We are delighted to get the chance to put some questions to legendary book jacket artist, Bill Botten. Bill’s work has adorned hundred’s of famous author’s novels including Kingsley and Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, William Plomer, Salman Rushdie, Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Crichton and J.G. Ballard.
For James Bond fans, Bill’s work is most recognizable from John Gardner’s Bond novels Icebreaker and For Special Services, as well as Christopher Wood’s Bond screenplay novelizations The Spy Who Loved Me and James Bond and Moonraker.
1. How did you become involved in the artwork for John Gardner’s ‘Icebreaker‘, ‘For Special Services‘ and Christopher Wood’s novelizations of ‘James Bond and Moonraker‘ and ‘The Spy Who Loved Me‘?
2. What was your process for creating them and what medium did you paint in?
The cover images were prompted by the books themselves. As I have noted, one was painted in oil and the other three in gouache.
3. On the For Special Services and Icebreaker covers, particularly the Icebreaker which is reminiscent of Chopping’s Thunderball cover. Was this an homage to that one, either intentionally or unintentionally?
4. What advice do you have for aspiring book jacket artists?
Bill is in the process of putting a book together describing how it was before the arrival of computers. Along with many of his covers and descriptions he talks of how and why he painted them. He aims to publish the book in time for his 80th birthday next year. The working title is “Bill Botten Uncovered“.