Monday, 4 November 2019

Women Who Dared To Dream: Interview with illustrator Michelle Turton

Once Upon a Time in Birmingham: Women Who Dared To Dream is a fully illustrated book that tells the stories of 30 inspirational women from Birmingham, past and present. We interviewed one of the incredible women who helped make the book a reality... Michelle Turton, one of the illustrators:

1. How did you get involved with this book?

I was invited by Philippa, I must have been on a list of artists to contact. I believe The Emma Press had seen my portraiture work exhibited at the Lichfield Literature Festival and thought it would be a good fit.

2. What was it like working on/being part of this book?

Elizabeth Cadbury
It was a dream project and a dream brief to illustrate five inspirational women connected to Birmingham. I love drawing portraits and was given free rein to interpret their stories as I saw fit. It's also given me the opportunity to talk about my work and celebrate female achievement on a grand platform; from the launch at The Rep theatre to the Hippodrome's exhibition launch and a book launch at Waterstones.

 3. What kind of responses have you had from the book?

People have been very supportive and encouraging. At the signing tables people, both men and women, are asking for more of this. This excites me, it gives me hope for the future. I look forward to seeing a new and balanced view of female strength and beauty.

4. What has been a highlight for you of being involved in this book?

Nina & Jane
I'm excited about young people being inspired by our illustrations of true queens and princesses fighting real world demons and dangers, and in doing so, furthering self-belief and ambition in young women today. Once Upon a Time in Birmingham is a perfect example of how we can maintain the momentum for future generations to take the baton and go run with it. Representing women in art is vital to creating a balance of voices. Visual language is universal and as illustrators this project is a perfect opportunity to use our skills and talent to shine a light on female achievement.

5. Can you tell us about a woman who has inspired you?

Dr Jane Goodall. At 85 years of age she's still determined to spread a message of hope. She uses her passion, persistence and purpose to improve the lives of others, animals & the planet we share.

You can find out more about Once Upon a Time in Birmingham and order your copy (£14.99) here. 

Photo: Jack Spicer Adams

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