Movie posters that weren’t

Karate Kid poster by James White

Labyrinth poster by James White

Rocky 3 poster by James White

Skyfall poster by James White

Predator poster by James White

Sketches by James White

If you’ve been following my work over the past year, you may have come across several posters that I designed for my favorite movies. I created pieces for DRIVE, BLADE RUNNER, THE THING, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, INDIANA JONES, TERMINATOR 2 and some others, all of which can be found in my portfolio. I made it my mission to break into the alternative art movie poster industry, but unfortunately only 2 posters were officially printed and offered for sale. The others remained in legal limbo, personal development, self-initiated projects… whatever you want to call it.

Aside from what was released online I did a lot of work behind the scenes developing ideas and visuals for many of my favorite movies. I never had permission, I designed them merely for my own enjoyment and practise. Most are thumbnails in my sketchbook while others I pushed to a digital sketch. Seen above are 5 posters that never got out of the concept phase. Very few people have seen these up until now. The Signalnoise movie posters that weren’t.

Before I build my posters in final vector format, I mock things up in Photoshop to experiment with the composition, colours and texture. Normally I cobble together found photos and movie stills as reference, then “paint” the entire poster from scratch. Ideas tend to shift and change as I go, which is why you’ll see differences between the ink sketches and the digital mock-ups above.

These concepts have been sitting on my computer for months, figured I’d post them. And the thing is, this isn’t all of them so you might see a ‘Part II’ to this post in the future.






12 responses to “Movie posters that weren’t”

  1. Jason Stanley Avatar

    Out of these I really like the direction of the Labyrinth and Predator posters. It seems to me that they were further down the line in your process. The Predator one in particluar is absolutely bad-ass!

    I like elements of the Karate Kid poster (namely the silhouette) but I think I’d like to see that sketch version as a digital piece. Love the little touch adding the fly in the bottom left!

    Thanks for sharing these James.

  2. James Avatar

    Thanks Jason, appreciate the kind words. As for the KARATE KID poster, the reason I shifted the concept was because I inadvertently sketched something that was VERY close to the official poster. Whoops.

  3. Tom Muller Avatar

    That Predator poster would have been awesome with a fluo ink.


  4. Simon H. Avatar

    So sad that Skyfall didn’t make the cut.

  5. Andy Barbieri Avatar

    Liking the Labyrinth and Skyfall posters. Nice concepts.

  6. Joe Nicklo Avatar

    Nice concepts. The Predator poster would’ve been nice to see finalized.

  7. Chris Avatar

    I love the Rocky and Predator ones.

  8. Max Dominguez Avatar
    Max Dominguez

    Awesome to see these, follow your work for a long time. How does one go about getting legal rights to create and sell works based on movies? Its a process I’ve always wondered about. Who do you get in contact with for that type of stuff.

  9. John Avatar

    Awesome James! Just awesome concepts XD

  10. Rodrigo Pereira Avatar
    Rodrigo Pereira

    Hi James,

    First of all congratulations for your work mate. Just came across your blog a hour ago, but was enough time for me to become a big fan of your work. I hope you can get more official releases out soon, specially Rock III and Predator.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


    Ps: Can’t wait to get my Terminator 2 poster ;)

  11. Rasmus Jürs Avatar

    Usually i love your stuff but the Karate Kid and Rocky III feels a little to Photoshop filter’y to me.
    They probably aren’t, but there is just something about them…

  12. GB Posters Avatar

    I get the point Rasmus is making, but I actually disagree. I think the Karate Kid poster looks great. I almost feel disappointed that it wasn’t used because to me, it reflects the feeling of the film and it instantly struck me.Thanks for sharing these posters. It’s a great selection.

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