Julia Wakefield

The home page of Julia Wakefield, an independent artist that specialises in illustration and printmaking. Online gallery, recent news and purchase links.

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Back in Adelaide, but my head’s still full of mountains

Thursday, October 20th, 2016


It’s very unsettling spending a month on the other side of the world in the most idyllic environment imaginable. When you get home, you can’t quite believe that your real world is real any more. If you followed my ‘sketchaday’ blog, you’ll know what I’m talking about – and if you’ve been to similar mountain country you’re probably trying to work out how to get back there and live there permanently,  which is exactly what my son did.

So the only way to keep those mountains fresh in my head and to stop myself from becoming morosely mountainsick (never once did I feel homesick while I was over there!), is to draw them.  There is also a major motivation: my talented other half came up with a story that needs to be told, with pictures. This is my first attempt at visualising the pictures in my head, using pastels on grey paper.  There will be more to come, but the story is under wraps for the moment.

Having a productive holiday – so far

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

View of Mt Revelstoke from the back of my son's house

View of Mt Revelstoke from the back of my son’s house

I am spending some time on the other side of the world for a few weeks, visiting family in Canada. Just before I left I showed some of my students the Urban Sketchers website and facebook page. So they asked me if I was going to do some sketches while I was on my trip. I decided to fulfil my teenage ambition at last and compile a daily illustrated journal of my travels. What I didn’t know about all those years ago was that one day I’d be able to publish my journal for free on the internet with the potential for millions viewing it! I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of doing it before – well maybe I’ve never had the opportunity to say in one place during a trip and use the internet every day.

So welcome to my new blog – #sketchaday, Adelaide to Revelstoke. The journey begins with some travel surprises, but now we are a bit more in control of events!

The latest post is here.

Illustrations for a poetry collection just in time for Mother’s Day!

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

guilty dogwatermarked resized2

My good friend Vivien Wade has just bought out her second collection of poetry, ‘Chocolates and Chuckles’. She has filled the book with hilarious (many of them true) tales about struggling with chocolate addiction, the tribulations of maintaining a happy marriage, and minor domestic problems such as getting stuck in the loo! There are also some cheerfully twisted  variations on well-known nursery rhymes. I was delighted to be asked to add some embellishments to her work. This is one of my favourite poems of hers, which I really enjoyed illustrating:

A Secret
I had a little secret,
I didn’t want to share.
But told my little doggie,
’Cos I knew he didn’t care.
I’d hidden some chocolate bars,
Where no one else would see,
And when I went to find them,
My dog had eaten all three!

You can find more of the illustrations on my Illustration page, and you can buy the book here


Still Printing!

Thursday, March 31st, 2016



Having decided to get back into illustration again, I still have several printmaking commitments to fulfil this year, and this is the first one, overdue but finally finished. Produced for a print exchange with the theme ‘patterns’, it’s a homage to the bar-tailed godwit’s amazing feathers.  This bird’s amazingly patterned wings take it to the ends of the earth and back again every year.

The process is two plate photopolymer etching, and the image was played around with in Photoshop.  I had to do an edition of 24 for the exchange on 19 x 14 cm paper, but there will also be some spares for exhibiting locally.

Back to the Drawing Board

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

The Popup shop has well and truly been and gone – it was a worthwhile exercise, but it’s now time to get down to some projects I’ve been keeping too long on the back burner. I have to wrest myself away from printmaking for a while as there are several illustration jobs that need attending to. First there was Vivien Wade’s poetry book, which will be featured in the Illustration Gallery shortly. But right now I have the most urgent job I’ve ever been given: a colour-in ABC for my son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower – due now!! I’ve got half the drawings done, so I hope that’s enough – if they have 26 guests hopefully they can get two of them colouring each drawing! I’ll get the second half done well before the baby’s due (in May!)

Here are a few samples:

A is for Adventuring

A is for Adventuring


E is for Exploring

E is for Exploring 


I is for Ice Hockey

I is for Ice Hockey


L is for Lifesaving

L is for Lifesaving

The theme is sports and outdooors stuff with a Canadian flavour – guess where my son lives.  I never felt like doing a colouring in book before, but this is such fun I might do some other themes.  Suggestions are welcome!

Day 3 of our shop

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

the ladies

Well here we are in the shop – that’s me on the left and Margaret on the right. It’s been a bit of a learning curve so far – how do you attract people’s attention in a street that consists mostly of welfare offices, doctors’ surgeries, op shops and the odd tattoo parlour? We asked Weekend Notes to write an article about the Council’s enterprise.  We posted leaflets in all the local shops, and of course we now have a Facebook page.  Hopefully we are part of the growing movement to pull the plug on those faceless giant shopping centres and put real shops back on the streets.

shop is open We have a selection of cards and printed Tsirts by me, plus Art Dolls and Dreamcatchers by Magetta Jem. And the graffiti on the walls is really a collection of intelligent comments made by the locals about what they think we should be doing about Beach Road. Hopefully the Council can do something about meeting the standards demanded – from simple pleas to stop people doing u-turns all over the street to requests for an avenue of trees, street markets and a free shuttle bus down to the Esplanade.  Our visitors have often been people who wished simply to add to the wall of suggestions, but they were also agreeably surprised to see the wares on display.  And we’re hoping some of them will come back and do some creative things in our workshops: this Saturday morning Margaret is showing people how to make a mini doll, and next Saturday we are drawing on Tshirts!

mini doll 1

Mini doll by Magetta Jem


Painted Turtle Tshirt by Mi Mi Designs

Painted Turtle Tshirt by Mi Mi Designs

Pop in to the Pop Up Shop

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

popup shop

Popup shops are all the rage these days, so the rabbits and I have jumped on the bandwagon and teamed up with my neighbour and fellow maker Margaret Mccaul, known in art doll circles as Magetta Jem.  In January we are taking over this little shop in Beach Road, Christies Beach, for two weeks, at the invitation of our local council – who are looking for new business initiatives to liven up our sleepy beachside suburb. Watch this space – I will take advantage of the free wi-fi to post daily updates on the progress of our shop and the comments from our visitors! Details of our enterprise can be found here – and here is the program!


Social media experiment

Monday, August 24th, 2015

I am conducting an experiment. I have been told that if you feature a stupid cat video on your website your hits will increase tenfold. As this particular video has had 3 million hits already, I figure I am going to become a superstar overnight. Particularly when I relate that when I found it had been posted on Facebook by some outfit called Mansion, I immediately wondered if Mansion might be worth following, so went straight to their facebook page – only to find to my disappointment that there were no more stupid cat videos. You will, I’m afraid, be disappointed to hear that I’m not intending to post any more of these videos on my website in future – unless I happen to shoot them myself – the videos I mean. I’m just curious to see if the urban myth comes true.

SALA is here!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

This amazing mobile is a present from Japan - come and see me and I'll tell you all about it!

   This amazing mobile is a present from Japan – come and see me and I’ll tell you all about it!

SALA invitation general revised

Once again I’m opening my studio to the public in SALA month, this time it’s every Sunday and Monday until August 31. The Postcards for the Reef are my big feature this year – I have still only done half the number I originally planned to do, but it’s  enough to fill the studio.  I have plenty of greetings cards and postcards of the four favourites, the turtle, the octopus, the parrot fishes and the snubfin dolphins, but if you like any of the others I can order some with a turnaround of about a week.

I also have prints from two print exchanges I’ve taken part in this year; I have another print like the one I sent to Japan in response to a call for an exhibition of prints made on Awagami papers, plus there are plenty of mugs, tshirts and rabbit cards as usual. I’m open from 11-4pm, bring the dog and take him or her for a romp on the beach while you’re down here.

Plus I’m in a show at the City Library with the Bittondi Printmakers and some other very talented artists that opens on Friday July 31.

Bittondi SALA Invite

Day 15, a unique Australian dolphin that may not be around much longer

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

snubfin dolphin, watercolour

snubfin dolphin, watercolour

I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I came across these guys. No, I haven’t seen them in the flesh, they are shy and hard to spot and there are none in captivity, and they only inhabit the northern coasts of Australia.  They were only discovered in 2005, and their slow breeding habits coupled with their preference for shallow waters near human habitation means they are at serious risk of becoming extinct. There is a big campaign to draw attention to their plight so I hope you’ll spread the word.

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