HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Illustration Inspiration: Ben Clanton, We Are the Dinosaurs
Illustration Inspiration Ben Clanton We Are the Dinosaurs (1)

Illustration Inspiration: Ben Clanton, We Are the Dinosaurs

The Children’s Book Review | March 22, 2017

Ben Clanton is an author and illustrator whose books include It Came in the Mail, Something Extraordinary, Rex Wrecks It!, Mo’s Mustache, The Table Sets Itself, and Vote for Me! He lives with his wife in Seattle, Washington.

I make art because …

It feels good! Creating things brings out the best in me and fills me with purpose. It’s my passion! 

My latest published book is …

WE ARE THE DINOSAURS by Laurie Berkner and illustrated by me and also the board book edition of REX WRECKS IT!, so lots of dinosaurs!

 Art medium used …

 Colored pencils, watercolors, acrylics, and paper textures.

 Artistic process …

Each book is a bit different but I always start out by getting to know the characters. For WE ARE THE DINOSAURS I drew oodles and oodles of dinosaurs and discovered their personalities and picked those that fit well with Laurie’s lyrics. When creating the final art I started with all the linework in the book and then did color. It was a slightly different process than normal for me. Usually I see a piece through to completion before moving on to another. For this book I more or less created a coloring book and then had fun coloring it in. I created all the elements for the art using traditional medium but assembled it using Adobe Photoshop. While making the art I definitely played Laurie Berkner songs a lot to help my mind be in the right space.

I am inspired by …

 All sorts of things! I find inspiration everywhere! I’ve come up with stories when standing in line for ice cream, when digging up potatoes, and when thinking about my mailbox. But I find school visits to be particularly inspiring. My brain is usually over-flowing with idea flotsam after talking with kids and brainstorming during school visits.

My favorite place to create & illustrate is …

 When out for a walk or an adventure. My best work is done in my mind when I’m exploring or simply taking in the world. I then spend oodles of time holed up in my studio trying to take those creations out of my head and put them on paper.

My most used art supply or tool is …

Paper and pencil! 

Illustrator idols …

Far too many to name, but a few of my favorites are David Roberts, Quentin Blake, Melissa Sweet, Jon J. Muth, Chris Riddell, Bill Peet, and Suzy Lee. 

All-time favorite children’s book I didn’t illustrate…

There are Cats in this Book by Viviane Schwarz 

A literary character to create art with …

Matilda because she is so clever and kind and creative. I think we’d have fun making art! 

Currently working on …

The third book in my Narwhal & Jelly early graphic novel series and I’m also working on illustrating another Laurie Berkner song, Monster Boogie. Also just finishing up work on ROT: The Cutest in the World, a picture book about a mutant potato. 


Connect with Ben Clanton …

BenClanton.com | NarwhalAndJelly.com | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

We Are the DinosaursWe Are The Dinosaurs

Written by Laurie Berkner

Illustrated by Ben Clanton

Publisher’s Synopsis: Laurie Berkner, “the queen of children’s music,” (People) pairs the lyrics of her beloved hit with Ben Clanton’s whimsical illustrations in this winning, adorable picture book—a must-have for fans of Laurie, dinosaurs, and all things cute.

We are the dinosaurs
Marching, marching
We are the dinosaurs

Laurie Berkner’s chart-topping, beloved hit “We Are the Dinosaurs” is now a picture book! Featuring an adorable cast of characters and vibrant, playful art by Ben Clanton, We Are the Dinosaurs transports readers back in time to when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.


Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1481464635

Available Here: 

Discover more picture book illustration inspiration and books like We Are the Dinosaurs, written by Laurie Berkner and illustrated by Ben Clanton, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our Illustration Inspiration series and articles tagged with 

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