Drew Struzan (update)

Drew Struzan, Big Trouble in Little China, Huntington Gardens
Drew Struzan is one of the most widely recognized and influential poster artists of modern times. In addition, he is a versatile illustrator of book and comic covers, music LP and CD covers, advertising and other product illustrations.

I wrote about Struzan back in 2007. Since then his website has been redone with many additional images and reorganized into multiple sections. It not only showcases his Illustrated Works in various areas, but also provides an online gallery of his Studio Works.

The latter features a selection of paintings and drawings that range from fanciful interpretations of some of the famous faces he has worked with in his illustration, as well as imaginative images of a variety of subjects, including some nicely straightforward landscapes (image above, bottom right, Huntington Gardens, pastel and colored pencils on gray paper.)

I particularly enjoy the way Struzan works in the great tradition of movie posters, in which the stars and several dramatic sequences from the movie are worked into a single composition. It’s a treat to see the wide range of his illustration work and more of his personal and studio work as well.

The online galleries are set up in an interesting reverse of a common paradigm, in that the initial image is a detail crop, clicking on which goes to the full image of the work.

Some of the detail images show his work large enough to see his beautiful technique. In the detail of the image above, a poster for Big Trouble in Little China that I’m particularly fond of, you can see his handling of acryilc and colored pencil; a technique he uses to advantage to combine designerly elements with superb draftsmanship and lively, textural rendering (image above, bottom left).

The only awkward thing about the site is that there is no direct link between the Illustration and Studio sections without returning to the home page.

Gallery Nucleus, a sometime advertiser on Lines and Colors, has managed yet again to make me envious of those in their area (Alhambra California), by mounting a show of Struzan’s work, Drew Struzan: An Artist’s Vision, that runs from February 13 to March 2, 2009. The opening reception is this Friday, February 13 from 7:00 to 11:00PM, and the artist will be there.

In the meanwhile, those of us who are, oh say, 2,700 miles away, will be able to content ourselves with the terrific new site.

3 Replies to “Drew Struzan (update)”

  1. Thanks Charley, Struzan is one of my all time favorites. In addition to his masterful draftsmanship and technique his picture making/composition/design skills are second to none.

  2. Re: his separation of the illustration and personal works, I thought that was odd too; however, it’s not uncommon. Many professionals I know who do both commercial and gallery work tend to separate their site accordingly. They themselves see the two disciplines as distinct, so they divide them that way, or some tell me that they want to direct their viewers to one or the other but not necessarily to both. I’m not sure what Mr. Struzan’s reasoning is for the layout but that might be part of it.

    Another thing I thought was curious is that in the image display there’s shown a thumbnail of a cropped detail. If you click that you see a different larger detail. Click that and only then do you see the full image. Typically the full image is viewed first and then the detail. It’s as though the first view is zoomed in close, and then you step back to see the whole thing, which seems unnatural.

    Oh, and I love his work nonethelss.

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