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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Art of Drew Struzan
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon October 9, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
It's really great to see Drew Struzan's art in one wonderful volume. All those that I've seen before were in different making-of and art-of books, particularly the Star Wars books. This book has much more than that.

There are works dating back to the from the first Indiana Jones movie (1981), Star Wars (he drew for all of them), Back to the Future, Shawshank Redemption, Police Academy, Hellboy and a few movies which I didn't know existed. Going through this book made me feel like watching all those movies again. A very nostalgic collection.

The paintings are gorgeous, nicely reproduced, and many printed full page. Also included are many variations of the movie posters, both in sketches and colours, and all almost as detailed as the final piece.

There's some sort of magical quality in his paintings that evoke a sense of fantasy and adventure. Together with his traditional approach to art, he has created a style that's easily recognisable. Every page is a marvel to look at, to admire.

Besides the art, Drew Struzan himself provided some commentary on the background stories and working with people. It's all very interesting to read.

This is definitely one of the top art books for 2010.

You probably do not want to miss this fantastic book.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Curb Appeal:

At first glance, the book actually reminds me of one of Drew's paintings. It's got a very bold and classic look to the cover. It is a hard cover book, but it's not too heavy and I was able to sit in a chair and read it cover to cover during one sitting in about two hours. I think the weight is an important factor that's worth mentioning as some books are too heavy to hold in your hands and read in one sitting. This one has the perfect balance of size and weight.

Content:

The Forward, which is written by Frank Darabont, really speaks volumes about the current state of movie poster art. He goes into extreme detail about how the "suits" (studio executives) are responsible for the downfall of real art in the movie poster business and feels that the new digital computer art doesn't hold a candle to the old stuff, which I tend to agree with. This is not a complete life's work of Drew Struzan by any means. The story starts in the early 80's and leads right up to 2008 when he retired. There's a brief section for most of the big films he worked on that explain the sometimes short, but always difficult process of creating the perfect piece that everyone is happy with. He speaks of great success seeing pieces of his work used in some of the most beloved films of our time as well as heartbreak when other works of art were thrown by the wayside. I found it particularly interesting to learn how many comps he had to do for studio executives before they finally agreed on an idea. He mentions that at times, he had nothing to go on and was asked to simply make something up which often turned out to be exactly what the studio wanted and other times, not so much.

Conclusions:

Once again, this is not a record of the complete work of Mr. Struzan, but for fans of his work, it's definitely worth picking up. It's a very easy read made up of 160 pages. You will learn new things about Drew and the processes that he went through when creating his movie poster art while following a common theme throughout the book. This theme represents the unfortunate decline in true movie poster art over the last decade. Today, it seems, studios are only interested in the quickest, easiest and cheapest method of producing movie posters which is why we only see digital cutouts and photo shopped backgrounds on most these days. This makes his amazing work seem all the more important.

Quality:

A lot of care was put into the construction of this book. There are both full color and black & white images throughout with each one shown in perfect resolution. This one will fit nicely on my shelf of encyclopedias and reference books.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is a wonderful book, very well designed and nicely organized. There are terrific reproductions of some of Struzan's most well known work, including Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Blade Runner and one of my favorite posters, Big Trouble in Little China. The book also contains cool images and info on his beautiful Creature From the Black Lagoon poster. The book shows how many of the posters evolved in the creation process, and we see many poster ideas that sadly did not see the light of day.

Highly recommended to any fan of Struzan, and fans of movie posters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
There are two other books collecting the work of the amazing Drew Struzan. Neither of these books included a substantial amount of Drew's sketches and preliminary drawings which are, in my opinion, some of his most incredible works. They finally got it right with "The Art of Drew Struzan". The book is filled with Drew's incredible comprehensive drawings. This book has great production values and wonderful, illuminating commentary from the artist himself. This is a fantastic art book, buy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Movie buffs are likely familiar with the works of Drew Struzan, as are many casual fans of cinema even if they don't know his name. With an incredible knack for producing detailed, dead-on portraits of a film's actors and capturing the sense of excitement and grandiosity of cinema, he has illustrated and painted some of Hollywood's most famous movie posters. A frequent collaborator of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, he was the official illustrator of posters for the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future film series.

The Art of Drew Struzan chronicles much of his work, beginning with Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981 to his retirement in 2008 and the final, unused image he produced for Hellboy II: The Golden Army at the request of his friend Guillermo del Toro. In between are selected works from an extensive portfolio of images now part of the canon of some of America's most celebrated films. Struzan shares the illustrations produced for Blade Runner: The Final Cut and the anniversary release of The Shawshank Redemption, and offers up interesting glimpses of comp work that was never fully developed into a final form, like his work for the 1992 theatrical version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Writing with David J. Schow, Struzan provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at designing movie posters by assembling collections of comp artwork (basically the rough drafts) that would eventually lead to the final images. It's a great chance to see the ideas Struzan worked with as he built towards many of his now famous works. It's also intriguing to see the images that could, or should, have been, but for various reasons never quite congealed. Throughout the book Struzan speaks briefly of the commissioned work, the changes that were requested, and how the ideas were formed, shared, and collaborated upon with the filmmakers in order to develop the art that would come to represent and identify the movie itself.

