MI6 caught up with Kevin Walker to chat about the Young Bond illustrations he created for the launch of YB1 SilverFin...

Kevin Walker Interview
3rd October 2005

How where you approached to work on the new Bond series?
Fleming media, via the Odd Agency in London contacted my agents The Apple Agency. They saw my work on my agents web site, and I was shortlisted. There were two or three other artists also shortlisted, but I'd no idea who I was up against. We were given a short set of descriptions to work from for James himself and just asked to produce a set of sketches depicting how we saw the character. I was lucky enough to be picked from the shortlist and from there we went to a full briefing.

How did the evolution of the characters come about? How did you development the sketches of the main cast?
A meeting involving all the parties was held at the Odd agency in London. Present were myself and my agent, the designers at the agency responsible for creating the whole identity of the Young James Bond franchise, and Charlie Higson himself. We talked at length about how we saw the characters, discussed their attributes, influences and similarities to persons living or dead. Charlie had a very well developed idea of how his characters looked, as you would expect from someone who'd already lived with them inside his head for several months.

How did you ensure that the characters appeared in the correct attire for the era? Are the designs chosen inspired directly by the text, if not where was the strongest influences from?
Charlie Higson had already done most of the research leg work and allowed me to make reference photocopies from the books he'd used. particularly the cars, the costumes and the type of locations required.

Right: A young James Bond


How did your career progress to the point you are at now? Did you always want to be an artist? Are you a formal training artist, if so where did you study and how did this effect you artistic style and techniques?
I wanted to be an artist from my pre-teens, but it wasn't until Star Wars arrived that I realised it was possible to earn a living doing it. I went to Batley College of Art in West Yorkshire for two years at 16, studying Graphics, before getting a job in a design studio in Bradford designing packaging. After 4 years working for someone else I went freelance. It had always been one of my dreams to draw comics and illustrate for books and games, mostly science fiction and fantasy.


I've had quite a variety of work over the years and experimentation with different materials and techniques has always been a key part of it. It helps to keep the work fresh if you're always trying something new.

What restrictions/guidelines did you have to follow? Who had input into there final designs?
The whole look of the characters and locations was very tightly controlled, by Fleming Media and Charlie Higson, but being able to talk to them meant I had a good idea what they were looking for. The only real restrictions were the sizes and colour schemes I had to work to.

Given that it's set in the 1930's, it wouldn't have looked accurate if I'd given James a brightly coloured jacket or a modern haircut, so lots of books on the fashions of the period were essential.

Which was the most difficult character to conceive and why?
James himself was the hardest to create, since he was the most important. The way he looked had to try and convey all the thoughts and background included in the book by Charlie. The way a character looks is shaped by his/her experiences, so everything plays a part.

Left: Wilder Lawless

Aside from your work on the Young Bond could you suggest other titles for people to explore your artwork?
I've worked for the comic 2000ad for over 15 years now so there's plenty to choose from: Judge Dredd, The ABC Warriors are notable, but there are many other characters who are less well known. I was a concept artist on the Judge Dredd movie with Sylvester Stallone, and have also worked extensively for Games Workshop, and the Magic:The Gathering trading card game.

Right: aaCon Poster

What was the length of time you spent on each character beginning to end? Which character was the most rewarding to draw?
There was probably around two to three days spent on each character, in total, though not all in one go, I worked through each stage in a sort of production line basis, from rough sketches, through finished pencils, inked illustrations and finally computer coloured a/w. James himself was of course the most rewarding. When a character is hard to draw there is a mixture of relief and achievement when you finally get it right.

Will you be returning to work on BloodFever and its new colourful character?
Like Charlie Higson I have a contract to do more work, other than that I'm saying nothing. It's a secret...



Above: Uncle Max


00-Seven Questions

How were you involved in the Bond series?

What was your first ever Bond experience?
Being taken to see 'Live and Let Die' by my dad.

What did you think of the last film, "Die Another Day"?
Well I have to admit to being a really bad boy and haven't seen it. Seen everything else. Just never got round to see it. Pierce Brosnan is the Best Bond since Connery though.

What is your favourite Bond film?
From Russia with Love. Robert Shaw made an excellent assassin.

Who is your favourite Bond?
Whoops, I already answered that.

Which Bond girl should come back?
Can't remember the characters name, but the Russian computer programmer in Goldeneye. Gorgeous

What is your favourite Bond moment from the series?
The opening Bunjee jump off the side of a dam at the opening of Goldeneye. Jawdropping. Oh, but then there's the laser sequence in Goldfinger... "No Mister Bond, I expect you to die!" pure class.

Many thanks to Kevin Walker.

Related Articles
MI6 Silverfin coverage