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
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
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
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
Left: Wilder Lawless
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.
Aside from your work on the Young Bond
could you suggest other titles for people to explore your
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
Right: aaCon Poster
What was the length of time you spent on each character
beginning to end? Which character was the most rewarding
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
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
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
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.
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