You’d be hard pressed to find a film fan who doesn’t have their own favourite poster by Drew Struzan, the American illustrator behind countless classic campaigns over the past four decades. Whether it’s the unforgettable image of Marty McFly climbing out of the Delorean for Back to the Future, or the striking design he painted for John Carpenter’s The Thing, Drew could not only sell a film with one image, he would ensure that the image would be forever associated with the film. There’s a reason Universal re-used Drew’s imagery when they released Back to the Future earlier this year for its 25th anniversary and why directors like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Frank Darabont all happily cite him as being their favourite artist to both collect and collaborate with.
When I added the Pan’s Labyrinth UK one sheet to the site I talked about how studio suits no longer feel comfortable using artwork for a film’s campaign and instead prefer to rely on bland, Photoshopped images to sell their films. It’s the reason why 95% of modern film posters are terrible and, though there are notable exceptions, nothing has come close to touching the quality of the posters we saw in the 1970s and 1980s. Drew truly was (and still is) a master of his field and though he may be retired his legacy will live on for years to come.
Drew Struzan: Oeuvre, which has just been released in the UK (and is about to be released in the US) celebrates this legacy in the best way possible; by showing the artwork full page with no distracting text or annotations, just the images in all their glory. The book was compiled by Drew’s wife Dylan and it not only features the majority of his film-related output but also other work including commercial adverts, music and comic covers and even a selection of original paintings. The book showcases many images I’d never seen before, including some fantastic Indiana Jones pieces that spread across two pages. There are also countless other brilliantly realised illustrations of a whole range of characters such as Snake Plissken, the crew of the Starship Enterprise and some excellent celebrity portraits, all displaying that inimitable Struzan style.
Whilst it doesn’t quite collect every single item Drew worked on in his long career (as is remarked in the book) it would take a tome multiple times the size of this one to capture everything. I think Dylan has done a fine job of choosing the best pieces and it makes a great compliment to the book The Art of Drew Struzan, which was released last year (and is another must-buy).
All in all, if you’re even a passing fan of Drew’s work I can’t recommend this enough and can guarantee nostalgia chills when you open it for the first time and see the myriad of unforgettable designs on display.
Links (these are not affiliated and I am making zero money from this post!)
Drewstruzan.com is Drew’s own personal website featuring two galleries worth of work (a must visit!)
Here are all the Drew Struzan posters I’ve collected so far (there are several I plan to add to the site in the coming weeks): Drew Struzan – Film on Paper
More images from the book