The Art of Drew Struzan

Book Reviews | Sep 10th, 2010

Authors: Drew Struzan & David J. Schow
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Movie
Pages: 160 pages
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Don’t know Drew Struzan is? I’m 100 percent sure you would know if saw the artwork he has created for over the past 30 years! Drew is an illustrator, artist, painter and just a master at what he does. He has done over 150 movie posters for some of the biggest Hollywood movies including all of the Star Wars films, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Blade Runner, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China and many others! Drew has also done a lot of album covers as well. This book is the ultimate coffee table book to own if you’re a movie geek!

This is the first book to cover Drew Struzan’s movie poster work this in-depth. There’s a forward from director Frank Darabont, where Drew did the DVD re-release work for one of my favorite movies, Shawshank Redemption. The foreward by Darabont is brilliant to say the least. He just let’s loose on the current state of movie posters and the movie industry. Everything is done with photoshop and “big heads” these days, ripping off a style that Struzan pioneered. Several times I laughed out loud at things that Frank Darabont said, and I happen to agree with him. Everything is done cheaply and is unmemorable now. Movie posters are affected by the middle men of the studios that got to have their filthy hands on it and be in control. It’s just sad that artists like Struzan and others have been forgotten or been treated this poorly by the studios.

There’s a quote from Guillermo Del Toro as well, who has become a friend of Drew’s as well as Darabont. “Every movie that had to be something special had to have a poster by Drew Struzan.” You know you’re the go-to-guy for movie posters when George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have said repeatedly that Drew is their favorite movie poster artist. Back then, everyone wanted someone like Drew Struzan to do their movie posters. It was art, it was merchandise, it was a necessity in the movie biz; those days are changed and long gone I’m afraid. But with this book, the hardcore movie fan like myself get to look back and read the stories of the making of many classic, iconic movie posters from Struzan. You get his point of view on some posters from the movies mentioned above, plus the posters that never were finalized like Sahara, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Money Pit, Rescuers Down Under, and others. It’s definitely interesting to see the comps and sketches of what he was envisioning. Who knews, maybe if he did the final poster work for some of these movies, maybe they would have been more popular.

You find out (if you haven’t already) the story behind John Carpenter’s The Thing. He pretty much did that iconic poster over night! That’s just raw talent right there folks. Most people would have said screw it and threw their hands up in surrender, myself included haha. But he stayed up all night to create the poster, because this was something he loved to do. He wasn’t rich, actually he said he was quite the opposite. It baffles me to think someone working in Hollywood couldn’t make a decent living off of that but then again, it’s Hollywood and someone always getting screwed.

It’s funny to hear the behind the scenes stuff that went along with some of these posters. You can also see the frustration Drew had with the movie studios and all the businessmen/middle men. I don’t blame him at all, and I’m just shocked how mistreated he was throughout his career. Not getting a job, the studios & or controlling art directors changing things on him every second (I hate that), someone finishing his OWN work and not getting paid/credit for it! I’m sure most of that would have made me sue whoever needed to be sued. Maybe he did get paid for the work he did but didn’t sound like it me. It just astonishes me how things were done back then where artists weren’t credited for their work sometimes. Now the tables have turned with artists (especially music photographers) because now everybody just gets a credit and doesn’t get paid for their work which is just bullshit. Giving away something for free is just stupid and degrades the field. But with all the ranting and raving about the studios and Hollywood, the true nature of this book is to showcase the incredible, brilliant work of Drew Struzan.

From being an artist and a movie fan myself, I loved looking through this book. It’s a hardcover book, big enough to showcase the images decently. I actually wished the book was longer and had even more images in it! Like I said before; the book is just something I will proudly put on my coffee table for others to look through as well. People will be amazed at how many movie posters this guy has done. You’d think he was the only artist out there or something?! I’m proud to say that I own some of these posters featured in the book and the reason for it is because of Drew’s work. Why buy a poster of a bunch of photoshopped heads? You want a piece of artwork to hang out at your place. If you appreciate art and the movies, be sure to pick up this book!

Bottom Line: A must-have book for movie geeks!
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