We are delighted to welcome one of the standard bearers of James Bond online in from the cold. Peter Lorenz is not only a collector of James Bond artwork but a talented artist in his own right who discusses his craft with us.
How do approach your painting and what are your favourite mediums?
My approach varies depending if it’s a copy of an existing artwork or a new one. I have started painting by copying existing artwork, simply to teach myself and see how close I could get to the original. When copying an existing artwork, I start by researching the best possible source material that can give me details, ideally down to the brush strokes. Fortunately I have some transparencies of the original artworks that are very detailed. Then I spend a long time analysing the original: What colour did they use? What was painted first, what are the layers etc.
Following that I trace the artwork to a blank art board and start painting. I use gouache, a water based colour. Usually starting with the faces as they are the most challenging part. Then I complete the painting layer by layer based on the previous analysis that I did. I try to get as close as possible to the original. Working on my own designs follows roughly the same process but I use Photoshop to pre-compose my artwork. And painting something from scratch is a lot more challenging as there is no real reference when it just looks not quite right.
Who are you favourite literary Bond artists, whether book jackets, comics or otherwise?
Chopping is the classic of course. They gave the literary Bond a distinctive look. Sadly there are not a lot of illustrated book covers that do not reference the movies continuing Chopping’s tradition. From the ones that do use movie references, I do like the Swedish paperback artwork by Yrjö Edelmann. They have this early 60s flair .The same goes for comic covers by the Nordic comic publisher Semic. Several covers by Spanish artist Jordi Penalva have the wonderful pulp-novel style that I like.
If you could have designed any Bond book cover, which would it have been?
Moonraker. For me the book stands out from Fleming’s early work as it takes place exclusively in England and has it’s very own character. I like the combination of very traditional locations and hi tech weaponry. That could have made a very interesting cover: White cliffs, rockets, Gala Brand and of course Bond himself. Maybe in the style of the old travel posters that advertised railways and ocean liner journeys.
Tell us a little about your art collection.
I used to collect posters, photos records, books and all the other Bond related things. Until I realised that it’s quite costly, takes a lot of space and to collect everything is simply an impossible task.. So I switched to create a virtual collection. I set myself the goal to have at least one image of each poster, photo etc. I started surfing the net, scanning things from books, checked auction houses and built a large virtual collection. My special focus is artwork and I spent time and money on finding copies of each artwork in a high resolution. My friend Thomas Nixdorf was very helpful as he shares my passion for Bond artwork and has an amazing collection of originals. There are only a few pieces missing such as the artwork for “From Russia With Love” by Renato Fratini. But I hope to find that one day as well.
What artistic projects are you working on or hope to?
Currently I had put my projects on hold due to work commitments but I’m planning to paint the “Look Down” artwork from Thunderball again. I did paint it once before based on the printed posters. But then I was fortunate to view the original artwork by McCarthy. And I realised how far off my reproduction was. So: Start again.
Peter is a long time Bond collector, specialising in books and artwork.
Read Peter’s blog at The Illustrated 007 – The Art of James Bond