published in The Guardian prince edition 23 Dec, and online 22 Dec – the interview mainly concentrates on Donaldson but this Scheffler tidbit is interesting:
The orange-eyed Gruffalo “with his terrible claws and terrible teeth” is clearly a descendant of one of Maurice Sendak’s yellow-eyed Wild Things, with “their terrible teeth” and “terrible claws” (but somehow less scary). “Maurice Sendak is a great illustrator, but I was never a great Sendak fan. He was not an influence and I didn’t think of him when I drew the Gruffalo,” Scheffler says. “Honestly.”
Surprisingly perhaps, he didn’t have many picture books as a child and was more interested in comics; his childhood love of nature is clear in his drawings. His work owes more to a European tradition, and from his richly detailed, slightly spooky fairytale backgrounds, you wouldn’t have to know that he drew studies from Hamburg forests and German towns, to guess at his roots. He cites the French artist Tomi Ungerer as the greater inspiration (“We have the same eyes in our pictures! I loved his cartoony style”). His instinct is always to go darker – legend has it that he takes revenge on his characters by sketching them meeting unfortunate ends. When Donaldson interjects to ask if he ever gets cross when people interfere with his drawings, he replies only when an editor suggests an image is unsuitable for children, such as the sawing off of a unicorn’s horn.