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

We go to a theater and walk by a one sheet poster for a film being shown or for a movie yet to be released, never really paying attention to it. Why don't we look at movie posters like we used to do? 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 that 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 movies 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 the same film, 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?

Drew Struzan, the undeniable king of the modern day, hand drawn poster, is the man behind many of the 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 that can catch your eye and appeal to the masses. Thor: The Dark World, not the best Marvel film but the poster was 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.

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.

My favorite posters from a trilogy, Back to the Future. I'm sure some of your 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 it's a Back to the Future film and which one it is without ever really needing the title of the film involved.

My favorite film poster, Raiders of the Lost Ark, a classic and the best action adventure film to exist. It's that classic 1930's serial feel that we see portrayed in the film. It gives us exactly what the film is all about, a hero front in 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.

The last poster on my list, Stranger Things, created by Kyle Lambert, a poster for a Netflix show that has caught many people's eye. The eighties 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?

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