The Red Tree

The picture book “The Red Tree” written and illustrated by Shaun Tan published in the year 2001 presents a fragmented journey of a girl through a dark and frightening world.. The Red Tree follows the a lonely red-headed girl through her daily life; stating how she feels and depicting her dark, gloomy concerns. The visual image I have chosen provides an excellent portrayal of depression and the effects of isolation. The illustrator uses various visual techniques to portray the consequences of not belonging on the individual.
The participant in The Red Tree is positioned in the forefront of the image and is the only person in the frame therefore making her the most salient feature which in turn emphasizes her loneliness. She is shown to be wearing a weighty diving mask, huddled in a glass bottle on a stormy shoreline. The image is supported by just two words ‘Nobody Understands” which stresses feelings of sadness and sorrow. She’s alone and stuck, so small in such a huge world feeling alienated and isolated.
The illustrator uses colour connotation effectively by using obscure colours to convey the insecure, gloomy feeling underlining the mood of the girl and her surroundings.   The use of the black in the background conjures the darkness in which the girl is in, creating a sense of coldness. It signifies how sad and depressed she feels highlighting the loss and confusion which are the results of not belonging.   Tan contrasts the darkness of the black with a smokey mixture of white and dark blue on the horizon creating the sense of a distant light, perhaps a solution or a way out from her problems, somewhere she can belong. It can also portray how far she is from the horizon and the reality of her barrier, the bottle.       The girls is located in an arid and unfriendly environment showing that that depending on the environment a sense of belonging or not belonging is created..
The bottle relates to a cliché “bottle up your feelings”. Visually, it acts as a...