Robert McGinnis paints for Stella Artois 4%

When Mother wanted to achieve an authentic 60s look for its recent poster campaign for Stella Artois 4%, the agency turned to illustrator Robert McGinnis.


When Mother wanted to achieve an authentic 60s look for its recent poster campaign for Stella Artois 4%, the agency turned to illustrator Robert McGinnis, who created classic posters for films including Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Barbarella, as well as Bond movies Live And Let Die and Thunderball.


“Because Stella Artois 4% lives in the 60s Riviera, we tried to make the work look as genuine as possible, so it becomes a homage to that era rather than just a parody of it,” say Gustavo Sousa and Rodrigo Saavedra at Mother. “Robert McGinnis is undoubtedly the best film poster illustrator of the 60s, and probably one of the best poster designers ever, so it wasn’t a hard choice. In fact, we had been referencing his posters when we started looking for illustrators, but we thought he was retired. Eventually we thought ‘what if we try it?’, and we decided to give him a call. Like we expected, he was retired, but to our suprise he told us he was willing to come out of retirement to do this project.”



Shown here are the finished posters for campaign alongside a number of McGinnis’s preliminary sketches. Working alongside Mother producer Carole Smila, McGinnis initially submitted pencil sketches of ideas, before completing comprehensive colour renderings of the chosen sketch ideas, and, finally, the finished paintings.




Despite his supposed retirement, McGinnis’s skills are still much in demand. “Not much has changed in my daily routine,” he says. “Here are the jobs I recently completed: two movie posters – one for The Incredibles and one for the Japanese action/suspense movie K-20; a poster of race-car driver Parnelli Jones, a Western (cowboy) painting commission; a lady’s formal portrait; and three Western paintings for an upcoming show at The Eiteljorg Museum.” He also paints book covers for the Hard Case Crime detective novel series, and recently did a painting of Paris Hilton, “at the request of a daughter,” he says.




As to what he thinks of illustration now, McGinnis remarks: “It’s difficult for me to comment on contemporary illustration; so many artists are working with computers, rather than by hand with brush and pigment. Their results are amazing and wonderful, but I prefer the old classic approach to painting.”





  • nl

    The guy in the finished article looks like Adam Sandler

  • Tom

    Stunning, I was thinking it was the same chap who did the Bond posters, love the brush qualities and semi abstractness of the style that from a distance looks some complete. Great to see the working sketches too. Brilliant.

  • dg

    reminds me of Godard’s “Contempt”

  • Richard Holloway

    Is there any way of getting hold of poster sized prints of these? I love the look and it would look great on a wall in my house.

  • Ken

    I do love these but the one with the seaplane annoys me very slightly because it looks too high in the water. I wonder if his reference was of one taking off? Ok I’ll shut up.

  • Philster

    Bob McGinnis is the king of cool! I especially love the work he did alongside Frank McCarthy on the Bond series. Fans should check out his Noir covers for Hard Case Crime books, which also often feature another favourite artist of mine, Glen Orbik.

  • Sandro


  • My pick is the one with the plane. Amazing how talented some people can be. I do think they will make great pictures not only for advertisements for Stella Artois but as well for general display. Robert McGinnis shows off his talents. Would be very interesting to see the portrait of Paris Hilton. Is there are chance to find that out there somewhere?

  • Razor

    I absolutely love these posters!

  • Evet

    Does anyone know what materials he uses? Especially for the colours. Looks a little like water colour.

  • johnny

    Amazing, shows why mother are the agency who are pushing boundaries today. really suits stellas packaging style love it

  • Really great illustrations and great to see traditional media to the fore. I wonder how well the agency adapted in terms of patience, to the fact that after the work was finished, that it had to be shot, then scanned. Or was it simply digitally photographed. Whatever course they chose it would have been more difficult than the digital and I like that they were able to accept that certain different process’ go with non digitial media.

    I do digital but have been working backwards, towards oils and other media for the last five years so it’s nice to see the agencies adapting this kind of work too.

  • John D’Angelo

    Robert McGinnis is one of the best artists I have had the pleasure of viewing over the years and I have been a fan of his work from the late fifties.

    I have seen illustrations of his covering crime novel covers, the James Bond movies with Sean Connery, and countless others. His brushwork and color coordination are matchless.

    I am glad that he is still living and was able to come out of retirement to do these posters, you are immediately drawn by his “look”.

    I congratulate Mother for making a superb choice with a great idea.

  • This is a great post. I’m glad it was bumped. Otherwise I would’ve missed these very useful information.

  • Jim Khan

    I am trying to find a printposter of the Stella Artois 4 La poster, landscape one with girl, piano and man. Do you know where I might find one ?

  • tim

    I’ve been wondering who did these since the campaign first started. I love the authenticity of them. I love the fact that there’s a subtle bit of natural ‘wrongness’ to the composition and perspective here and there which is crucial to this sort of poster art. It could have been done digitally, and all looking perfect, then rendered up to look like it had been painted, but it would have been less interesting that way and the richness would have been lost.

    Its great to see that computers are not always the best solution and that some clients/agencies still have the time and confidence in a proper commercial artist to see this through. There would not have been much room for “Can we change this bit and turn that bit around and make that bit smaller and this bit bluer, and that bit turned to a different angle” once the actual painting got underway.

    How nice it would be to return to that kind of respect for the craft in general, instead of everything being ‘on layers’ so that there’s scope for art directors to fiddle about with it until it looks like crap, as so often happens these days.

    I was commissioned to do a large format hand painted cinema poster style cover for a magazine earlier this year. They were terrified of committing from the very first roughs and demanded that we switch to digital so they didn’t have to sign off a definite composition before the work had even started taking shape. Digital allowed for endless fiddling about and micro-massaging the piece as it was being built, day after day, worrying about the fact that the roughs looked rough, that the blocking out looked blocky, that the detail wasn’t there (yet)… on and on they worried and nudged, until they had lost sight of the goal entirely and we all disappeared down a spiral of tweaks that turned the artwork into an incoherent mess.

    I salute Mother and Stella for getting such fantastic artwork across the finish line.

  • What an absolute thrill to discover that Bob McGinnis is still at it and that a 21st century ad agency had such respect for his abilities and the conviction to the authenticity of their ad concept seek him out. Huge props to the creative team at Mother for their initiative in nurturing this campaign. Few people know that the first Bond poster artist was Mitchell Hooks. Mitch illustrated “Dr. No” and was told by the agency, “Don’t worry too much about likenesses and such – this is just some obscure spy movie starring some unknown actors. It’ll probably bomb anyway.” No one imagined Dr. No would become a huge hit . When it did (and the marketing people came to appreciate that a big part of the draw was the hot Bond girls) they tapped Mitch’s friend, Bob McGinnis to do the subsequent posters. Incidentally, McGinnis credits Mitchell Hooks with launching his wildly successful paperback book cover career.

    These two guys go way back. Mitchell is also still illustrating – and he works digitally (at age 87!)

  • Tim Edwards

    Hi there,

    Like everyone else it seems, I’m just dying to get hold of some of the gorgeous Stella artwork. Does ANYONE know how it’s possible?

    McG is incredible

  • steve valahovic

    where can you get these posters? In particular the one with the piano. Let me knowASAP

  • Z

    Also dying to get hold of prints! please let us know if anyone finds out

  • The product imagery looks better than product photography in my opinion. Back to the essence, painting and drawing, much neglected skills by myself. This reminds me of the need to return to 2B pencils and putty rubbers!