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Speaking at Creative South! January 15th, 2014

Excited that Jamie Lawson and I will be teaming up for a talk at Creative South in Columbus, Georgia in April and with such a great group of designers! Hope to see some of you there. Here’s a little bit about it:

Creative South is one of the premier art and design events in the Southeast. It started four years ago as a grassroots event. Unlike any other conference, Creative South prides itself in nurturing personal design conversations with the creative community at all levels. It’s far more than just a networking event. With expanded educational workshops this year, more music and entertainment, the 2014 event will draw an even greater crowd.

Creative South exposes creative and marketing professionals, business people, and students to key speakers on the subject of branding and design in the digital era. It’s a showcase of cutting-edge design and arts trends, but served up on a Southern tablecloth.

CreativeSouth -  Jacqui Oakley Illustration

CreativeSouth Speakers - Jacqui Oakley Illustration

Tattoos! December 19th, 2012

2012 has been a year of welcomed surprises. My work was pushed a new direction I couldn’t have imagined with book illustration. I was excited to have a chance to work on my first children’s book Lighting Our World for Kids Can Press and especially thrilled to illustrate huge Jane Austen  and Sherlock Holmes collections for Amazon and get a chance to work with the talented Book Designers. Definitely a year full of challenges and business but it was a huge and welcome learning experience.

Another surprising thing was being contacted by people who had my art tattooed on them. What an incredible compliment and something I would have never had expected to happen. Below, here’s Mike Baker’s bird tattoo by Vancouver’s Cohen Floch. You can check out Floch’s work on his site and newer work on his Tumblr. I have to say, He really did such a remarkable job capturing the line work and I really like it just in black.

Late last year I was contacted by Fabi Liedmeier from Germany who kindly asked permission to use my lion artwork as a tattoo for himself. Little did I know he was actually going to tattoo the lion over his own chest with just the aid of a mirror! Luckily he filmed it – check out the video below and see his blog for more of his work. he only just started tattooing within the last year and is making big strides. He definitely isn’t afraid of a challenge! I believe colour is going to be added to this bad boy at a later date.

I’m sure he’ll move onto the colour soon and when he does I’ll pop up a newer image. Another piece recently started by Fabi was taken from my Dreaming illustration which I think is coming along quite nicely.

Dreaming - tattoo by Fabi from art by Jacqui Oakley

A few years ago my friends Hilda Rasula and Daryl Brook wanted anchor tattoos to celebrate their wedding and my husband Jamie and I were very honored to be asked to create their anchors. I cannot take credit for the tattoo, which was done by Adam Kliss at Art and Soul Tattoos, just for the illustration he cleverly adapted it from.

You should check out my lovely friend Hilda Rasula‘s work and say hello to her on Twitter. She is a freelance motion picture editor based in Los Angeles. Recently she’s been doing some assistant editing on David Fincher’s episodes of House of Cards for Netflix. Also, she was the editor for the short film Caine’s Arcade, about an enterprising boy in East LA who built his own arcade out of cardboard. If you haven’t seen it yet this film is truly inspiring. It’s been viewed 7 million times online, and has raised over $200K for Caine’s scholarship fund. I feel so lucky to have such talented friends around me. They keep me on my toes.

Here’s Daryl’s piece designed by Jamie Lawson. Don’t they make a nice pair?

My tattoo is not a piece of my own art but an combination of old peony engravings and was done by the brilliant Derek Lewis at Hartless in Toronto. If you’re in the Toronto area I’d totally recommend going to him. He’s done work on many of my friends, including my husband, Jamie‘s gorgeously detailed piece below on the left. I’ve also included a newer piece by Derek on the right.

I do not normally design tattoos for people usually only my close friends. A tattoo artist has a much better idea about how line-work and form will wrap nicely around a body’s curves. It is an art form that astounds me and I don’t think I could ever have the guts to do something permanent on someone. Lately I’ve been really inspired by black line-work tattoos and a few months I came across Liam Sparkes from London, UK. Really think he’s doing something so interesting looking with being inspired by Medieval Wood Cut prints.

Also, Thomas Hopper’s work blows my mind. Such detail, unique use of symbols and what an eye for composition. One day….


