Movie Poster Artist Drew Struzan: The Ten Principles Of Success

Having spent two weeks being rather ill, I am now emerging back into the light. The single benefit of this illness is that I got to catch up on all those films I had missed over the last couple of years – and one such film was ‘Drew: The Man Behind the Poster’ a doc about movie poster maestro Drew Struzan.

My filmmaking generation grew up on a diet of movies that he almost always painted, drew and designed the posters for. He is a legend and we all dreamt that one day he would do a poster for our movies. Getting an insight into who he is, his past, his work ethics… was extraordinary, and so many of the principles of success could be seen in his story.

  • A decade Of Training
    By the time Drew was a teenager, he had already been drawing for a decade and was already an accomplished artists. We all need this decade of training before we become real players. That old saying comes to mind, ‘an overnight success only takes ten years.’
  • i_ds_ramboWhen you MUST succeed
    It’s very clear from listening to Drew that his desire to create paintings and drawings was so profound, he just had to do it. His penniless background meant that he often had to choose between food and paint. Quite latterly and metaphorically, this gave him a real hunger for success. The lesson? Comfort is the enemy of achievement and in many ways, pain is a great ally.
  • Struzan_BladeRunner2003It does not matter where you start
    Or the resources you have at hand. The desire to succeed and the tenacity to keep going is all that is truly needed for success. Drew literally began with nothing. Rather than gazing into his belly button about his choices, he got on with it and took massive action.
  • 618_movies_drew_struzan_2Do it every day… Relentlessly
    Every day Drew paints or draws. He routinely expects more from himself than any other person expects from him. This work ethic eventually manifests a master.
  • Back_to_the_Future_85537Be a true collaborator
    Drew works closely with people as he can see they have valuable input too. This approach allowed him to flourish in a commercial setting, while still remaining true to his artistic background. There is no diva in him.
  • indexDeliver the impossible
    Becoming a master allows what appears to be impossible to some, to become the inevitable. Drew routinely created amazing work at breakneck speed.
  • Partnerships
    It’s clear that while his wife Dylan is not the artist he is, she plays a significant role in their business and their creative partnership. Undoubtedly, she frees him to do what he does best, and he frees her to do what she does best. This kind of partnership, built on love and respect, can greatly increase the chances of rapid success.
  • tumblr_n52fhcI34e1qfxwtoo3_1280Develop your voice
    We all begin by emulating what we love, but as we grow as artists, we develop our own voices. Drew has become known for creating posters that are immediately recognisable as his work. His work, his ‘voice’, is unique.
  • 061Feel gratitude for doing what you love
    It’s clear in all the interviews with Drew that he is grateful of the gifts he has been given and the opportunities, good and bad, that he has been presented with. They have all enriched his life and career.
  • Humility, the hallmark of a true master
    His immense talent and spectacular successes never manifest rampant ego as it would in so many others. Rather he displays a deep humility. We can all learn from this.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
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