The Illustrated World Of Movie Posters By Drew Struzan


The Illustrated World Of Movie Posters By Drew Struzan

Drew Struzan is movie poster artist known for his work on more than 150 movie posters. He has created some of the most iconic movie posters of the last 30 years, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Blade Runner. George Lucas has dubbed him “the only collectible artist since World War II”, Steven Spielberg said that he is my “favourite movie artist” and The Boston Globe described his as “the last of the great poster artists”. Like Robert McGinnis has also drawn and painted book covers. Drew Struzan has also worked on album cover art for titles such as Beauty and the Beast, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Goonies and for artists such as Roy Orbison (Memphis) and Brothers Johnson (Blam!)

Famous directors such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Frank Darabont and Guillermo del Toro have pointed out, Drew Struzan has an uncanny ability to capture both the spirit and mood of a film in one static image. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for his posters to surpass the source material. “I had to almost live up to the art that we were later going to ask Drew to create for the poster,” admits Steven Spielberg in the 2013 documentary, Drew: The Man Behind the Poster.


Drew Struzan Reference PhotoDrew Struzan’s style is unique and starts with him sketching out drawings on gessoed illustration board, then tinting the draftsmanship with airbrushed acrylic paint, finishing up the highlights and other details with coloured pencils adding further airbrushing if required. The gessoed based allows Drew the luxury of being able to accommodate any requested changes to the work. He prefers to work on a 1:1 scale, and generally draws on a 40×30 inch board. Working from reference photographs and live models, Drew Struzan has been known, at times, to include depictions of himself, family members and friends in his work. He is known for working very quickly; typically he will finish a painting within a week to two weeks. With the theatrical release of the Star Wars special editions, Drew Struzan created the three panel triptych within the limited four-week deadline. The poster artwork for John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of The Thing was created overnight, having received that assignment less than a day before the finished poster was needed.

The Illustrated World Of Movie Posters By Drew Struzan Paintings


Drew Struzan officially retired from poster work in 2008, but that retirement has been spotty at best. Over the past few years, he’s continued to produce occasional work for television and movies like The Walking Dead and Cowboys & Aliens. Filmmaker Dana Nachman made a documentary about Batkid, a story about Miles Scott, a young boy with leukemia, who took the internet by storm in 2013 when the Make-A-Wish Foundation allowed him to save San Francisco from the dastardly plans of The Riddler. Drew Struzan created a poster for Dana Nachman’s Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around The World.

Of course, the words that everyone asks is there a possibility he’ll come back to work? His last known work was for J.J. Abrams, Star Wars The Force Awakens released in 2015. Although the not the film’s officially released image, it was a promotional poster produced in limited edition and released only to the fans at D23 Expo 2015. Since then Drew has continued with his retirement but you can Never Say Never.


The recently released book, Drew Struzan: Oeuvre, with a foreword by George Lucas, features over 250 pieces of artwork, including all of Drew’s most iconic movie images, as well as other highlights from his career, including album, book and comic book covers, stamps, trading cards, promotional artwork and very personal original works. The book comes right up to date, including exclusive San Diego Comic-Con poster art produced for the Walking Dead television series (2010) and the Cowboys & Aliens movie (2011), with text by his wife Dylan, providing an intimate look at the man and his legacy. The definitive collection of Drew Struzan’s work; this is an absolute must-have for any movie buff and an unrivalled slice of both art and cinema history.


The snapshot of artwork below highlights Drew Struzan’s talent for capturing what is both human and heroic in the face of a movie character. Further information about Drew can be found on his website, including his portfolio of illustrated works. Most of the images featured are available as Limited Edition Fine Art Giclee Print from and Galactic Gallery.

NOTE: Images used remain the property of Drew Struzan and are used for illustration within the articles.

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