I was around during the inception of video. I worked drawing and painting various movie industry art for all the agencies and movie production companies.
Back then if you wanted to know what times a local movie started you’d have to look in a newspaper. Quite often we were asked to do finished black & white art to be used as a small ad. This grew to doing preliminaries (comps) for movies as they were being filmed.
I remember when I was asked by Fox to work on the video covers for the international release of Star Wars all I had for reference was a VHS tape and a Polaroid printer so I could print off small 4X3 inch prints. I don’t know if they ever used my art, but the Co-producer bought one of the originals from me.
There was a lot of work doing this if you could paint likenesses of the stars. Drew Struzan was God to us. I learned his style (as did many of us), and adapted it to what I did.
One fateful day I found myself with no job. I pulled out a business card of a Disney art director I’d had in my wallet for quite some time. Again, video was in its infant stages. The whole of Disney Home Video was in one tiny trailer on the massive Disney Lot. I lived 5 minutes away.
I walked in and immediately had a sense of claustrophobia. Maybe ten art directors in one small space. They said they heard I could do likenesses. The film Ruthless People was going to be put on video, and Bette Midler was famous for being very picky about her nose having the correct lighting. Danny DeVito and she had likeness approval. They needed sketches done for ideas. I had just finished working on Ruthless People for Touchstone. I pulled out about 12 sketches then and there, and well, the rest is history.
They soon asked if I could paint funny animals, Disney characters, if they provided the sketches. I lied and said ’Yes, no problem”. 35 years later I’ve painted well over 2,000 jobs for them. I continue today doing games for them, through FUNKO who bought rights to produce them. And being a comic nerd back in the day, one of my bucket list items got checked off, when FUNKO asked me to paint some Marvel Characters.