Some time ago I produced many covers for the Bond novels written by Kingsley Amis (as Robert Markham) and John Gardner. They are all quick enjoyable reads. The covers are pulpier than my Fleming art, inspired by the likes of Robert McGinniss.

This year, Cross Cult resumed publishing the set, and the hope is to finish the Gardner titles.

Here's a look at the process of making the covers.

For many years I painted in Acrylic as an illustrator, then along came the computer, and I started making hybrid digital work. Nowadays most illustration is made rapidly on an ipad or drawn on a tablet. For these however, I returned  to the working methods I employed nearly 30 years ago when I first left college.

It's rare for a book cover to have an original physical piece of art these days.
I love painting: the lack of a safety net, the need for focus, it's fully absorbing.

In the past, I have sold some of the covers to collectors, and it's great to think of them in people's homes.

I start with a quick pencil sketch, honing in on a specific passage in the story describing the Bond girl du jour.

For Never send Flowers, it's Fredericka "Flicka" von Grüsse. She's described driving an aged, dirty, white Porsche Carerra.

Next, I do a quick digital colouring of that sketch , for the publisher and Fleming estate's approval.

For the final painting, I dropped her chin behind her shoulder. The look of the each Bond girl is a delicate balance. She has to be confident and appealing: fully self possessed. A turn of the mouth or eyes and it's gone.

I draw out the basics in coloured pencil, then start building up Acrylic washes.

The final painting is then photographed and I add the type.

September 09, 2022 by Michael Gillette

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