Artist Drew Struzan has a new book out (and a new interview that you can view here), about his extensive work as the go-to artist for the ’80s and ’90s biggest movie franchises. Along with the late Richard Amsel, Struzan created signature hand-painted posters for some of the most beloved movies (and movie advertisements) ever.
He drew the Star Wars prequels, a few of the Indiana Jones (the original was done by Amsel), the Back to the Future trilogy, the Harry Potter films, Adventures in Babysitting, and Big Trouble in Little China. Two of my favorites are The Goonies and Hook.
Struzan was also recruited to do the DVD covers for The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.
In a world where movie posters are done by any asshole with Photoshop (paste two big heads above the title… no creativity, no hint at what the movie is about), it’s important to appreciate people like Drew Struzan (and the directors and studios that actually still hire him).
He did some awesome work on less-than-stellar movies, like The Flintstones and Cutthroat Island.
A lot of the posters follow a similar format (big main character surrounded by smaller drawings of the supporting characters or setpieces). But at least they have some artistry and some personality. They jump out at you and hold your attention, unlike movie posters of today.
Homeboy even drew the character cards for the 1996 edition of my favorite board game Clue. Check out his website for examples of his work, and even a bunch of portraits he drew that didn’t end up being used as the poster (like this one for Radioland Murders). The drawing on the left was the one Drew Struzan drew. The one on the right is what the studio used instead. I’m pretty sure this was the beginning of end of creativity in Hollywood.