John Rainsford

The problem with green... James Bond and printing issues

This article was posted on Wednesday, 29th August 2012

I saw an interesting post this morning from Michael GIllette. Gillette is a very talented commercial illustrator who was responsible for the painted Bond girls on the last run of James Bond books, published by Penguin Books. He published on his blog, the reworked version of one of the covers, Thunderball (he did 15 painted covers for the Ian Fleming novels and short stories). He says:

"Revisiting them allowed me to redo the Thunderball cover which printed disappointingly for Penguin (there were no time for print proofs)Green is the hardest colour to reproduce so it took a rethink on the approach."

I've posted the old on the left and the new on the right below.

Feuerball

Penguin, I assume, are using modern printing presses, but still there are frailties in reproducing certain colours in the spectrum, using traditional cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. It is nearly impossible to achieve rich greens and oranges.

When you're in a situation, like above, where there won't be any printed proofs, it might be an idea to pump the colours with additional cyan for the greens (which was done in the new image above) or extra magenta for oranges, just to be sure. This will tip the colour balance towards the additive colour, but, if you're looking for richness, there is no alternative (aside from using a five or six colour printing process, which can be super expensive).

I have to say though, the new cover is far superior to the original- not just the colours, but the image and composition. Really ties in with the story and looks amazing.

Also, Feuer Ball? You can't help but love German.

Article postscript on Wednesday, 29th August 2012

I just remembered that this is not the first time Michael Gillette's artwork has featured on my blog- check this out.

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