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In 2005, a selection of her work was acquired by the National Library of Australia for its collection. She said at the time that "I really like being recognised for having done work that is part of the social discourse. And it's always nice to see cartoons get another lease on life – now they represent a particular time and context and become part of the portrait of who we [Australians] are".
Horacek graduated with a BA from the University of Melbourne in 1991, majoring in Fine Arts and English. She then studied for a Diploma in Museum Studies at Victoria University. In 2007, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Visual) in Printmedia and Drawing from Australian National University.
She lives in Melbourne.
After illustrating a children's picture book for Mem Fox, she began to write and illustrate her own children's books, something she had always wanted to do.
"My life has been a quest to find new and better place to stick cartoons", Horacek has said. Accordingly, her cartoons can be found in newspapers and magazines, online, on aprons and teatowels, on mugs, on fridge magnets and cards, and as limited edition prints. Her cartoons have been described as whimsical and quirky. As she says, "I take every day situations and make them strange"
It was her interest in feminism which "drove Horacek's early work and established her reputation as a cartoonist". Since then, in addition to an ongoing interest in women's issues, her cartoons have covered a wide range of social and political issues such as the Australian Republican Movement, immigration, indigenous issues and FlyBuys. Cartoonist Peter Nicholson describes her work as follows:
|“||For most of her professional life her cartoons have been more on the theme of people's everyday lives and worries. When this is your subject matter you start in more of a vacuum. You need a powerful imagination, a great sense of humour, a real understanding of the human condition and you must have something to say ... there is an advantage to this type of cartoon. It has lasting value.||”|
Horacek's first commissioned work for The Age newspaper was published on International Women's Day 1995, next to the obituary of Senator Olive Zakharov. This was her cartoon, Woman with Altitude, a work which has since appeared on fridge magnets greeting cards, tea-towels and T-shirts. In 2007, she said that "The woman with altitude ... represents who we could be". At various times she has had regular spots in such newspapers and magazines as The Age, The Weekend Australian Magazine, The Canberra Times and the Australian Book Review.
She illustrated Mem Fox's non-fiction book, Reading Magic, and in 2004 she illustrated her first children's book, Mem Fox's Where Is the Green Sheep?. It was shortlisted for several book awards, and in 2005 won the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year – Early Childhood Award. She has since started writing her own children's books, the first being The Story of Growl (2007), followed by "These are My Hands" (2008), "These are My Feet" (2009) and "Yellow is my favourite colour"
- Life on the edge: cartoons / by Judy Horacek, introduced by Dale Spender (1992, ISBN 1-875559-11-6 and 2003, ISBN 1-876756-41-1)
- Unrequited love: nos. 1–100, cartoons / Judy Horacek (1994, ISBN 0-86914-349-2)
- Mary Jane: living through anorexia and bulimia nervosa / Sancia Robinson with Foong Ling Kong and cartoons by Judy Horacek (1996, ISBN 0-09-183266-7)
- "Lost in Space" / Judy Horacek, (1997)
- Woman with altitude / Judy Horacek (1997, ISBN 1-86447-101-8 and 1998, ISBN 0-7336-1029-3)
- If the fruit fits / Judy Horacek (1999, ISBN 0-7336-1051-X)
- The women's power pocket book / Joan Kirner and Moira Rayner with illustrations by Judy Horacek (2000, ISBN 0-14-029540-2)
- Reading Magic: how your child can learn to read before school and other important things / Mem Fox with illustrations by Judy Horacek (2001, ISBN 0-330-36282-8, ISBN 0-15-601076-3, ISBN 0-15-100624-5; 2004, ISBN 0-330-42140-9 and 2005, ISBN 0-330-42222-7)
- I am woman, hear me draw / cartoons from the pen of Judy Horacek (2003, ISBN 1-876944-10-2)
- Where Is the Green Sheep? / Mem Fox with illustration by Judy Horacek (2004, ISBN 0-15-204907-X and ISBN 0-670-04149-1)
- "Make Cakes Not War", (2007)
- The Story of Growl / written and illustrated by Judy Horacek (2007, ISBN 978-0-670-07045-9)
- These are my feet / written and illustrated by Judy Horacek (2007, ISBN 978-0-14-350224-1, pbk)
- "These are my hands" / written and illustrated by Judy Horacek (2008, boardbook)
- "If you can't stand the heat" (2010)
- "Yellow is my favourite colour" / Judy Horacek (2010, boardbook)
- Favelle (2005) p. 10
- Favelle (2005) p. 8
- Favelle (2005) p. 7
- Horacek (2007)
- Judith Marie Horacek (2003)
- Favelle (2005) p. 9
- Favelle, Kathryn (2005) "A new lease on life" in National Library of Australia News, XV (12), September 2005, pp. 7–10
- Horacek, Judith (2007). Interviewed by Philip Williams, on Stateline Canberra, 2007-04-20 Accessed: 2007-09-20
- Horacek, Judith, artist and cartoonist (1998). Interviewed by Ann Turner
- Judith Maria Horacek (1961–) (2003) Accessed: 2007-09-20
- Official website
- Judy Horacek collection of cartoons – held and digitised by the National Library of Australia
- Portrait of Judy Horacek, cartoonist, by Virginia Wallace-Crabbe
- Judy Horacek at Library of Congress Authorities, with 14 catalogue records