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Artist lands ‘dream job’ as children’s book illustrator for author Jacqueline Wilson

Artist lands ‘dream job’ as children’s book illustrator for author Jacqueline Wilson

by James McNeill (October 2021)

AN AINSDALE artist has landed her  dream job – illustrating the much-loved stories of acclaimed children’s author, Jacqueline Wilson.   

Rachael  Dean, 26,  said that she has been “blown away” by the opportunity to work with one of her childhood heroes who penned the popular Tracey Beaker series, which rose to further fame when it was serialised  on CBBC.      

The appointment comes after illustrator Nick Sharratt stepped down following a 30 year partnership.

Rachael Dean said: “It’s slightly daunting. Maybe there’s a little pressure on my head but at the same time I feel like my illustrations are so different . I’m  kind of bringing  something new to Jacqueline’s work”. 

The duo’s first collaboration is ‘The Primrose Railway Children’, which is  a working  of E. Nesbitt’s timeless classic and published last month.

No stranger to writing about the harsh realities of growing up, Wilson has covered topics such as divorce, loss, and depression.   

Asked how Rachael created and developed the main character in the story, Phoebe Robinson, she said:  “Because the themes can be quite intense, I like to keep things light-hearted and witty to balance it out. Jacqueline writes so well, she’s so descriptive and when I was reading the manuscript the characters came into my head straight away. I thought with Phoebe red hair, curly, freckles and I started sketching.

“Jacqueline has been incredibly supportive and talked about my work in such a positive way. I'm still pinching myself over it.”

Liverpool John  Moores  University graduate, Rachael was spotted by  Pickled Ink, a UK-based illustration agency 2018 and has since illustrated books for writers such as Berlie Doherty and Sally Nicholls.    

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