80s Science Fiction Film Child Art Archives: Introduction

I’m proud to announce a new feature on this blog: 1980s science fiction movie art, as drawn by myself, when I was a child!

Recently I traveled to the remote woodlands of Northeast Ohio, where I found an archive comprised of every drawing I ever did from the time I first picked up a crayon. Most of this art is horrendous even by the standards by which we judge the art of a child. However, I was discovering the magic of motion pictures during a time before the PG-13 rating existed. This meant I was exposed not only to mainstream features like the Star Wars trilogy and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but also to titles that have since taken on cult status. I’m talking about The Black Hole, Flash Gordon, Tron, Clash of the Titans, The Dark Crystal, Blade Runner, and even Krull!

After returning from the theater, I would spend the next few days indoors, drawing what I had seen to the best of my ability. As a result, I have stacks of paper with crude interpretations of these beloved sci-fi classics.

I also developed an obsession with Jaws, not to mention the lesser works of author Peter Benchley (The Deep, The Island) and unrelated yet similar epics (Orca: The Killer Whale) via limited television broadcasts.

To compound matters, the local television stations in Cleveland had yet to be taken over by reality shows and home shopping garbage. Instead, we had Big Chuck and Little John, Superhost, Elvira, The Ghoul, and Skull Theater playing bizarre grindhouse movies 24/7 on channels 43 and 61. Between the ages of 5 and 10 I watched numerous screenings of The Car, The Green Slime, Kiss of the Tarantula, Frogs, Don’t Look in the Basement, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, and Deathdream. There are very few drawings of these films, but one or two did manage to slip through.

I have begun the monotonous task of scanning these illustrations into the computer, and plan to share some of them with you, along with my current thoughts on the movies in question. My hope is that I can corner the market where film criticism and child psychology meet. I would say that I hope to reveal something about myself, except I think it’s pretty obvious that I was simply doomed to be a huge nerd from birth.

Stay tuned for some nuggets from the vaults!

(All art copyright 2011 Ryan Orvis. I do not claim ownership of the films or characters portrayed.)


5 Responses to “80s Science Fiction Film Child Art Archives: Introduction”

  1. Looking forward to The Dark Crystal ones…

    • There are several pictures of the crystal hanging there, with the runes inscribed on a circle below. I think most of them were actually drawn by my sister.

  2. […] has written about the pictures, pithily and hilariously, in three parts. Go read them. And, according to this post, he has saved all of his and Ginger’s drawings from the days when kid culture inspired this […]

  3. Awesome stuff. Glen from the Flickr group Growing Up Star Wars: 1977-1985 typically has the knack of finding great SW childhood ephemera floating around on the net. I’m not sure if he’s caught your stuff yet in the tractor beam, but if not, I would totally submit whatever SW drawings you got!

    So glad to have found someone else who has an extensive surviving collection of childhood drawings, especially that of ’70s and ’80s sci-fi features. I was totally hooked after seeing Star Wars in ’77, and I drew X-Wings and TIE Fighters like there was no tomorrow. Luckily my folks saved my drawings and I was able to scan them. Here’s a few of them…

    Growing Up Star Wars (Chapter 1)

    Growing Up Star Wars (Chapter 2)

    It goes on from there, but you get the idea. Dood, your Black Hole stuff is out of this world! Thanks for sharing.

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