Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The new James Bond Folio Society release is...

It is that time of the year again one The Folio Society releases a new James Bond novel by Ian Fleming. It's a bit like christmas. Your parents are going to give you that present you wanted.

This time it is Thunderball that are being released. The one Fleming book with all the controversy about who actually wrote the story. Was it Fleming or was it Jack Whittingham or Kevin Mcclory. Or was it all of them together.

It was supposed to be the first film in the series but due to the ongoing lawsuit regarding the above the filming of Thunderball had to be delayed. In the end Fleming got the rights to the novel and Kevin Mcclory got the rights to film the story. I believe Jack Whittingham sold his parts of the rights.

Also in the settlement between the three parties it was agreed that in ALL forthcoming prints of Thunderball it had to say "The story is based on the screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, and Ian Fleming."

This must have been sorted out in some way or some publishers just did not care because in Thunderball novels released as early as 1966 the acknowledgments disappeared from some publishers. Others keep it as it should be. It would be VERY interesting to know why the acknowledgments are not in all later printings. Might it have to do with the film version of Thunderball being released in 1965? I would have loved for The Folio Society to keep it in. It is a big part of the history of Thunderball as a novel.

If you were to look in the PAN paperbacks from 1964 it clearly says: "The story is based on the screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, and Ian Fleming." To my knowledge. The latest release to carry this acknowledgment is the Blofeld trilogy from USA in 2010. 

Now let's forget about that!

The new Thunderball novel release is as beautiful as the rest of the books and the binding is the same. Fay Dalton has done seven drawings for the book containing Bond, Largo and Domino.

The book is on sale March 6, 2019. Price £36,95

Illustration ©2019 Fay Dalton from The Folio Society edition of Ian Fleming’s Thunderball

Illustration ©2019 Fay Dalton from The Folio Society edition of Ian Fleming’s Thunderball
The Folio Society edition of Ian Fleming’s Thunderball, illustrated by Fay Dalton, is available exclusively from

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

The man with the golden brush!

As Ian Fleming's books were being released in Sweden for of them was released with a cover drawn by a famous Swedish artist called Hans Arnold.

Hans was not born in Sweden but in Switzerland and moved to Sweden in his early 20's. He is famous for his strange and sexy drawings with huge amount of details.

Albert Bonniers Publications released all the James Bond books by Ian Fleming and turned to Hans when they needed a suspenseful and classic new cover for the books THUNDERBALL, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN and OCTOPUSSY.

Hans Arnold died in 2010 and there is soon a documentary to be released about his famous drawings. I was able to catch an early screening of this film and during the end credits I could read and take notes of the names of his family.
Then I was able to contact them to ask if the original paintings were for sale or if the publishers owed them and had the rights.

I received a prompt answer saying that sadly a lot of Hans fine work has been sold during the years and the four paintings I was after was among these. I will continue to keep my eyes out and hope that some day they will be offered to me.

Below you will find his four James Bond covers.

Click here to see other iconic drawings by Hans Arnold.

THUNDERBALL - Notice how the black balloon actually is a bomb. 

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE - notice how the flowers actually sculls.
OCTOPUSSY - Notice that the golden fish also is a cello. This book is very hard to come by even in Sweden.

Hans Arnold at his study.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The new James Bond Folio Society novel is here!

Yes folks it is that time of the year again. Folio Society is releasing its sixth Ian Fleming novel (if we do not count "Live and let die" that was released as a one off back in 2007).

The book they are releasing now in no other then "Diamonds are forever" that was written in 1955 and first released in 1956 at Jonathan Cape.

Like the rest of the series the book comes in a very nice slipcase. The best part is still that Fay Dalton keeps delivering us fantastic drawings and really pushing the female sexiness to the edge like only she can. Tiffany Case has never been hotter either on film or in books.

This book contains seven drawings by Fay.

The novel costs £36,95 and can be ordered at Folio Society.

Writing to a friend, Fleming commented with typical humour that for "Diamonds are forever" he had included ‘every single method of escape and every variety of suspenseful action that I had omitted from my previous books – in fact everything except the kitchen sink, and if you can think up a good plot involving kitchen sinks, please send it along speedily’.

Earlier this year I did an interview with Fay Dalton about her involvement in the James Bond series and you can find it here

So what will the next James Bond novel be from Folio Society we might ask? My guess is as good as yours but I place my bet on "For Your eyes only". I also guess that "Live and let die" will be the last book to come out due to its 2007 release (see top).

Folio Society has informed me that they have had trouble with people stealing the paintings in their books and pirated them. Therefore I have decided to only use the same type of quality pictures as they have on their website. You can still click on each picture to see it bigger. 

Illustration ©2018 Fay Dalton from The Folio Society edition of 
Ian Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever

Illustration ©2018 Fay Dalton from The Folio Society edition of 
Ian Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever

Illustration ©2018 Fay Dalton from The Folio Society edition of 
Ian Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever

Thursday, 27 September 2018

My interview with Michael Gillette, Part 3

The blog has had the opportunity to interview Michael Gillette. Michael is the artist behind the 2008 Ian Fleming James Bond book series covers. The books are really hard to find these days but the magnificent covers can be bought as art prints on Michaels website. 

