HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Illustration Inspiration: Benjamin Schipper, Henry and the Chalk Dragon
Illustration Inspiration Benjamin Schipper Henry and the Chalk Dragon

Illustration Inspiration: Benjamin Schipper, Henry and the Chalk Dragon

The Children’s Book Review | April 6, 2017

Benjamin Schipper is also the illustrator of Cap’n Rex & His Clever Crew by Henry Herz (Sterling Children’s Books, August 1, 2017). He lives with his wife in Greenville, South Carolina, where in addition to working on his own projects, he teaches art at a homeschool co-op.

I make art because …

I love it. I love it so much I spent many years creating “bad” art, eventually that art became “good” if not just better. Now apparently it’s good enough that people want to hire me to make more of it, for that I’m thankful.

My latest published book is …

Henry and the Chalk Dragon

Art medium used …

The art medium I used to create this book was pretty simple, just a Blackwing (a soft led) pencil, marker paper, and Adobe Photoshop.

Artistic Process …

My process is to sketch everything on a small, “thumbnail,” size. After I get a good composition for the cover and illustrations I scan and enlarge the sketches, then print them out and trace the finished line drawings on marker paper over them with a Blackwing pencil. I then scan the full sized drawings into my computer, open them in Photoshop and then clean them up. For the cover I put the line drawings over a black background and made them lighter colors like chalk, then I added some textures and then call it quits.

Illustration by Benjamin Schipper from HENRY AND THE CHALK DRAGON by Jennifer Trafton. Illu s. © 2017 Benjamin Schipper

Illustration by Benjamin Schipper from HENRY AND THE CHALK DRAGON by Jennifer Trafton. Illu s. © 2017 Benjamin Schipper


I am inspired by …

I’m inspired by rainy days, dead and living trees, music that makes you cry, movies where the main character actually dies—sad stuff, but meaningful, I think.

My favorite place to create and illustrate is …

My office is my favorite place to create and illustrate. I’m surrounded by my favorite books, it’s filled with my favorite music, the lighting is just so, and my dog Willow warms my lap as I sit at my desk. It’s the best.

My most used art supply or tool is …

My most used art supply is a small Moleskine sketchbook and a Bic mechanical pencil; all my ideas and illustrations start there.

Illustrator idols …

My illustrator idols are Georges Beuville, Warwick Johnson Cadwell, Alexis Deacon, Tove Jansson, Hergé, Cory Godbey, Mike Mignola, N.C. Wyeth, Cory Loftis, and many, many more.

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

My all time favorite children’s story illustrated by someone else would have to be What Was I Scared of? found in The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss.

A literary character to create art with …

A literary character to create art with…?

I would probably have to say Bilbo, the Hobbit. I imagine creating something with him would be very nice. He was a very progressive thinker and spent a lot of time at his craft, writing, and look at the wonderful book he’s given us!

Currently working on …

I’m currently working as a concept artist for a video game as well as a few personal project pitches to publishers, trying to get that “author” title attached to my name. Hopefully a comic will be the future result.


Connect with Benjamin Schipper …

BenjaminSchipper.com | Instagram| Twitter

Henry and the Chalk DragonHenry and the Chalk Dragon

Written by Jennifer Trafton

Illustrated by Benjamin Schipper

Publisher’s Synopsis: In the town of Squashbuckle, just about anything can happen, and when Henry Penwhistle draws a mighty Chalk Dragon on his door, the dragon does what Henry least expects–it runs away. Now Henry’s art is out in the world for everyone to see, and it’s causing trouble for him and his schoolmates Oscar and Jade. If they don’t stop it, the entire town could be doomed! To vanquish the threat of a rampaging Chalk Dragon, Sir Henry Penwhistle, Knight of La Muncha Elementary School, is going to have to do more than just catch his art–he’s going to have to let his imagination run wild. And THAT takes bravery.


★“A delicious face-off between forces of conformity and creativity run amok, spiced with offbeat names as well as insights expressed with eloquent simplicity.” —Booklist (starred review)

★“A perfect title to hand to young readers looking for laughs along with a wild and crazy adventure.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Rabbit Room Press | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0986381881

Available Here: 

Discover more picture book illustration inspiration and books like Henry and the Chalk Dragon, written by Jennifer Trafton and illustrated by Benjamin Schipper, on The Children’s Book Review by following along with our Illustration Inspiration series and articles tagged with   and .

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