Behind the Scenes: Tudor Queens and Consorts

Welcome to the Colouring Tudor History blog! Over the next year, I will be sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Colouring History: Tudor Queens and Consorts. You’ll get the inside scoop about Natalie’s research, my drawing techniques, the printing process, and the ins and outs of self-publishing. I’m also crafting new Tudor-themed products that I will post about here. If you have questions or suggestions on topics, please feel free to leave a comment. We also have a mailing list that you can join to receive exclusive coupons and early product announcements (sign-up box in sidebar).

This very first post is about the cover of Tudor Queens and Consorts. (Yes, I’m going in order, one page at a time). With our first book, The Tudors, it was almost a no-brainer to have the Tudor rose on the cover. When we decided to make book #2, we wanted to emphasize that this book was going to be a deeper look at some of the most famous women of the Tudor court. Thoughout art history, most portraiture includes symbolism about the person and the life that they led, or aimed to lead. We wanted to bring this concept of symbolism to demonstrate what our book is all about.

First draft of cover with a smaller crown.

First draft of cover with a smaller crown.

The Crown: Natalie came up with the idea for a crown as the centerpiece of the cover. When I shared my first draft, she loved the design but rightly said that the crown needed to be bigger. The weight of the crown and the emotional pressure that came with being at the Tudor court was something we wanted to convey. The crown itself is based on the one seen in the Elizabeth 1 Coronation portrait later on in the book (and on the back cover).

The crown is based on this portrait of Elizabeth 1 by an unknown artist c. 1600. National Portrait Gallery, London.

The crown is based on this portrait of Elizabeth 1 by an unknown artist c. 1600. National Portrait Gallery, London.

Flower border: The flowers in this cover are based on pattern work found in Tudor-era embroidery as well as Anne Boleyn’s Book of Hours and other illuminated manuscripts of the time. You can see some of these flowers in the back drop of Natalie’s blog, On The Tudor Trail, which I also painted. You will see that I added some jewels and the Tudor rose as a way to visually connect to the main subject matter.

Key: On the left side you will see a key. This is to represent the secrecy, plotting, and intrigue that took place in Tudor times. It can also literally be viewed as a key to a locked room, representing intimacy and the relationships these women experienced both in the public eye and behind closed doors.

Tudor woman: On the right side, you will see a woman wearing a simplified version of a Tudor headdress and gown. This is to represent the female presence in our book as well as to indicate that there will be some fun Tudor fashion to color. This woman has her head bowed and eyes closed which can be construed as anything ranging from sad or pensive to thoughtful and content. Combined with the powerful image of the crown, this woman represents the emotions of any of the people we show in our book.

When it came to printing this book, I made sure to request a scuff-resistant coating on the outside covers. Not only does this coating protect the cover from dust and scratches but it also makes the colors pop. This cover is built to last as you tote it around on holiday or display it on your coffee table!

So, there you have it, a closer look at the cover of Tudor Queens and Consorts. Until next time!

Happy coloring,

Kathryn