TEGN: book one is the first of three books planned by Even Mehl Amundsen. The book came out as the result of a personal project where the artist challenged himself to draw 366 illustrations telling 366 stories!

These drawings and stories were published online daily, on his facebook page, during a year’s time. Later on they were compiled into one book. The book’s publishing was paid for using the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter , in 2017. I backed up the project because I love the author’s art, but I must confess, I wasn’t ready for what came in the mail!

The package didn’t just contain a book, but also a A4 sized print of great quality and a pretty book marker. The book is, no doubt, the most wonderful edition I’ve ever seen! The cover is made of a very sturdy material, with a ridged texture that looks like leather. The colours are perfect. The binding is garnisheed with resistant fabric. The finishing details is so amazing and it shows a professionalism from the editor and printer that I haven’t seen before. I was pleasantly surprised by the form.

What I expected from the content was simple. Good art, featuring different characters, followed by small descriptions. Well, I was positively surprised on this too!

The character creation is indeed fantastic. The feeling of immersion into this world is also as I imagined. But I wasn’t ready for the level of story commitment brought by TEGN. Even’s writing is creative and sensible. The characters are connected, the stories overlap, there is a build up, a structure, a well thought pathos. This isn’t, after all, a common artbook, neither it is a novel, but a sort of illustrated album. It stands on it’s own as a whole new book format, never seen before, where words and pictures coexist at the same level.

I ended up hopelessly lost in the story, starring female warriors and wise dwarfs, dragon keepers, fauns and other magical creatures. Even managed to create a fantasy world that feels quite real (with it’s viking, celtic and arabic inspirations), with traditions, cultures and costumes. All the needed ingredients for a epic fantasy universe are here. I can hardly wait for the next book.