7 Amazing Illustrated TV Posters

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Pencils. Ink. Paper. Underappreciated in movie poster-making these days, but making a comeback – see this Wolverine one-sheet for details – it’s often up to TV to pick up the slack. With the new Mad Men poster setting eyebrows to cocked all over the web of late, here are seven examples of how the smaller screen is showing up movie poster makers with the same equipment available to your seven-year-old nephew…

Poster designer: The Refinery – who also brought you these Life Of Pi, Drive and Breaking Bad posters.

Remember colouring in? Genuine ‘60s adman Brian Sanders does. Managing to echo old-school advertising tropes and make you feel an amazing sense of unease, this particular one-sheet pulls such a good Escher-like perspective trick with the background buildings/stop sign you almost don’t notice the double-Don action in the foreground. If it makes you think “What does it all mean?”, it’s definitely done its job.

Poster designer: Drew Struzan – who also brought you all your favourite Indy, Back To The Future and Star Wars posters (as well a huge number of other classics).

Poster-designing legend Drew Struzan needs no introduction, but this particular Comic-Con Walking Dead poster does, as it’s not often the man who brought you artwork for The Thing and The Goonies ventures into the dark world of TV poster design. The connection, as Shawshank Redemption fans may have guessed, is former writer/director/producer/showrunner Frank Darabont, who asked Struzan to create something special for Comic-Con 2010. Fancy owning it? Head to Drew’s website and make sure (at least) $125,000 is in your debit account…

Poster designer: Larry Salk – who also brought you that Superman III poster, as well as lesser-known fare like Avalanche Express and The Brink’s Job.

Originally commissioned as part of a Season 3 Seinfeld episode called The Letter, this oil painting has become a framed fixture in Jerry-panderers’ houses the world over, if only because it reminds fans of what the artsy elderly couple say about it in the show. “I sense great vulnerability. A man-child crying out for love. An innocent orphan in the post-modern world,” says a haughty lady in a blue dress. “I see a parasite,” says her husband. “A sexually depraved miscreant who is seeking only to gratify his basest and most immediate urges." Then, of course, there’s the quote of quotes: “He is a loathesome, offensive brute… yet I can’t look away.” You’d be surprised how useful that phrase is in day-to-day life, once you know it…

Poster designer: Fox’s in-house team – who also brought you, um, posters for many other Fox shows, including the genius House series and good ol’ 24.

Many Treehouse Of Horror episodes have been blessed with their own individual one-sheets but this one’s an especially beautiful beauty. Flanders is Satan, Kang (or possibly Kodos) is E.T., Bart is Frankenstein’s monster… Hell, Mr. And Mrs. Simpson are even packing heat. Of course all Simpsons’ posters are illustrated, what with it being a cartoon and all, but Groening’s team really take things to another poster-making level compared to competitors like Family Guy and American Dad. Take a look at their Jaws pastiche, as well as The Sopranos mickey-take for definitive proof on that front.

Poster designer: Iconisus L&Y (with FX Creative) – who also brought you this incredibly fun It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia poster as well as this altogether quite terrible Virgin Territory number.

Louis C.K. isn’t your average stand-up comedian, and Louie isn’t your average sitcom. So it should come as no surprise that instead of some fiercely bog standard Raising Hope-a-like one-sheet, Louie got a few different hand-drawn pieces, from this one on the left to eyeless Louie here and word-vomiting Louie here. Bizarrely, Iconisus seem keen to hide Louis’ peepers, as if they’re somehow going to put viewers off, instead concentrating on his increasingly iconic ginger noggin and beard combo.

Poster designer: Intralink Film Graphic Design – who also brought you a few of The Dark Knight’s posters as well as the Diane Keaton-breaking Mad Money one-sheet.

This isn’t actually illustrated, strictly speaking, as it’s more of an illustration effect on a photomontage, but it’s a cut above the rest and still worth your appreciation. An eye-catching tribute to the unfortunately now-cancelled corrupt cop show, it comes in red and blue flavours, both of which clearly underline that this isn’t yet another CSI-wannabe – if only because Forest Whitaker is floating about in Michael Chiklis’s top pocket.

Poster designers: Assorted, including Daniel Danger, Craig Drake, Ken Taylor and Jock here.

Mondo have been producing amazing work for years and years now, both for film and TV. But with the Mondo crew being such a very discerning bunch, it can’t be any old show that makes their roster – sorry, Mrs. Brown’s Boys – and fortunately, HBO’s Game Of Thrones isn’t any old show. Marvel, then, and this incredible assortment of George R.R. Martin-inspired artwork, and be sure to check out MondoTees’ website to buy some of your own.