Eleanor of Aquitaine book cover illustration by Duncan Long for a book by Robert Fripp

One of this week’s illustration projects was to rework and update my illustration of Eleanor of Aquitaine that I did seven years ago for a historic book written by Robert Fripp.

The original book cover project was tricky because the only recorded “picture” of Eleanor of Aquitaine was a medieval statue along with some contemporary written descriptions of her (which mentioned her riveting blue eyes).

So no little thought had to be given as to how much was “her” and how much the style of the times. Then she had to look like an actual human being AND ideally attractive — but no cheating to make her look more attractive than she likely was. So lots of hair splitting and “cultural archeology” to determine what she must have looked like. (Hopefully the results were close. But I guess we’ll not know until we all get to Heaven as the old hymn goes.)

Since I did the original picture, I’ve got a bit better at creating realistic faces, so this week’s work mostly had to do with enhancing her skin tone and texture as well as reworking some of her crown — and a bunch of time getting the folds on her scarf under the crown more realistic.

Hopefully it will meet with the art director’s approval.

You can find out more about Robert Fripp’s book here: Power of a Woman. Memoirs of a turbulent life: Eleanor of Aquitaine

Duncan Long is a professional book cover artist and graphic designer. See more of his book cover pictures at: DuncanLong.com