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Shelley Ann Jackson

Associate Professor
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Art
Areas of Expertise:
Illustration, drawing and book art

Shelley is an illustrator, author, and designer with a focus on picture books, and Course Leader for ARU's Children's Book Illustration MA. Her research centres on the element of time, the asynchronous collaboration between author and illustrator, and rhythmic syncopation (the relationship between words and pictures).

[email protected]


In her professional career, Shelley has worked for numerous clients, such as Animal Planet, AppleSeeds Magazine, Berkley Books, Boyds Mills Press, Calliope Magazine, Compassion International, Faces Magazine, HarperCollins Publishers, New York Times, Pelican Publishing, and Tundra Books.

Her children’s picturebooks have been honoured with awards including a non-fiction research grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, ForeWord magazine’s Gold Medal for Juvenile Non-fiction, and Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year.

An arts educator for over twenty years, Shelley has taught in higher education since 2010 and has been Course Leader of ARU's MA Children’s Book Illustration since 2018. She has been a leader in the children’s book community, including having served as regional advisor of the Austin, Texas chapter of SCBWI. Throughout the United States, Shelley has exhibited her work and lectured on issues relating to picturebooks.

Research interests
  • Rhythmic syncopation
  • Visual narrative
  • Merging traditional and digital illustration techniques
  • Women in illustration
  • Asynchronous collaboration between author and illustrator
  • The element of time as portrayed through text and image
  • Design of the picturebook

As an illustrator, author, and designer, Shelley has a particular fascination with and knowledge of the spaces in which these three crafts coexist and codepend. Nowhere is this relationship more fundamental than in the picturebook.


Shelley currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Sequential Image
  • Diploma Project
  • Diploma Review
  • Masters Stage Project
  • BA, Communication Design, University of North Texas, 1994.
  • MFA, Illustration as Visual Essay, School of Visual, 1997.
  • MFA, Writing for Children & Young Adults, Vermont College of Fine Arts, 2016.
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Member, 1994 to present.
    • Austin Chapter, Regional Advisor, Assistant Regional Advisor, Illustration Advisory Board Member, Conference Committee Volunteer, 2011-2017.
  • The Girllustrators, Founder and member, 2011 to present.
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • Advisor, iCon 9: The Illustration Conference, 2015-2016.

Selected recent publications

Crosby, J. and Jackson, S. 2014. Ten Texas Babies. Co-illustrated. Gretna: Pelican Books.

Crosby, J. and Jackson, S. 2011. Harness Horses, Bucking Broncos & Pit Ponies: A History of Horse Breeds. Ontario: Tundra Books.

Castrovilla, S., Crosby, J. and Jackson, S. 2009. Upon Secrecy. New York: Boyds Mills Press.

Crosby, J. and Jackson, S. 2008. Little Lions, Bull Baiters, & Hunting Hounds: A History of Dog Breeds. Ontario: Tundra Books.

Recent presentations and conferences

"Thoughts on Finding Your Visual Language" Masterclass, Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Bologna, IT, 2023.

"That Dreaded Word ‘Style’: Thoughts on Guiding Students to Find Their Own Visual Languages", Fostering Dialogue: Teaching Children’s Literature and Culture at University, 2nd International Online Conference by Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Online, 2022.

"Education: Learning & Shared Experiences", University of Gloucestershire, Online, UK. 2020.

"Picture Book Spirit Guide: Shaping Your Manuscript with the Illustrator in Mind," 2017 Austin Writers and Illustrators Working Conference, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Austin, TX. 2017.

"Presenting 101" and "Career Strategies for Long-Term Success," Marketing Boot Camp, Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, Round Rock, TX. 2017.

"Artists Process: Creating for Kids" panel moderator, Texas Book Festival, Austin, TX. 2016.

"Project Picture Book", Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Round Rock, TX. 2016.

"Education Symposium" emcee, iCON9, Austin, TX. 2016.

"Developing Students' Online Illustration Identities," Designs on eLearning, London, UK, 2015.

"Picture Books 101," Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Austin, TX 2015.

"Publishing Professionals Panel," Writers League of Texas, Austin, TX 2013.

"Rhythmic Syncopation," Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Austin, TX 2012.

"Creating Promotional Materials Using Photoshop," Technology Symposium II: Nets and Bolts of Success, Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, Austin, TX 2012.

"Technology & Illustration," Technology Symposium, Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, Austin, TX 2011.

"Pictorial Readability," St. Edward's University, Austin, TX 2011.

"Children's Book Panel," Colorado Alliance of Illustrators at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, Denver, CO. 2010.