Tag Archives: Drew Struzan

more of 2.5

freeman_eyesThis is my last post before the  final finished piece.

At the rate i’m going (2h/day give or take), i should be done by July 15th. I’ll try to whittle it down to one piece per month for the next one (any ideas?)

Since i’m using colored pencils, the hard part here was figuring out the right combination of shades for the tonal skin colors -this ate up a lot of time (help airbrush!). Also, notice that the colors are toned down/muted and less evenly spread out as opposed to if i had used acrylic airbrush. But, that’s ok -i’m going for the gritty feel here. These two still need some firming up and some more highlights but you get the idea.

Let me know what you think.

final comp2


Step 2.5

denzel_partDecided to do the final comp in colored pencils rather than airbrush acrylic. Although i would have preferred to color using BOTH, I’m still not comfortable w/ the latter (never used it before). Wonder if there are any good online tutorials for this. Feel free to dump on my coloring technique (remember, i haven’t done this in over 10 years) …

sample_color copy

Step 2

So, i tried doing the individual elements of the piece ‘free-hand’ coz that’s what i’m used to. Problem was, i bought a really cheap illustration board w/ like half a layer of drawing paper on it so when i needed to make some erasures (from lack of practice), i literally bore a hole through the whole board!.  So, i went out and bought a better one (Bainbridge 2200, textured and cold-pressed) and then proceeded to do what any artist, “pressed for time, and wanting to move on to the next piece” would do, i lightly traced using 6H Graphite.

Glory_rough comp

(There’s a case for you right there: FREE-HAND vs TRACING).

sample With the tracing done, i went ahead and did the dark/shadowed areas of each individual section of the montage first using 3B Graphite. I’m still doing that now (see sample at left). I’ll post the final comp when done.

And then we color!

Step 1

I haven’t drawn a piece this big in over 10 years and, quite frankly, am a little daunted by the task, not to mention rusty. But what the heck, i have to start somewhere. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the film’s release, so i’m doing it as a tribute to that and because i’m a very big fan of traditional (hand-drawn) movie poster art.

So anyway, i start by collecting reference photos for the piece. Since there are only so many that you can download off the internet, i decided to scan  the whole movie using VLC media player, then took screen shots of the scenes i thought i could use.




Glory mock-up

I then used Photoshop to crop and clean up the images that i wanted, then proceeded to play with my design and composition. Keeping in mind what inspired me to do the piece in the first place, i want the finished poster to evoke that same shared sense of awe, brotherhood and courage that the film espoused. Once i had the comp i liked, i did a ‘mock-up’ on 9 x 12″ drawing paper using (Faber-Castel) 3B graphite pencil.

And that’s it for step 1.


I know I’m procrastinating again, but what the heck. Until I get into that singular mode of “artistic fervor” I won’t be able to do a piece I can be proud of. Don’t worry, it’s coming … But until then, here are 4 guys whose art greatly influenced my style.

Norman Rockwell, Drew Struzan, George Perez and Alex Ross.

rockwell-golden-ruleNorman Rockwell’s idealized depictions of everyday life compelled  America to view his Saturday Evening Post covers even when the articles weren’t as good. And, boy, was he prolific: over 4,000 original works. Whew! Check out his Golden Rule at left.

Drew Struzan, the jedi master of movie poster art. Think of an iconic 121007_indianajones_largehand-painted movie poster done in the last 35 years, and odds are he did it. Spielberg, Lucas, and M. Night Shyamalan are big fans of his work. And-he-is-fast! Real impressive when you do pieces on 1:1 scale.


George Perez has a clean, fluid style that just looks great on the page. And he’s the guy to beat when it comes to action-packed, group superhero pieces. Teen Titans, Avengers and, of course, Crisis.

And then there’s Alex Ross. Who’s work is a combination of all three styles really. You just can’t beat the photorealism. The pieces, they just come to life. Heroes and Villains straight out of our collective subconscious and we see them, feel them, even hear them. Gets me every time.