Created with an irreplaceable style and a strong sense of composition his painted illustrations drew in movie-watchers and created a sense of connection between the film and its viewers. By creatively employing the use of direct gaze, filmgoers took part in the experience of a film's world directly, establishing a personal connection with the impeccable portraits of Harry Potter and Indiana Jones, who met their viewer's gaze and invited them into their worlds. His paintings created a cohesive story representative of the movie, showcasing the sense of adventure and excitement of an Indiana Jones movie with perfection, the macho, clueless buffoonery of Big Trouble in Little China's Jack Burton, and the epic space operatics of Star Wars.

As enjoyable as it is to share in the visions of Struzan, it is also a bittersweet journey as it highlights the death of the relationship between Hollywood and illustrative art in the marketing of a film. As the years rolled on and technology progressed, movie studio execs learned how much easier, cheaper, and brainless it was to create a movie poster from publicity stills and promo images in Photoshop. It truly is a shame, and since Struzan's retirement in 2008 there has been a noticeable lack of creative, artistic imagery prior to a film's release. Gone are the days of a collective tingling of spines amongst cinemaphiles when the official poster of a long-awaited film was unveiled, as occurred on March 11, 1999 for Star Wars: Episode I when Struzan's image was introduced as the worldwide promotional piece for George Lucas's widely awaited continuation of the Skywalker saga.

Over the last decade, the spectacle of movie posters has eroded into simplistic images of generic backdrops populated with floating heads staring off into the distance, severing the relationship between the film and its viewers almost immediately. The grandiosity of cinema, the sense of excitement and fun, have been relegated to budget lines. Illustrations that were once sought after by Hollywood's biggest directors were now being scuttled by studio executives who no longer saw the appeal, who simply viewed movies as nothing more than a bottom line in their operating budget, or worse yet, just didn't get it. When asked by a reporter why Struzan's commissioned poster wasn't used for Pan's Labyrinth, a studio representative said, "We didn't use it because it looks too much like art."

Struzan's greatest gift, of course, was that he was able to marry the artistic merits of film and painted illustration. Having produced some of the finest images for many of Hollywood's most enjoyable fare, Struzan now offers fans a look at his creative process and showcases the work he is most fond of. Seeing his work collected in The Art of Drew Struzan one is instantly reminded of the glory of film and the emotional and cultural investments we've made in particular favorites. For more than 30 years, his posters have brought to life all the drama, adventure, humor and camaraderie of the movie itself, rising far above a simple marketing gimmick and into the realm of art. They were, and are to this day, a celebration of cinema at its best.

-- Michael Hicks
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book that does not exhaustively detail every piece of work Struzan has ever done, but rather provides a selective walkthrough of the artist's career, with his own commentary. Like many creative types working in Hollywood who have gone 'on record' to talk about the frustrations they have faced (like, for example William Goldman, and Julia Phillips) Struzan's career evolved into an ever-increasing farce involving nameless suits decreeing 'art'-direction that eventually burnt the artist out (they even went so far as to have another nameless artist paint something over a portion of his work without telling him). One feels a frustration at the depressing homogenisation, conservative attitudes, and the dearth of creativity involved in the (post) modern Hollywood machine, although it does provide the reader with a fascinating insight into Struzan's creative process as he provides multiple sketches and differing takes whilst trying to prevent 'too many cooks' from spoiling things. Indeed, his sketches are awe-inducing in their own right, and I often wished he'd painted an alternative poster from some of his preliminaries, rather than the sketch the studio selected (I think specifically of his Revenge of the Sith poster). This book is not definitive- some of my favourite Strew posters were from the cinema re-releases of the original Star Wars trilogy in the 1990s which do not appear, but for both the artist interested in Struzan's process, through to the film-fan nostalgic for the posters that adorned the films of their youth, this is a splendid purchase, and takes pride of place on my shelf alongside the similarly beautiful Adam Hughes and Alex Ross coffee-table books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
When I had received my review copies from Titan Books, I saw that they had sent me two Drew Struzan books. I had initially planned on rolling both books into one single review, as I had assumed that they would be basically the same. After spending some time going through them, I could not have been more wrong.

The Art of Drew Struzan eschews the traditional collection of finished work and instead, invites you into Drew’s world as a professional artist. Drew Struzan has been a Hollywood staple for decades and is responsible for most of the iconic movie posters that came out of the 80s and 90s. If you do not recognize his name, then you certainly would recognize the posters that he created for Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and The Harry Potter series, just to name a few.

The book is presented as a series of visual shorts stories in a way. Each iconic poster is not only shown in its finished incarnation, but all the support sketches and process paintings are shown as well. This gives us a great insight into the process and sheer amount of work that goes into the creation of each finished poster. Drew’s sketches are suburb and even in the rough strokes they perfectly capture the likenesses of the Hollywood stars that he is portraying. This is then supplemented by a mutli paragraph descriptions around the process meetings with the director and any interesting facts around the creation of the paintings.

