No.5 – The Things We Do For Life (or at least A Living)

Posted on: April 29, 2015

In which the cartoonist tries to obscure her dereliction of blogpost writing duty by outlining lots of other things she has been doing, and in the process revealing just how uncreative this creative life often has to be

Okay, I have proved myself to be much less reliable at blog posts than at Cartoon Topics of the Month. The year is one-quarter over, and I feel like I’ve only just got organised for it to begin.

At last my new book with Mem Fox is ready to go off to the printers. The illustrations were finished a few months ago, but the whole production of the publishers turning that into a book takes some time. Say hello to the main characters:


Detail from This and That, by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek, to be published in Australia by Scholastic, October 2015.

The title of this blog – This Creative Life – is meant to be slightly ironic . Not totally ironic, in a nihilistic my-work-is-nothing kind of way, but a sideways slightly quizzical glance at the ways I am creative and the ways I am not creative. Some days the most creative thing I do is take a photo on my phone to post on Instagram*. This isn’t because I am lying around reading books or engaging in other arty activities like visiting galleries, but because there are so many other things to attend to when you are trying to make a living through your creative work.

F54 CA 41 filing elf (red:

Obviously there are the accounts, the filing, the archiving of one’s work, the website, the answering enquiries, etc. Administrivia a friend calls it. Alongside this is another big thing – working out what you will work on, and how to make that happen – who do you need to work with, what do you need to source, how does something get done and what does it cost. Sometimes you have to do a lot of work before you even get to the creative bit.


The story of this year so far has been – finishing This and That and meeting my regular deadlines for the Age and Sheilas, and doing the commemorative logo above for the Centenary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Happy 100 Years to them, and three thousand cheers for their work against war). And I’ve done a rough draft/mockup for a new picture book with Mem Fox for 2016 (I know, getting ahead or what). Definitely there was creativity in all that. But the rest was thinking about my work in more economic terms – how to use cartoons in ways that help me make a living. Doing things which can also have the side benefit of getting my work further out into the world (given I don’t really have loads of regular cartoon gigs).

Two of my cartoons from The Age published in March


So I’ve put a lot of thinking about the greeting card side of my ‘business’ (that filing elf above is one of my cards) AND I am in throes of tweaking my website, which will soon have an actual shop AND I’ve worked out how and where I will make the work for my printmaking exhibition this November at Beaver Galleries in Canberra AND I have at last put some cartoons on Redbubble, a print-on-demand service for all your Horacek t-shirt and sticker needs.


My Redbubble Page

I’ve also been working with Bunker Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour on a Judy Horacek small retrospective that will be on there from June 5 to July 11 2015, and I’ve accepted two invitations to speak, one on the NSW South Coast, and one at the National Arboretum in Canberra.

And don’t forget, I’ve done a new blog post!

So, 2015 is one quarter over, and actually I’m feeling pretty entrepreneurial and organised. Which is a good thing. But now to get onto a bit more creativity.  After all, to give just one example, it’s one thing to know ‘the where’ and ‘the how’ of making the prints for my November exhibition –  it’s a whole other thing to know ‘the what’…





*Not that I’m criticizing putting photos on Instagram, I love doing it. The pictures also appear on the Home page of my website, and on my Facebook page and my Twitter account. The images become a creative story in themselves – things I’ve noticed, small details of the world, funny things, domestic snippets and even the occasional picture of something to do with my work. Below are my John, Paul, George and Ringo sulphur crested cockatoos. 



  1. Anne-Marie Peeters , says:

    Hope the launch of ‘This and That’ goes well.

  2. Anne-Marie Peetersa , says:

    Good to see you and Mem have another children’s story..This and That about To be launched. I will make sure my grandchildren have a copy. Am still writing…finished 2 children’s stories and a a short story trilogy for older people. Still working as a teacher at high school. Thank-you for reading my story, The Seal and the Malamute. Great to have seen you in Brisbane a couple of years ago.

  3. Russ , says:

    Your caption/title for the photo of the birds: I just *love* the way you see things.

  4. PATRICIA , says:

    HI JUDY,

    Sounds as if you have recovered (it takes a long time to get all cylinders firing) but you have done it! Congratulations!
    And a new book, too. We certainly need some laughter in our lives at the moment, even a wry smile could help.
    The refugee series hits the spot and stirs the spirit when those dreary news
    items break our hearts. there is so much good going on but it seldom features
    on TV or radio. If only we can ride the waves of good and drown the doomsters!
    Make every day a special day. Each one has possibilities! take care.

    • judy horacek , says:

      Thanks Patricia. Trying to find the possibilities in every day is challenging, but I think it’s the way to go.



I've had enough spam! Please prove that you are a human...