ByLivingston Wade Oden, writer at Creators.co
Filmmaker here! Follow me on Twitter @livingstonoden
Livingston Wade Oden

We often go to a theater and walk by a one-sheet poster for a film being shown or for a movie yet to be released without really paying attention to it. Why don't we look at movie posters like we used to? It's because the art of a hand-drawn poster is slowly dying, being replaced by a Photoshopped version that doesn't catch the heart of the story it's trying to sell to an audience.

Since the beginning of cinema, film posters and ads were all hand drawn for the viewing public. These posters are now considered fine works of art in many circles today. So, why is this art form dying out? Maybe some would say that a drawn poster is too expensive to create compared to one created on a computer screen. Of course, my argument for that is: If it's too expensive, where else are they putting the millions of dollars from a movie's budget?

Maybe it's just an opinion of mine to believe that a movie poster just isn't what it used to be, but I consider it a fact that the effort of creating something for millions to see in a theater, online, or on a DVD case has become lazy. Let's go through some examples and maybe you'll see where I'm coming from.

Below we have two posters for Star Wars: Episode II — the one on the left is drawn while the one on the right is Photoshopped. Which poster do you think has a more cinematic feel?

'Star Wars: Attack of the Clones' [Credit: Disney / Lucasfilm]
'Star Wars: Attack of the Clones' [Credit: Disney / Lucasfilm]

Drew Struzan, the undeniable king of the modern-day, hand-drawn poster, is the man behind many classic posters that have graced film fans' walls and movie theater entrances. Just look at the differences of the two posters above — the hand-drawn poster is rich with detail and characters, while the other one is flat and a bit odd to look at.

I won't deny there are some decent posters that are not hand drawn, can catch your eye and appeal to the masses. Thor: The Dark World isn't the best Marvel film, but the poster is epic and beautiful to stare at. It wasn't hand drawn, but the editing and filters used made it pretty close to what a drawn poster would look like.

'Thor: The Dark World' [Credit: Marvel]
'Thor: The Dark World' [Credit: Marvel]

A computer-edited poster can be something that is enjoyable and worth putting on a wall, but no matter how much time is put into edited stills from a film, it doesn't compare to something made from the tip of a pencil and some paint. Check out some more examples below and tell me you don't agree.

'Back to the Future' [Credit: Universal Pictures]
'Back to the Future' [Credit: Universal Pictures]

My favorite posters from the Back to the Future trilogy. I'm sure some of you are asking why this is my favorite grouping of posters when there isn't much to them. It's the simplicity of the posters that sells me. Each poster changed the number of people, the wardrobe and the car to show you exactly what film it is. We know just by looking at it that it's a Back to the Future film and which one it is without ever really needing the title of the film.

'Raiders of the Lost Ark' [Credit: Paramount]
'Raiders of the Lost Ark' [Credit: Paramount]

My favorite film poster is for Raiders of the Lost Ark, a classic and the best action adventure film to ever exist. It's got that classic, 1930s serial feel that we see portrayed in the film. It gives us exactly what the film is about — a hero front and center with the prize behind him, the evil that's on Indy's tail and the damsel in destress.

It's a perfect poster, and one that most filmmakers and poster creators need to look back on for motivation to create something memorable.

'Stranger Things' [Credit: Netflix]
'Stranger Things' [Credit: Netflix]

The last poster on my list, Stranger Things — created by Kyle Lambert — caught many peoples' eye. The '80s were full of drawn movie posters, some of which are in this post. The poster looks to have been pulled right out of that decade and into the modern age, as if someone opened up a time capsule and pulled this poster and the show from a dusty hole for us to enjoy.

Why can't more posters look like this today? The funny thing is, the Stranger Things poster was actually created in Photoshop. What I enjoyed about Kyle's work is that he realizes that a poster can be artistic and eye-catching, that it tells a story just like the show itself does.

So what are some of your favorite posters? Let me know by commenting below.


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