Nick Sharratt, the man behind the instantly recognisable illustrations for Jacqueline Wilson's Tracy Beaker books and other much-loved characters from the hundreds of books he has written and illustrated, is now the subject of a new colourful, humorous and hands-on exhibition that will tour to at least six museums and galleries around the country, launching at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe on 25 October 2014.
Exploring Nick's passion for drawing, from childhood to his current status as an internationally renowned illustrator and author, the show will feature many of the well-known characters that Nick has illustrated over the years, including Tracy Beaker, Daisy, Lizzie Zipmouth, Hetty Feather, Caveman Dave, Pirate Pete and Billy Bonkers, as well as a host of animals, and vast quantities of food and clothing.
Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in Nick's world, as they enter a recreation of his studio filled with the tools of his trade and the stages involved in creating one of his illustrations. People will also be invited to try their hand at a range of different drawing techniques and materials, including the opportunity to create their own digital âSharracter'.
By the age of nine, Nick knew he wanted to be an illustrator and the show will include original artworks he produced at school, family photographs of him as a boy and copies of the childhood books which influenced and inspired his style and use of colour books such as Two Can, Toucan, I am a Bunny Rabbit, The Giant Jam Sandwich and James and the Giant Peach. The exhibition will also feature a selection of work from his college days as well as his first commissions and examples of illustrations and packaging he designed for well-known magazines and retailers such as Cosmopolitan and Marks & Spencer.
His career is now very much focused on children's books, covering all age ranges and working with authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Jeremy Strong, Michael Rosen and Julia Donaldson, as well as producing his own books, where bright colour, bold line and humour are key elements in his work. The show will also feature the hugely popular picture book âYou Choose', as well as the hilarious âKetchup on your Cornflakes', written and illustrated by Nick. To give an idea of the range of his work, there will be an area where visitors can sit and enjoy a large selection of the books that Nick has written and illustrated, from board books for toddlers to a selection of Jacqueline Wilson novels aimed at older readers.
Nick Sharratt has written at least 40 children's books and illustrated close to 250 more. His long-running partnership with Jacqueline Wilson began with The Story of Tracy Beaker in 1991. Their books have sold more than 30 million copies in Britain. Nick studied graphic design at St Martin's School of Art in London and worked as a magazine illustrator for 10 years before turning to children's books. His numerous awards include the Children's Book Award, the Nestlé Children's Book Award, The Right Start Award (book category), the Under Fives non-fiction She/WH Smith Award and the Educational Writers Award. He was the official illustrator for World Book Day in 2006. A number of these awards will be shown in the exhibition including his coveted gold Blue Peter badge!