Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bond, James Bond

With the new 007 film, Quantum of Solace, coming out this Friday, I thought it'd be a good time to draw a little character sketch of my all time favorite fictional character, James Bond. This little drawing was done on dark brown paper using colored pencils, a warm gray Tria marker, and a couple of pastels for subtle shading.

I grew up in the Roger Moore era, however, even as a kid I always preferred the Sean Connery films. Connery just seemed like more of a threat. Living Daylights, with Timothy Dalton was the first Bond flick I got to see in the theaters, and I've gone to see every one since on opening weekend. I'm rather excited about this new film because for the first time in 007 history, they've actually made a direct sequel, continuing the story from the wonderful Casino Royale. I can't wait to see more of Daniel Craig's take on the character. With the exception of his blonde hair, he looks and acts the most like the Bond from Ian Fleming's classic novels, even more so than Connery. Any true Bond fan will tell you that the character in the original books is much darker and more nuanced than the cartoon superhero he's been portrayed as for the past 40 plus years. It is the Bond from the books I really enjoy trying to capture in my drawings from time to time. For instance here's a painting I did a few years ago to highlight my favorite book, Goldfinger:

I remember back in the mid nineties when I found my first Ian Fleming book, a worn out old paperback copy of For Your Eyes Only, in a great used book shop in Philadelphia called the Book Trader. It was two creaky floors of mismatched, loosely organized shelves filled with ragged old books, just waiting for curious minds to dig through them. If you were looking for a slick Barnes & Noble shopping experience, this wasn't your place. No, this place had real character, a motley assortment of folks perusing the racks, the heavy quiet of an old library, and the unique smell of old paper and woodwork. Finding what you wanted was more like a treasure hunt, it required patience, perseverance, and a willingness to get your hands dirty. This was the place I first met the real James Bond, and found many other old literary gems I never even knew I was looking for. I guess the point of my nostalgic rambling is sometimes to find the truly interesting, life changing stuff, you need to look past the flashy, glossy, commercialized facade and get some dirt under you fingernails and dust on your knuckles.

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