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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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.

Day 14 – it’s the day before the solstice and I’m not yet halfway through!

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Psychedelic parrotfish, hand coloured relief solarplate played with in Photoshop

Psychedelic parrotfish, hand coloured relief solarplate played with in Photoshop

When I started this project I intended to have 30 pictures finished by the solstice, then I realised the folly of this deadline and extended it to June 30.  That means I HAVE to do one picture a day from now on. My main problem is that each new subject sets me off on a new trajectory – the colours and patterns and extraordinary capabilities of these reef creatures are setting challenges that I’ve never encountered before. I’m loving it – but it’s exhausting!

Day 14 evolved out of an experiment with relief solarplate. I thought I’d try to project the amazing colours of the parrotfish by printing a bright pink over a blue background, but it actually looked rather dull and lifeless until I had the idea of printing the pink on white Hosho paper and hand colouring it with Dr Martens inks.  I’ve had these inks for over 40 years and they are still as fresh as the day I bought them – if somewhat depleted. I then scanned the fish into Photoshop and they bred rapidly.  The blue background certainly enhances their psychedelic colours!

Days 8,9,10,11,12 and 13!

Friday, June 5th, 2015

I’m actually two days behind in this project but I’m not going to rush it – will just have to catch up at some stage.

The starfish was done entirely in Photoshop: it really has very long arms but I love the pattern on its body. The background is supposed to be the glowing coral.

Starfish close-up, digital image

Starfish close-up, digital image

If you think Day 9 looks like something out of a children’s story or a science fiction movie, that’s exactly how it appeared to me. These shrimps with attitude have a symbiotic relationship with sea urchins – and as you can see they are advancing greedily on the poisonous baby tentacles, which have no harmful effect on them.

Shrimps with Attitude, watercolour

Shrimps with Attitude, watercolour

Day 10 is the Harlequin Sweetlips, also known as the Clown or the Manyspotted Sweetlips. Do not confuse with the clown fish (Nemo) or the Harlequin Tuskfish (that’s the next one I’m doing). These two are possibly mother and daughter, father and son or mother and son or even father and daughter – the juveniles transform into very different adults.

Harlequin Sweetlips, adult and child

Harlequin Sweetlips, adult and child

I had great fun with this one. It’s a harlequin tuskfish swimming amongst a coral spawning. It started as a monoprint, then got transformed in Photoshop. This is the digital image and I won’t do any more to it. I haven’t printed it on watercolour paper yet but I intend to.

Harlequin Tuskfish, monoprint and digital image

Harlequin tTuskfish, monoprint and digital image

Well this is day 12 but I should be on day 14 by now! This creature, the Mimic Octopus, is a shape shifter extraordinaire. And it’s possibly the most intelligent marine creature in the world. In this picture it’s simply using its camouflage to blend into the background, but it can also imitate sea snakes, flounders, jellyfish and marine plants – as well as a host of other things.

a pair of Mimic Octopi, watercolour

a pair of Mimic Octopi, watercolour

This is what I want to do when I go to the Great Barrier Reef.  Unlike its cousin the stingray, manta rays don’t contain a barb, and have the largest brain to body ratio of any Elasmobranchs (sharks, rays and skates).  And despite its enormous size, it’s harmless to humans – that huge mouth eats plankton and fish larvae.

Manta rays and me

Manta rays and me

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