO ArtBreak, artist, illustrator and writer Shaun Tan at the Sydney Opera House talks about the process of his book The Lost Thing becoming an Oscar-winning animated short film.

Illustrator Shaun Tan demonstrates how to draw 'The Lost Thing'. 'Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing.

The production team talk about their contribution to creating the sounds and sights that are part of the fantastical and intriguing land that is Utopia.

Shaun Tan is an artist and author whose illustrated works have received widespread acclaim. His works transcend the 'picture book' genre through their meditative exploration of daunting spaces and existential themes. If his illustrations contain threatening elements, they are rarely found in the characters and dialogue - instead the structuring logic comes from the liminal and transitory spaces through which his characters move. Shrinking the inter-planetary themes of science fiction to fit the suburbs, Shaun has also worked as an author, compiling a number of his short stories for the collection Tales from Outer Suburbia. In recent years he's applied his techniques to animation, directing the Oscar winning short film The Lost Thing. Whilst the final product was produced using CGI, all the forms and textures started out as two-dimensional, painted surfaces.

An excerpt from our interview with the author and illustrator of 'The Lost Thing', Shaun Tan. In this clip, Tan discusses the animation process and provides insight into his spectacular body of work.

Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Shaun Tan

Education Resource

Teacher's Notes by Nancy Mortimer

The Lost Thing is the first picture book that Shaun Tan has both written and illustrated, and the result is a wonderful, warm, humorous story that will be read and enjoyed by a wide range of ages. There is so much to pore over and ponder in this book that it will be a welcome addition to the resources that teachers have to draw on.