Kids + Teens

13 Questions with Illustrator Shawn Harris

Welcome to Lucky Thirteen, an ongoing series of 13 quick questions (some bookish, some not) for our magnificent authors and illustrators.

Shawn Harris is an artist and musician who lives and works in Morongo Valley, California. He first joined the Chronicle Books family in 2017 as the illustrator of Dave Eggers’s Her Right Footand the duo stuck together for their most recent book, What Can a Citizen Do?.Shawn Harris books

Shawn Harris credit Lauren Harris bw_sm

We sent over our Lucky Thirteen questions to get to know the man behind the paper. Read on!

1. What are you currently reading?

Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard.

2. Introvert or extrovert?

Extrovert with anti-social tendencies.

3. You have a newspaper. What section do you turn to first?

Comics, especially Sundays.

What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris

4. What’s your bookmark of choice?

I dog-ear my books.

5. Favorite day of the week and why?

Sunday: color comics, fewer emails, and if I’m caught up on illustration work, maybe even a video game.

6. Tell us about a piece of art or writing that has inspired you.

I just came across a photo of an oil painting made in 1892 by George Inness, called Sunset that lives at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey. It is phenomenally brooding and brilliant at once—a sky glows an unsettling gold behind a field and forest whose details are mostly lost in the intense backlight. I want to go to New Jersey and just stand before that scene for hours, and let it transform me.

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris

7. What were you almost named?

Shawn Lopez. Last year, via genetic testing, I learned that my last name actually should have been Lopez, had my father been given his birth-father’s last name. (My grandma was not big on communication.)

8. Your pen (or pencil) of choice is:

Uni Posca acrylic paint pens.

9. Indoors or outdoors?


What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris

10. A friend is coming over for dinner at your place. What would you cook?

Tortilla soup.

11. What is one of the first books you remember?

E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

12. Your favorite spot in your home is:

The basement (my art and music studio is down there. It stays cool in the desert when it’s 100+ degrees outside.)

13. What advice would your 80-year-old self give you?

Place $500,000 on Lucky Dan in the third race at Riverside.

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris

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You can keep up with Shawn Harris on Instagram and Twitter, and read our other Lucky Thirteen posts here.

Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books is an independent publisher based in San Francisco that has been making things since the Summer of Love. We are inspired by the enduring magic of books, and by sparking the passions of others.
Chronicle Books


1 Comment

  • Beth October 26, 2018 at 4:52 am

    Dear Mr. Harris: Though a big kid, I still love to read illustrated books . . . and, yes, read the comics on Sunday mornings. Your 13 answers were a delight to read. And I was particularly interested in your answer regarding a work of art that you find inspiring. I live a mere 15 minutes from the Montclair Art Museum, which is in and of itself lovely to behold. If you are ever in the area, do look me up . . . I would love to join you for a viewing of “Sunset.” Looking forward to seeing more of your work, Beth Davis, Boonton, NJ,


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