Rackham was born on September 19, 1867, in Victorian London, England as one of twelve children. With an affinity toward drawing, he attended the City of London School and won prizes for his artwork. Determined to make a career as an artist, he clerked at the Westminster Fire Office to earn money to pay for classes at the Lambeth School of Art. Rackham made some successful sales to magazines and then took employment as a reporter and illustrator for The Westminster Budget. Though he made illustrations for a couple books, each piece and its style were different as Rackham searched for his own personal touch.
Gaining more experience by illustrating books and magazines, his style improved. By 1905, Rackham had created an artistic world of humor, beauty, and innocence mixed with a touch of fearfulness in nature. He painted 51 plates for Rip Van Winkle and another 50 plates for Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. An illustrator of children's classics, he also painted drawings for adult books. Rackham advanced the field of illustration through his distinct flair and the wonderment he gave his work. On September 6, 1939, Rackham passed away, leaving behind a legacy of paintings and illustrations that are collected all over the world.