The Art of George Almond: From Russia, With Love – Legacy Collection

This week, the talented artist George Almond reminisces on his artwork he compiled in his tribute to Ian Fleming’s novel, From Russia, With Love.

Arrival in Istanbul

This one is part of a series I am especially fond of, and refer to as my “Legacy Collection.” It was done at a time of great experimentation for me, when I was using just about every variety of media and material you can name. Acrylic, aquarelle, gouache, colored pencil. Applied with every possible means of application; traditional paintbrushes, airbrushes, knives,…I probably would have used my tongue if I had thought it would help.

Bond's Arrival to Istanbul - ©George Almond

Bond’s Arrival to Istanbul – Mixed media on rag board | ©George Almond

This scene is from “From Russia, with Love,” depicting Bond’s arrival in Istanbul. It shows, quite well I think, how a fairly quiet scene can be used to set mood as well as period and location. ( Mixed media on rag board )

Beneath the Embassy

Another legacy piece, this one rendered in acrylic, layered in glazes to achieve an atmospheric depth. The colors are very subdued, grayed down to suggest the very dim light and claustrophobic environment of the ancient, subterranean tunnel beneath the major metropolitan city of Istanbul. The only color with any saturation at all is in the periscope, to point out the sheer audacity and outrageousness of the idea….Can you spot the rat in the painting?

"Beneath the Embassy" from From Russia, with Love | ©George Almond

“Beneath the Embassy” from From Russia, with Love | ©George Almond

The Moon Killer

My purpose with this pencil illustration was to portray the feral viciousness of the psychotic assassin, Red Grant, whose motives derived entirely from uncontrollable blood-lust rather than political conviction. The light and dark patterns on his face contrast with those of the full moon behind him. I have even distorted the perspective of his face to add to the feeling of discomfort in the viewer.

Red Grant | ©George Almond

Red Grant | ©George Almond

The Bazaar

The only time I ever tried using Fleming’s concept drawing as the model for Bond. ( More on Bond’s likeness later ) I never used it again for the simple reason that…it looks like Basil Rathbone!

©George Almond

Bond at the Bazaar | ©George Almond

The Orient Express

Back before the days of the internet (yes, there was such a time) an illustrators primary source for reference was the public library. This was the only photo I could find of a Turkish train depot. It is a far cry from the grand terminal in Istanbul, but it is an authentic stop on the route of the Orient Express from that period. I think its modesty adds to the intimate mystery of the scene, along with the cold, almost monochromatic color scheme.

Bond at the Orient Express | ©George Almond

Bond at the Orient Express | ©George Almond

From Russia with Love Cover Concept

An elegant, sinister valentine. Prismacolor pencil on red Canson paper.

From Russia, With Love Cover Concept | ©George Almond

From Russia, With Love Cover Concept | ©George Almond

Death Struggle

One of my very earliest works from the early 80’s. It was quite small too, 8 inches square, I think. I slanted the “camera” angle to give a feeling of chaos to this frenzied, tangle of two desperate men locked in a fight to the death.

Fight on the Orient Express | ©George Almond

Fight on the Orient Express | ©George Almond

Incidental Intelligence

Exclusive Interview with James Bond Artist George Almond

George AlmondBorn on Cape Breton Island, Canada, George Almond created his first painting at the age of five, following a school field trip to the local zoo. Having studied under the tutelage of such seasoned artists as Manuel De Leon, the noted anatomist, and Larry Brady, graphic designer to the J. Paul Getty Trust, he built a career as a freelance illustrator.

Today his work focuses mainly on children’s book illustration. Mindful of the influence picture books were to his own childhood development, as a person as well as an artist, he considers his work to be not only a vocation but a deep trust, aiding and enhancing children’s experience of learning.

Prints of George Almond’s work can be purchased at  –

Any Comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.