Being able to see inside Drew’s world is fascinating but at times depressing. It is unfortunate to see an artist that by all accounts would be considered a modern master, being constantly pushed around and undervalued by Hollywood until his eventual retirement due to frustration in 2008. While directors such as George Lucas and Guillermo del Toro fawn over Drew and his work, they are ultimately overruled when studio execs decides that they do not want to use Drew's poster because is “Looks too much like art”. In the end, I was quite pleased that the publisher chose to include such candidness into the stories.

For some people, The Art of Drew Struzan will function as just another art coffee table book, and for that reason alone, it is well worth owning. For artists, this book is a must have. To see behind the veil of a modern master and into not only his visual processes but his mental as well, is invaluable to all working artists out there. So see how Drew problem solves and make changes in a pre-digital world, gives me new insight and respect into his work. I have to say that this has immediately become one of the most prized art books that I own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The Art Of Drew Struzan is a wonderful book featuring several examples of Drew's illustration mastery in a form rarely seen. He offers commentary on each piece along with prelimary drawings accompanying each of the finished illustrations presented. For illustrators of any level and/or fans of Drew's movie poster work, this is a highly recommended book.

The layout and design of the book is very nice; clearly presented with taste and class. However, the actual quality of the book itself is less than exemplary. I've examined numerous copies of the book virtually every one contained some sort of printing flaw, either on the cover or within the book. Appears to be a cheaper quality overseas job. Less expensive to keep costs down, but less control over the finished product.

I appreciated Amazon's communication, customer service and pricing. However, I ultimatatly had to return three copies of this book to Amazon because each one arrived with some sort of damage incurred in shipping. To their credit the company honored their return policy and tried to please me. I admit, I am meticulous about the condition of my books; probably more than the average customer. However I don't believe I should accept merchandise that received damage due to insufficient packaging. Why Amazon continues to ship valuable items in cheap, thin, flimsy cartons just boggles my mind. Ends arrived crushed; spines will be buckled from having been dropped on them. Bubble wrap, immobilizing the book upon a larger board so the edges and spine can't be touched should the book drop and packing the carton with stiffer material to cushion mishandling would do the trick...but I guess that would cost too much money and it is worth it to the company to simply return or write off damaged copies, or hope that less fussy customers will just accept the dinged ones, than to go to the trouble. A shame, because I appreciate the deep discounting but I do not appreciate lazy, flimsy packing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
E.T., the Indiana Jones movies, the Star Wars movies, the Back to the Future trilogy, the Goonies, Harry Potter, and Frank Darabont's Stephen King adaptations are all movies that Drew Struzan created all the promotional art. From the late 1970's until his retirement at the end of 2008, Struzan was THE movie poster artist. His artwork came to define some of the movies he helped promote.

THE ART OF DREW STRUZAN isn't a collection or treasury of all of Struzan's movie posters. Instead, it is more akin to an author's favorites or best-of collection. Struzan worked on the movie posters and promotional materials for around 200 different films; only 40 are collected here. In addition, there are a series of sketches, some in black and white others in color, as well as comments from Struzan about each of the movies. The book contains a forward by Frank Darabont that laments the fall of the movie poster artist and the rise of digital and PhotoShopped posters.

The book is a bit larger than an average book, but smaller than most art books. It's about 9"X12" in size with a black cover. The writing is easy to read and a person can read the entire book within a few hours or less.

Besides the artwork, some of which hasn't appeared before in the other two Struzan books available, what I liked most about the book was Darabont's foreward and Struzan's comments. Which is to say, I liked the entire book. Even though it's a book about the work of a particular movie poster artist, it provides a glimpse into the business side of motion pictures and how that often conflicts with artistic side of the movie business.

This is an excellent book that any visual artist or movie fan will enjoy and is almost a must-have for either one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Drew Struzan must be considered one of the best movie poster artists in history. His posters capture the spirit and excitement of some of the most memorable films ever made. In the 70s and 80s he was most prolific, creating posters for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future. But he's done some remarkable work more recently as well, such as Hellboy and the first two Harry Potter movies.

As you'd expect, the book is full of artwork - some of it printed full-page in high quality. One of the interesting things about the book is that you don't see just the finished posters, but you see them in various stages of completion. There is often also alternate artwork for many of the movies - posters that Mr. Struzan completed but were not used by the studio.

But this isn't just an art book, it contains text as well. The book starts off with a great foreword by Frank Darabont (director of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist), who frequently uses Struzan and writes about why his posters are the best in the business. And then as you flip through the book, Struzan becomes the author and writes about each project. Struzan's anecdotes are interesting to read, and he discusses what he was hoping to achieve with each poster and working with directors over the years. Another idea he puts forth is that he's not very happy with the way movie posters are heading these days. And I agree with him. I always preferred the more artistic painted movie posters over the typical mash-up photoshop jobs you see today.

There is also another book out if you are interested in Struzan's work: Drew Struzan: Oeuvre
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