Art Books, Disney, Lucasfilm Animation, Reviews

[ART BOOK REVIEW] The Art of John Alvin

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Holy movie posters, Batman! Today I’m reviewing The Art of John Alvin, sent to us for review by our friends at Titan Books.

If the name John Alvin doesn’t sound familiar, don’t panic. Most people don’t know his name, but they do recognize his works. He’s the guy who painted these movie posters:

Lion King (1994) by John Alvinjamermaid

Oh yeah, he’s that guy! So John Alvin was a painter/illustrator who is best known for his work promoting Hollywood films. In the animation world he’s pretty important. During the Disney Renaissance, when Walt Disney Animation Studios was trying to change the image of its films from kids’ shows to family entertainment, Alvin created movie posters that appealed directly to adults. He became Disney’s “secret weapon”, not only because he was a very talented painter, but because he had enough design smarts to know how to boil down an entire film into a single, striking image.

The Art of John Alvin is a compilation of some (but definitely not all) of John Alvin’s movie posters. If you’re a movie fan, you’re bound to recognize his works. Thankfully you’ll see a lot of stuff from Spielberg, Lucasfilm, and Disney. Remember seeing all the cool posters and promos for The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast? They’re all in there, in full-page prints.

The format of the book is kind of like a memoir, which makes sense since Alvin passed away in 2008. For each poster there’s a neat little story to read about, mostly about the creative process behind the final image. What I found fascinating were the stories about how Alvin had to work with (and sometimes struggle against) the marketing department of the various Hollywood studios. You’ll also find plenty of sketches, early concepts, scrapped designs, etc.

If you’re a movie lover or a nostalgic fan of the Disney Renaissance, you gotta check out The Art of John Alvin!



The Art of John Alvin: Amazon

Do you have any favorite John Alvin paintings? Let us know in the comments below!

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About Mason Smith

Mason is a rigger/animator at Triseum Games. He's also a grad student at Texas A&M working on his Master's thesis. He loves talking about animation, watching old Godzilla flicks, listening to 80s music, and drawing cartoons. Bottom text.