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Jacqui Oakley

Jacqui Oakley

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design

Degree: Illustration - Interpretive

Year of graduation: 2001

Pushing the envelope

Inspired by the talent and creativity she saw on a visit to Sheridan with a friend, Jacqui Oakley decided it was time to switch gears. So she left a Fine Art program at university to study illustration at Sheridan’s Trafalgar Road Campus.

“I always wanted to ‘do’ art as a career but could never envision what that would look like,” says the 2001 graduate. “At Sheridan, I was surrounded by students and great teachers who were also the top in their field. It really motivated me.”

Not to let inertia take over after graduating, Jacqui took up waitressing so she could pay her bills and work on expanding her portfolio. “After a few months, I bit the bullet and started pursuing portfolio interviews with art directors in Toronto and then New York,” she says. “Work begot more work, and eventually, I went on to teach in OCAD University’s illustration program as well.”

Since graduating, Jacqui has created art for
Rolling Stone magazine, and as part of a collective project producing Jane Austen and Conan Doyle books. She has also worked on covers for the iconic Anne of Green Gables series.

As a fan of film, Jacqui is excited that her latest project is a movie poster. “It’s great to collaborate with creative people from different fields.” She would also like to dedicate time to promoting and showing her work abroad. 

Jacqui has also taken the time to share her experience with students and new alumni as a judge at Sheridan grad shows and as a guest speaker. “It’s always nice to meet talented folks starting out. I remember how nervous I was when graduating, so I enjoy helping where I can.” 

Be confident in what you do best and concentrate on that,” Jacqui advises new artists. “Keep promoting yourself, doing good work and being good to work with, and it’ll pay off.” It might sound obvious, she adds, “but don’t forget that you enjoy art and design so take on inspiring personal projects and add to the vocabulary of your work.”

By Mehreen Shahid (Journalism - Print, 2015)

Learn about Sheridan’s
Bachelor of Illustration

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