Starring Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt: rough illustrations, unfinished artwork and printed book


Who is Tracy Beaker?

Jacqueline Wilson’s best-known character, Tracy Beaker, lives in a children’s home which she calls The Dumping Ground. Tracy likes smarties, Big Macs and strawberry milkshakes. She also enjoys writing stories, and the book is presented as a series of illustrated diary entries. Tracy isn’t always easy to like and is always getting into trouble, but she’s determined to change her life and isn’t going to compromise!

The author got the idea when she ‘saw some photos of children in care homes, desperate to be fostered.’ She said, ‘I wanted to write about a fierce funny little girl who has to fight her own battles (sometimes a little too forcefully!).’

The Story of Tracy Beaker was the first realistic children’s book about a child in care, written from the child’s point of view. It was also the start of the ‘happy artistic partnership’ between Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt.

What can you see here?

These are Nick Sharratt’s rough drawings and unfinished artwork for Starring Tracy Beaker – the third book in the series. They show how Sharratt brings Tracy to life – in all her unstoppable glory. Often he tweaks tiny details and rejects earlier versions. Can you spot the difference between what is kept and crossed out?

Scroll through the images to read an extract from the final published book. 

What happens in Starring Tracy Beaker?

In this book, Tracy gets the starring role of Ebenezer Scrooge in her school play, A Christmas Carol. She wreaks havoc as usual, making us laugh and cry. Longing for her mum to see the show, she imagines their reunion. But in the end, Cam – who hopes to foster Tracy – helps her celebrate Christmas in style.

From pencil sketches to print

Sharratt’s famous illustrations are sketched in pen or pencil, perfected in black pen and ink, and later shaded using digital tools . In one scene, Tracy yanks Justine Littlewood’s hair, as if it was a ‘particularly annoying weed’. In others, she dreams of swimming with dolphins or eating roast dinner in bed. Some drawings – such as Tracy in a Frankenstein mask – were never used in the printed book. Others show Tracy with no hair, when she has ‘lost it’ with rage.

Label by British Library Learning in partnership with Seven Stories.

Full title:
File containing 150 sheets of rough illustrations for Starring Tracy Beaker; 32 sheets of unfinished artwork, covering the internal illustrations within the book, as well as the front and back covers and some artwork that was not used (in many cases this has been struck out by Sharratt). Printed copy of Starring Tracy Beaker
2006, London
Original artwork / Sketch / Illustration / Image / Printed book
Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Sharratt
Usage terms

Illustrations copyright © Nick Sharratt. Text © Jacqueline Wilson. Printed book extract from STARRING TRACY BEAKER by Jacqueline Wilson published by Doubleday. Reproduced by permission of The Random House Group Ltd. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

Held by
Seven Stories
Seven Stories NS/05/35/02/01 (formerly NS/02/01); NS/05/35/02/02 (formerly NS/02/02/01); British Library YK.2008.a.11364

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