Dot Dot Dot: Hedcut Illustrations

category: > History Now/Then, > Illustration

written by: Jaap Proost

A businessman can always look at his bank account to see if he has made it. Another way to know is when your face appears in the Wall Street Journal as a hedcut. For more than four decades noticeable figures from all kind of fields are featured in the newspaper with these dot drawings.

 

The hedcuts are a result of the Wall Street Journal aversion against images. For more than a century the newspaper kept photos out of the pages. In 1979 illustrator Kevin Sprouls presented his drawings as an alternative for photographed portraits at the bureaus of the paper. His work had the classical feeling they were looking for because the drawings resembled woodcut printings. Since then the stipple portraits became a signature mark of the newspaper.

 

Nowadays there are six artists on staff to create an ever-growing family of hedcuts. The countless little dots are still drawn by hand without the use of computers. The process is simple but time-consuming. The illustrator traces a photograph with ink dots on a sheet of vellum or white paper. It takes about three to five hours to make a portrait.

 

Because of its connection with the Wall Street Journal hedcuts give the portrayed persons an aura of importance. The style is also used in other publications. The Monocle uses dot drawings to illustrate the ‘Style Leader’ articles of the magazine. Only instead of the face, they dot the whole body.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Credits:

first pair Kevin Sprouls, second Laura Lou Levy and third and fourth Noli Novak




- related posts -