Speaking to a rapt audience of CSUN students enrolled in my Design for Entertainment Advertising* class, award-winning creative director Christian Struzan presented some highlights of a long career designing movie posters, including key art for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and Sideways. 

During the lively Q&A session that followed, I asked Struzan what lessons he learned from his father, renowned illustrator Drew Struzan. “Believing in yourself and working really hard,” Struzan answered, “which sound kinda like clichés, but they're not.” And expounding on what he picked up from mentor Tony Seineger, Struzan advised, “Always have a concept. The concept has got to be there, man.”

Jason Iby, a CSUN senior, asked what to include in a portfolio—“I look for somebody who can make something out of nothing,” Struzan explained, “How did you get that out of that?” Reflecting on his own work, Struzan affirmed, “My life comes out on the page. Your experiences will come out in your artwork and your creations.” —AS

*Offered by the Department of Art at California State University, Northridge.