How long have you been creating art?
Since roughly the time I could pick up a pencil and move it around on my own. The earliest piece of part I recall making was a drawing that wound up in the local paper when I was five.
What got you interested in it and how did you start out?
There are various artistic backgrounds on both sides of the family, so I guess there’s a certain genetic predisposition. My sister is a tattoo artist living in Portland, OR; my father studied art in high school and spends part of his time as a blues musician (and we share the distinction of having our artwork stolen while it’s on display). I connected to comic books at an early age – thanks in part to my aunt, from whom I inherited a hefty collection for my 18th birthday – and mimicked the style growing up. I briefly entertained the ambition of being a comic book artist, and still do in some ways.
Do any artists, in particular, inspire you?
I’m a big fan of the DC Animated Universe (Batman, Justice League, etc.), so Bruce Timm’s character designs are high on my list of favorites. The Sin City movie turned me in the direction of Frank Miller’s graphic novels, so I’ve taken a lot of influence from his stark black-and-white artwork, as well as James O’Barr’s The Crow. I was very impressed with the work of the late Michael Turner; I once collected the first few volumes of Witchblade, and I own a limited edition hardcover of Fathom.
What are your aspirations as an artist?
I’d love to be doing movie poster or DVD cover design on a professional basis. I’ve been a lover of movies for as long as I can remember. I think my dream job boils down to either writing movies, or advertising them.
What drove you to create the “Risico” poster?
The knowledge of the inevitable near-future production of Bond 23… I tried to carry on the visual tradition set by the low-key poster campaigns for Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, complete with the 007 logo overladen with the title text. I also wanted some hint that the franchise was returning to some of its earlier roots (as indicated in interviews with Daniel Craig and the producers), hence the tag line’s claim of “business as usual.”
Designing movie posters is a hobby of mine I’ve indulged in since 2001. I’ve mostly designed posters for film adaptations that don’t exist (yet), like the aforementioned Fathom, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, and the video game Halo. On occasion I’ve developed a poster for a real project only for my design to be mistaken for the real deal – such an occurrence happened earlier this year after I produced an alternate design for Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, which then hopped around the Internet under the guise of an “international one-sheet.” That whole mess still makes me smile.
What materials or programs did you use to make the poster?
I used several promotional images from Casino Royale to create Daniel Craig’s pose. The head was from an unused shot intended for the teaser poster (in which a darkly lit James Bond fingers a pistol atop a poker table), so the lighting was perfect for what I had in mind. The body was from another still from Casino Royale.
The background is a stock image of Rome – there’s no particular reason for it being Rome other than “Risico” taking place in Italy, though after Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace took place in Venice and Siena, maybe Bond is in for a change of scenery. Add a few cloud stock images (clouds can easily double for fog or even fire with some simple tweaking), mix together in Photoshop, and voila.
How long did the poster take to finish?
About five to six hours. I usually render these fan posters in low-resolution, so they don’t take especially long to crank out.
How were you introduced to the world of James Bond?
I saw my first Bond movie beginning-to-end when my dad took me to see The World Is Not Enough. The movie wasn’t all that great, but from the moment I saw the gun barrel opening, I knew I was getting acquainted with something cool. That, and Garbage’s theme song is probably my favorite of the series.
What’s your favorite James Bond film?
Classically speaking, Sean Connery’s Goldfinger is the fan favorite, and a template against which all other Bonds are judged, and that’s about where I stand. My favorite modern Bond is easily Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale, with Pierce Brosnan’s Goldeneye a close second. I typically steer clear of the Roger Moore era.
Are you familiar with Ian Fleming’s short-story, “Risico”?
Only in that it’s one of the last original story titles not yet used as the title of a Bond film, which is why I used it here. “Risico” was a rumored title for Quantum of Solace, and it had a certain simple, striking quality to it that I liked, like Goldfinger or Dr. No; a title that didn’t need to express the theme of the movie or make a strange play on words.
What are your opinions on Daniel Craig’s take as James Bond?
It was going to be difficult to outshine Pierce Brosnan, but Craig has done it in spades. However much he doesn’t look like the classic image of James Bond, blond hair and all he still embodies the smooth-talking ass-kicker Bond has always been. Credit is due of course to Timothy Dalton, who was ahead of his time as a meaner, darker James Bond, but Craig has taken that baton and run farther with it (and clubbed a few more bad guys with it along the way).
The fact that the writers of the Craig series have brought Bond’s world back to reality – relatively speaking, of course – helps a great deal; the Moore films and later Brosnan films, especially Die Another Day, became far more concerned with convenient gadgets and eye-rolling double entendres than just telling a straightforward thrilling spy movie. In that vein, clearly the series has taken some cues from The Bourne Identity series, which personally I’ve welcomed, as that series has helped bring back the notion that an action film can be thrilling and intellectually stimulating at the same time. That said, would I welcome the reintroduction of Q-Branch and Moneypenny? Of course, but keep them on a leash, please.
Do you plan on doing any more Bond-related art in the future?
While working on the “Risico” poster, I had a idea to create an alternate version with the title “The Property of a Lady,” which is another Ian Fleming title that hasn’t been used for a film yet.
Special thanks to Mr. Gilbert for taking his time to answer my questions! This poster is very professional looking, and I look forward to seeing what else he’ll contribute to the James Bond fan art world!
In case you didn’t catch the links, check out his sites: