Day 4: Shaun Tan

Welcome to Day 4 of the totally unofficial EWF Book Club.

If this is your first time here, please have a quick read of this page (don’t worry it’ll open in a new window) to get the rundown on what EWF BK is all about.

Now, on with the show…


Today we discuss Shaun Tan’s Advice for a new Illustrator.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. Sure the title’s self explanatory, but being a non-drawer myself I wasn’t sure how ‘included’ I’d feel reading it. Well Shaun’s essay is certainly pitched to ‘someone else’ but everything makes sense to we the non-artists. (If you are an artist, even a ‘yes I do it but I’m not very good’ level of doodler.. please leave a comment; love to hear from you.)

And here’s the big surprise for the artistically-challenged…

For much of the article you can transpose the words ‘draw’ for ‘write’, change ‘artist’ to ‘writer’… and the advice/insights are absolutely applicable. Here a few quotes that resonate with me..

“A good artist is.. an eternal student… They are forever pottering in their backyard spaces, try to explore their craft with modest integrity… As the late Robert Hughes put it ‘perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize‘… <I -love- that  quote – click here to Tweet it>

“The greatest achievement of so much creative work is simply finding time and dedication to do it…”

“…I don’t recommend waiting around for such [lucky breaks] to come knocking on your door – far better to just gather your best material together and go looking for them.”

So, what did you get out of Advice for a new Illustrator? Do you have any drawing skills/aspirations yourself? Please – hit the comments below!

Come back from 9am tomorrow and we’ll feature our first copywriter from the book… For an easy no-spam reminder, just scroll ‘up and to the right’ and subscribe via email or RSS. Or follow me on Twitter. I’ll be tweeting the latest post each day with the hashtag #EWFbookclub.

Of course, this a book club discussion becomes more interesting with each new member who contributes.   Can you help spread the word?

Today’s tweet..

Award-winning illustrator Shaun Tan has insights for writers AND artists in today’s #EWFbookclub <click to tweet this>

Or here’s a generic one…

Let’s read/discuss the @EmergingWriters book. 36 articles/36 days. Join us? via @gabemcgrath #ewf13  <click to tweet this>

If you’re not a Twitter user, a quick link to this post on your Facebook, blog or similar would be appreciated.

Thanks for joining the totally unofficial EWF book group – see you tomorrow!


About Gabe McGrath

Freelance writer, radio creative, retro gamer and a dad. Gabe's writing has appeared in , My Child, Retro Gamer, , & more. Editor in Chief of JustOneMoreGame
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One Response to Day 4: Shaun Tan

  1. Edwina Shaw says:

    Love that quote about artists/writers being eternal students. Writers are creative artists. It’s important to spend time pottering and playing to keep the creative well ( as good old Ernie Hemingway called it) full enough to keep drawing from.

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