Michael is selling the artworks and is currently offering all blog readers a 10% discount if using the discount code "007". This discount offer expires on Sunday the 7th of October 2018.  

Let the interview begin shall we!

1. Tell us about your career prior to your work on the Ian Fleming novels.

I’d been working for about 15 years at that point, time goes quickly! I started out doing work for the music industry in London. 
I did videos and sleeve work for Elastica and Saint Etienne, and made illustrations for music magazines. I painted a lot in acrylic. 
In 2001 I moved to San Francisco, and worked more digitally. I carried on working for all manner of clients, the Beastie Boys, Levi’s…
I have a retrospective book “Drawn in Stereo” the story unfolds there!

"Original painting for Diamonds are Forever: As I went through the set, I realized I had too many facing left, so flipped her. Then the painting was tinted digitally, and the type added". (C) Michael Gilette

2. How did you land the Ian Fleming job, How were you contacted?

I was contacted by a friend I’d known in London who was a book designer for Penguin. Jon Gray. He uses the name Gray318 for his work.
He said he had a project that was “Bond like” and would I like to do a test? I said yes, and pretty soon after, he told me it was actually for Bond!
Then I went on holiday for a couple of weeks and came home to find the test had been approved and I got the job.

3. Was there a long discussion on how they should look like before you actually made them. Did the Ian Fleming estate have many suggestions?

Not really, the idea of the titles on  the backs of Bond Girls was floated from the beginning. Jon asked if I could do the type.
I suggested that all the girls should be different colours.  The Fleming estate would occasionally make contact if one of the girls was not matching the description in the book. 
They were pretty easy to work with. I was told that the nudity should be tasteful, no nipples! I agreed with all the directions I was given.

Original thumbnail for Goldfinger, preparatory sketch, finished art. (C) Michael Gillette.

4. What materials have you used to create your drawings. 

I drew them in watercolour pencil, and watercolour paint. I then tinted them digitally in Photoshop. I had to make sure that I balanced the whole rainbow spectrum, so I needed the flexibility to change the colours as I went along.
I did them over the course of a couple of months, I was doing 2 or 3 a week, so they were coming thick and fast!

5. Is there any of the drawings you like the most?

I really like Moonraker, but  I’m happy with them as a set, I think they came out well and flowed pretty easily.

6. Is the Fleming covers your biggest success to date?

They certainly have held up. At the time I thought it was just another job, albeit a good one, which I was very happy to do. 
When they came out, in 2008, I started getting a lot of attention. Initially some negative, from diehard Bond fans who have very strong ideas how things 007 should be. 
Then I got a flood of positive feedback from the design world. Over time I got to understand the Bond world, and that I’d been incredibly lucky to have become involved with a very powerful franchise. 
James Bond is an amazing folk hero, an archetype of British goodness in the face of evil. I’m very blessed, in my own small way, to have been part of his world. 
Obviously this world is much bigger than anything else I’ve been involved with! I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to be associated with it. I’ve found the community really wonderful. 
When I started making the prints, my relationship with the Fleming estate grew. They have been very supportive and I value them greatly. I am 1000% grateful.

7. There seems to be two different covers for On her majesty’s secret service, why is that?

I felt that the first one lacked a little sexiness! As the woman who marries Bond, I thought she should be more special. Overtime I’ve come to appreciate the first version, and I like it more.I also redid Thunderball. The first version printed a sickly grey/ green. The second version was much better I think.
On her Majesty’s Secret Service Original cover. German cover version 1&2: "I repainted her because I thought the original was a bit reserved. I painted her with dark hair and eyes, but the estate pointed out that she had blonde hair and blue eyes in the books, I’d forgotten, so I retouched her". (C) Michael Gillette

8. In Germany you also did the covers for the John Gardner novels. Did you land that job the same way?

The publisher contacted my agent, I redid the type of the Fleming covers in German, then did the Gardener covers.

9. Do you have a favourite among those cover as well?

I like the ICEBREAKER cover. As a set they are more pulpy. 
I wanted to do something different, but as they are girls too, they are not far enough away from originals.
For a long time I‘ve been thinking of how to approach making another set of Fleming covers. I get asked all the time when I’m going to make more.
It is quite a difficult challenge, as one has to bring something new to the table, whilst honouring the incredible history of Bond. 
Recently the covers have all been type based. A couple of months ago I had an idea for a style that might work, and pretty soon I’d made covers for all of the set. 
They are very different from the girls. They are punchy and graphic and I made them all digitally. They look really iconic and I think they work very well....
Original German drawings of Icebreaker (left) and Brokenclaw (right) (C)Michael Gillette

10. Can any of your original drawings be bought?
I sold a couple of the Gardner paintings earlier this year, The Fleming paintings- not  at the moment, but I’ll let you know! I have a full set of the hardback books which I think I ‘m going to sign and sell on eBay soon.

11. I have seen your dogs compilation what more do you have in your pipeline.
Ah the dogs! I have some other exhibition work in the pipeline, there’s always something going on, and I’m excited to see what arises next. 

If you haven't yet visit Michaels website, here is the address once again

Michael Gillette working on his secret James Bond drawings hoped to be reviled soon.

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