Nick Sharratt, the man behind the instantly recognisable illustrations for Jacqueline Wilson's Tracy Beaker books, is now the subject of a new colourful, humorous and hands-on exhibition set to open at Leeds Central Library this Saturday.
Exploring Nick's passion for drawing, from childhood to his current status as an internationally renowned illustrator and author, 'Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants - The Illustrated World of Nick Sharratt' features many of the well-known characters which he has illustrated over the years. These include Tracy Beaker, Daisy, Hetty Feather and Pirate Pete, as well as a host of animals, and vast quantities of food and clothing.
Visitors can immerse themselves in Nick's world, find out about his childhood and what inspired him to become an illustrator, and meet a host of the characters that he has created throughout his career. The exhibition includes a recreation of Nick's studio where visitors can have a go at drawing a selection of his characters using a light box, and there's a touch screen interactive where you can create your own digital `Sharracter'. A wipe clean wall is available for everyone to have a go at drawing their own Nick Sharratt inspired picture, and young visitors, and those that are young at heart, will enjoy dressing up in a selection of whacky costumes, including a mermaid's tail, some very fancy pants and a pineapple.
Cllr Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities said: “We are very excited that an illustrator of Nick’s stature will be opening a fantastic new exhibition at our very own Leeds Central Library.
“Our libraries team has been working hard to enhance this fabulous exhibition with activities and events, and we can’t wait to see people of all ages, and especially our younger visitors, have the chance to experience what is on offer.”
Nick Sharratt said: “Over the years I’ve visited libraries all over the UK, from Plymouth to Aberdeen, to do events for school children and for families. Libraries have given me a terrific opportunity to travel the country, meeting young readers. I’m there to promote literacy and encourage creative thinking but it’s a two way process and I inevitably come away inspired by my young audience, and with buzzing with new ideas. Without doubt I owe some of my books to those library sessions.
“Thanks to the wonderful Youth Team based at Leeds Central Library I have been to many libraries all over Leeds and the surrounding area.
“People can expect a terrific, family-friendly exhibition, designed specifically to be as child-friendly as possible. It will tell you all about me and my work. There's loads to look at, from drawings I did as a boy and student to original picture book artwork. There are sections on how picture books are made and plenty of interactive activities.”
'Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants - The Illustrated World of Nick Sharratt', opens at Leeds Central Library on Saturday, September 22 until Saturday, November 24.
More about Nick:
By the age of nine, Nick knew he wanted to be an illustrator and the show includes 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’, ‘The Giant Jam Sandwich’ and ‘The General’. The exhibition will also feature a selection of work from his college days as well as his first commissions and examples of his illustrations and packaging designs for well-known magazines and retailers.
His career is now focused entirely on children's books, covering all age ranges and he works 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 also features the hugely popular picture book 'You Choose', as well as the hilarious `Ketchup on your Cornflakes', written and illustrated by Nick, and 'Pants' by Giles Andreae.