Julie Gough: “Something that Shows Women and Girls That There are Role Models for Them to Look up to”

Artist name: Julie Gough

Featured Work 1:


Gifted illustrator and artist Julie Gough creates beautiful portraits of Women in History. The portraits are realistic and vibrant, crafted with flowing lines, a cool , limited pallete, and subtle, sensitive shading. I appreciate the respectful, celebratory, and honoring tone this project takes toward under-acknowledged historical women.

The portrait above is of Wangari Maathai,

“a Kenyan environmental and political activist who founded the Green Belt Movement, an organization fighting to conserve the environment and campaign for women’s rights. She was the first African women to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for ‘her holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights, and women’s rights in particular.'”

Featured Works Slideshow:

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5 Questions for the Artist:

1. What is art to you?

 I think that art is anything that makes you think and has been created by someone with a need to express themselves creatively, whether that is in writing, paint, digital illustration or any other medium.

2. What did you make in the past, and why?

 I’ve been independently learning how to illustrate digitally since 2009 and to do that I ran a daily drawing blog for around 5 months, creating one image a day along with a small caption to try and build on my skills. I also used to create a lot of posters for local bands and resources for use in schools as I previously worked as an art technician. I’m still creating these, only now I’m an art teacher!

3. What are you making now, and why?

 Now I’m running an Illustrated Women in History blog where four to five days a week, I illustrate a woman who has made a contribution to history and should be celebrated. I started this series of illustrations after the news broke about the Jack the Ripper museum in London which was due to open. The museum had been granted permission to open on the basis that it was to celebrate women in history, and to have changed this to celebrate someone who brutally murdered women instead was outrageous. I realized how little I know about women in history, and how we are not taught much more than the history of wealthy white men in school.

4. What are your hopes for the future?

 I hope to be able to build my Illustrated Women in History series so that I can create an awareness of all of the history we are missing out on because we’re presented with such a narrow view of what happened in the past, and what’s currently happening in regards to women changing the world. I want to be able to create something that shows women and girls that there are role models for them to look up to in traditionally male-dominated fields that they think are inaccessible to them.

5. Do you want to add anything?

 If you have any suggestions for women in history you think I should illustrate, please send me a message via my Tumblr at illustratedwomeninhistory.tumblr.com

Artist Supplied Background:

 Julie Gough is an illustrator, graphic designer and art teacher based in Bristol, England. She has a BA in Graphic Design from the University of Bath and is a self-taught illustrator. Since August 2015, she has been running an Illustrated Women in History series with the intention of celebrating and creating an awareness of the women in history that we are not taught about in schools. Her work is also on twitter and Instagram.



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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers

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