I’m really excited to finally announce the project that kept me so busy in the Spring. I’m part of a beautifully designed Jane Austen collection coming out October 2, 2012; The Complete Novels of Jane Austen: Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Lady Susan (The Heirloom Collection). This is published by Amazon and designed by Alan Hebel & Ian Shimkoviak from the incredible Book Designers. My 72 full page colour illustrations are packaged in lovely hard cover books, housed in an elegant slipcase with a magnetic closure. Fancy, I know. You can pre-order at Amazon.com

I’ll have more posts about this closer to the release date. In the meantime, here’s a little tease (photography by Ian Shimkoviak from the Book Designers).

The Collective Works of Jane Austen (Amazon) - design by the Book Designers, art by Jacqui Oakley

The Collective Works of Jane Austen (Amazon) - art by Jacqui Oakley

Flowers - The Collective Works of Jane Austen (Amazon) - art by Jacqui Oakley

The Collective Works of Jane Austen (Amazon) - art by Jacqui Oakley

The books contain a lot of Regency era fashion, lush green English countryside and fabulous Stately homes, but there’s the odd action packed scene….. like this!

Sea Battle - The Collective Works of Jane Austen (Amazon) - art by Jacqui Oakley

Can’t wait to unveil more of this when it comes out in October. There’s also another box set coming out in November (with 60 of my illustrations) centering around a certain English detective. More on these projects soon!


Applied Arts Award May 9th, 2012

So pleased to have 5 pieces awarded in this years Applied Arts Illustration Annual, especially since they were among the projects I enjoyed most from 2011. Who can complain when asked to draw cougars in tea houses and divine woodpeckers?

Here are 3 illustrations  for Canadian Wildlife Magazine’s article on urban wildlife: A cougar considers his mounted cousin at the tea house / A man surrenders this balcony to the racoons / Montreal’s pigeon man’s love for the flying rodents is almost saintly. Always great to be art directed by Steven Balaban and do some fun animal pieces for Canadian Wildlife Magazine.

The illustration below always makes my day since I persuaded my husband Jamie to model for me. How can I not laugh at the image of him being attacked by racoons and squirrels? These are the harsh situations one must face living in Canada.

Pigeons often have a bad rap but this fella is trying to change that.


Here’s one of the spreads from the orginal article designed by Steven Balaban.

Here are the other two awarded illustrations, Woodpecker Guardian & Divine Woodpecker from Angels on Earth Magazine art directed by the lovely Olga Jakim. This article focused on a granddaughter’s story of her deceased grandfather’s love for the woodpeckers who he believed watched over him. If anyone is interested, these fine winged fellows are available in my shop as prints.


There’s a bunch of good work featured in the magazine, so go and pick it up now. To keep with the animal theme of this post, one of my favourite illustrations from the annual is from the talented Dushan Milic. What an amazing piece!

Thanks Applied Arts!


On this wondrous day of love I present for your enjoyment creepy vintage Valentine’s Day ephemera found in a local antique shop.

The one below surely is the winner. Who wouldn’t want to be taken for this one’s mate? He seems like he has a way with the fairer sex. That devious smile and firm throat grab are always winners when one is courting.

Below: “To Ralph Cooper from Cifford Mc Creodie”

What are these lovelies escaping from one has to wonder? Did their families disapprove of their torrid romance? Did blondie have to leave her family for a little trip for 9 months or so to come back a changed woman with a new little “sister”. Never trust those daredevil pilot types. You were warned. They are all fun and excitement at first but they will leave you a ruined woman.

Below: “Everett from Grandma and Grandpa” – “I wish I had your permission to sign myself your devoted and true Valentine”  It’s very formal & to be honest, slightly needy for Grandparents, no? Ralph sure guards his affections close to his chest. He is a hard boy to win over.

Also, I’m wondering is these are two different girls? Obviously this chap has a thing for the dark haired beauties which I fully understand, we are quite the prize, but always with the picnic ploy eh? Yes, a park surely is a romantic outing but try and mix it up and make it at least feel unique and sincere for each of your new ladies. A girl wants to feel special. You can do better.


Below: “Ian to Ralph” -  Ralph sure was loved. What lucky boy.

Is it just me or is the expression on this clown’s face pure terror? Surely there is an underlying message to this Valentines. Seems like there is something suspicious about this magic sorcerer and the hallucinogenic wheel in the back. Ian, is this some ruse to hypnotize Ralph into loving you? Really Ian, you don’t need to fall into such cheap tactics. I’m sure Ralph loves you for yourself if you’d just trust your feelings and be honest and grow a pair.

Happy Valentine’s Day folks.