Scholars have attributed some 1,200 illustrations for 116 books and about two hundred separate woodcuts to Erhard Schön, making him one of the era's most prolific woodblock designers. He probably took his earliest instruction from his father, a minor Nuremberg painter, then studied Albrecht Dürer's prints while living in the artist's house for several years. With a pupil of Dürer's, Schön designed woodcuts for a popular pre-Reformation anthology of prayers.
When Nuremberg--and Schön--adopted Lutheranism in the mid-1520s, Schön began designing woodcuts for anti-Catholic books and broadsheets. He designed broadsheets that spoofed current events and human nature and illustrated satirical poems by a Nuremberg poet. Much like modern editorial cartoons, these compositions were intended to amuse, outrage, or enlighten the public.
From the mid-1530s Schön's interests changed. He depicted classical themes, which may have been conceived for a print series. In 1538 he published a book on figural design, movement, and correct spatial placement. He also made several paintings, signed drawings, and designed a fountain.