Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 15.45.32FAMILIES are in for a treat when the Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants exhibition opens at Dorman Museum this weekend (Saturday, January 23).

Nick Sharratt, the man behind a host of instantly recognisable children’s book illustrations, is the subject of the colourful, humorous and hands-on exhibition.

And lucky visitors who visit the exhibition on its opening day will get the chance to meet Nick in person when he signs copies of his books.

Exploring Nick’s passion for drawing, from childhood to his current status as an internationally renowned illustrator and author, the show features many of the well-known characters he has brought to life over the years, including Tracy Beaker and Pirate Pete.

It also answers some all-important questions – just what is a wellyphant, and what do pants have to do with drawing?

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, or designing their own digital ‘Sharracter’.

A drawing wall is available for everyone to have a go at creating their own Nick Sharratt inspired picture, and young visitors will enjoy dressing up in a selection of wacky costumes, including a mermaid’s tail, a pineapple and some very fancy pants.

Nick’s career today is focused entirely on children’s books, covering all age ranges, and he works with authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Jeremy Strong and Julia Donaldson, as well as producing his own books, such as ‘Ketchup on your Cornflakes’, where bright colour and humour are key elements.

To give an idea of the range of his work, the exhibition includes a reading area where visitors can sit and enjoy a wealth of books written and illustrated by Nick, from books for toddlers to a selection of Jacqueline Wilson novels aimed at older readers.

Nick Sharratt has written over 40 children’s books, illustrated close to 250 more and the picture books with which he has been involved have had combined sales of more than nine million.

His long-running partnership with Jacqueline Wilson began with The Story of Tracy Beaker in 1991, and their books have sold more than 35 million copies in Britain.

Gill Moore, Curator at the Dorman Museum, said: “We are really excited that this wonderful exhibition is coming to Middlesbrough, and to have Nick Sharratt himself here to launch it is a real treat.

“He is one of the nation’s most popular children’s book illustrators and we can guarantee that visitors of all ages will be delighted by this visual feast.”

Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants – The Illustrated World of Nick Sharratt, opens at the Dorman Museum on Saturday, January 23 with a launch event from 10am – 4pm, and runs until Sunday, April 10. Entry is free.

For further information on the exhibition, please contact: Gill Moore, Curator, on 01642 358114.