Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Arrival

I fell head over heels in love with illustration when I first laid eyes on the picture book "The Cinder-eyed Cats" in 1997. Looking at that cover -- those tigers staring back at me -- it touched something deeply intrinsic to who I am and drove me to be an illustrator.

I've not had that degree of inspirational excitement since then.

Until now.

"The Arrival" by Shaun Tan just came out, and flipping through it I was struck again with that same awe and inspiration. It is a story of Immigration, told through powerful images. The setting is a fantastical landscape, so the effect is that we journey with the immigrant, seeing what he sees, feeling what he feels, confused as we also see the odd arrangement of foods and buildings and modes of transportation for the very first time.

The illustrations are gorgeous -- mind-blowing in their detail and scope. The work is, in a word, "Epic." One of the most amazing books I've ever seen.

So why mention it here on this blog? Two reasons -- first, to plug the book! It's super!

And second -- there is a Winsor McCay tie. On the back cover in the midst of the praise quotes, Jeff Smith author of Bone says,
"Wordless, but with perfect narative flow, Tan gives us a story filled with city-scapes worthy of Winsor McCay."
So how far back do you have to go to find a comparison worthy of the decade's most wonderful book? Yep - you stop at Winsor McCay...

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